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Proceedings of the Civil Rights Mass-Meeting held at Lincoln Hall, October 22, 1883. Speeches of Hon. Frederick Douglass and Robert G. Ingersoll.

1883DC-National-Washington_Proceedings (53).pdf

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in sickness, by colored servants. They see nothing dangerous--nothing repugnant, in any of these relations,—but the idea of riding in the same car, stopping at the same hotel, fills them with fear—fear for the future of our race! Such people can be described only in the language Walt. Whitman. They are the immutable, granitic pudding-heads of the world !

Liberty is not a social question. Civil equality is not social equality. We are equal only in rights. No two persons are of equal weight, or height. There arena two leaves in all of the forests of the earth alike—no two blades of grass—no two grains of sand—no two hairs. No two anythings in the physical world are precisely alike. Neither mental nor physical equality can be created by law, but law recognized the fact that all men have been clothed with equal rights by Nature, the mother of us all.

The man who hates the black man, because he is black, has the same spirit as he who hates the poor man, because he is poor. It is the spirit of caste. The proud useless despises the honest useful. The parasite idleness scorns the great oak of labor on which it feeds and that fits it to the light.

I am the inferior of any man whose right sI trample under foot. Men are not superior by reason o fate accidents of race or color. They are superior who have the best heart— the best brain. Superiority is born of honesty, of virtue, of charity, and above all, of the love of liberty. The superior man is the providence of the inferior. He is eyes for the blind, strength for the weak, and a shield for the defenseless. He stands erect by bending above the fallen. He rises by lifting others.

Means of Redress.

In this country all rights must be preserved, all wrongs redressed, through eh ballot. The colored man has in his possession, in his care, a part of the sovereign power of the Republic. At the ballot-box he is the equal of judges and senators and presidents, and his vote, when counted is the equal of any other. He must use this sovereign power for his own protection, and for the preservation of his children. The ballot is his sword and shield. It is his political providence. It is the rock on which he stands, the column against which he leans. He should vote for no man who does not believe in equal rights for all—in the same privileges and immunities for all citizens, irrespective of race or color.

He should not be misled by party cries, nor by vague promises in political platforms. He should vote for the men, for the party, that will protect him ; for Congressmen who believe in liberty, for judges who worship justice—whose brains are not

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