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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 (55).pdf

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Current Saved Transcription [history]

52

we clearly saw that Slavery was Rebellion ; that the "institution" had borne its natural fruit--civil war ; that the entire country was responsible for slavery, and that slavery was responsible for rebellion. We declared that slavery should be extirpated from the Republic. The great armies led by the greatest commander of the modern world shattered, caused and demolished the rebellion The North grew grand. The people became sublime. The three sacred amendments were adopted. The Republic was free.

 Then came a period of hesitation, apology and fear.  The colored citizen was left to his fate.  For years, the Federal arm, palsied by policy, was powerless to protect ; and this period of fear, of hesitation, of apology, of lack of confidence in the right, has borne its natural fruit -- this decision of the Supreme Court. 
  But it is not for me to give you advice.  Your conduct has been above all praise.  You have been as patient as the earth beneath, as the stars above.  You have been law-abiding and industrious.  You have not offensively asserted your rights, nor offensively borne your wrongs.  You have been modest and forgiving. 

You have returned good for evil. When I remember that the ancestors of my race were in universities and colleges and common schools while you and your fathers were on the auction-block, in the slave-pen, or in the field beneath the cruel lash, in States where reading and writing were crimes, I am astonished at the progress you have made.

 All that I--all that any reasonable man--can ask is, that you continue doing as you have done.  Above all things--educate your children--strive to make yourselves independent--work for homes--work for yourselves--and wherever it is possible becomes the masters of yourselves. 

  Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see your little children

with books under their arms, going and coming from school.

Race Hatreds.

 It is very easy to see why colored people should hate us, but why we should hate them is beyond my comprehension.  They never sold our wives.  They never robbed our cradles.  They never scarred our baks..  They never pursued us with blood-hounds. They never branded our flesh.
 It has been said that it is hard to forgive a man to whom we have done a great injury.  I can conceive of not other reason why we should hate the colored people.  To us they are a standing reproach.  Their history is our shame. 
 Their virtues seem to enrage some white people--their patience

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