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1865 Washington, D.C. Celebration by the Colored People's Educational Monument Association in Memory of Abraham Lincoln
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occasion to pass without congratulating the colored race on being able to celebrate the Fourth of July as freemen and citizens of this republic, and to express my confident hope that the day is near when they will be admitted to an equality of political privileges with the white race, throughout the whole extent of the United States.
I am, gentlemen, with great regard, your obedient servant,
W. C. BRYANT.
Messers. W. SYPHAX and JOHN F. COOK.
LETTER FROM COLONEL FORNEY.
PHILADELPHIA, July 3, 1865.
Gentlemen: Your letter dated June 29, sent from Washington to this city, only reached me yesterday, the 2d of July. My presence here will prevent me from being in Washington to-morrow. I cannot, however, after thanking you for your kind invitation, refrain the expression of my gratification that the colored citizens of Washington intend to celebrate the coming Independence Day on the grounds of the Presidential Mansion, with the free consent of the Chief Magistrate of the Republic. It is a fitting finale of the great struggle in which your race displayed such noble valor, and a fine illustration of the long-neglected pledges of the Declaration of Independence, that you should commemorate emancipation in the Capital of the nation, and that that Capital is no longer the rendezvous or the citadel of slavery. May your meeting at the next anniversary of the 4th of July, 1776, find you as free to vote in the city of Washington as you were ready to fight for it.
Your friend and fellow-citizen, J.W. FORNEY.
Messers. W. SYPHAX and JOHN F. COOK, Esqs., Committee.
LETTER FROM JUDGE KELLEY.
PHILADELPHIA, June 30, 1865.
Messers. WM. SYPHAX and JOHN F. COOK, Committee:
DEAR SIRS: Your favor of the 28th instant, on behalf of the colored citizens of the District of Columbia, came to hand to-day. I am rejoiced at learning that President Johnson, who is no less a lover of mankind than was his illustrious and lamented predecessor, has given you permission to again assemble, and celebrate our country's natal day, on the beautiful grounds appurtenant to the Executive Mansion. I shall never forget the emotions with which I looked upon you from the windows of that building, on last 4th of July, and contrasted your condition with what it had been when I first took my oath as a member of Congress, precisely three years before. Many of you were then slaves--things to be bought and sold and scourged by capricious and irresponsible masters or their agents--and all were subject to the infamous provisions of the "Black Code." Now, outside of Kentucky and Delaware, no slave cowers beneath freedom's flag; and you may rejoice that millions of your kinsmen, whose position was doubtful, but a short time ago, are in the enjoyment of assured freedom.
The determination of the colored citizens to erect and endow an institution of learning, as a testimonial of their regard for the memory of President Lincoln, is wise and commendable. Let your liberal contributions
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