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Scripto | Transcribe Page
1865 Washington, D.C. Celebration by the Colored People's Educational Monument Association in Memory of Abraham Lincoln
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an electric thrill through the vast crowd; and their joy, as he gave utterance to assurances the most cheering, seemed at times to know no bounds. He spoke as follows:
Mr. Chairman and Fellow Citizens of the United States: When I left my home in Massachusetts, I intended to spend this hallowed day among the graves of the brave men who fell and Gettysburg, in aiding to consecrate a monument to the heroes of the "grand old Army of the Potomac," who there fronted the legions of the rebellion, and there broke the power of treason forever in America. (Cheers.) Business - not yet completed - forced me to spend the day in the National Capital, and I came here to meet free men, and listen to the words of humanity, of justice, and of liberty. I have listened to an orator of your own race, and I say to you, that within the broad limits of the North American Republic, there will be few speeches uttered, to-day, superior to the one he addressed to you. I have listened, too, to the voice of one, that for more than thirty years in my own Massachusetts, I have been accustomed to listen to and admire. I can hardly hope, after you have listened to such utterances, to say anything that will add to the joy of the grand occasion; but as you have asked me to say a word, I will not shrink from saying it. (Applause.) Here, to-day, in the capital of my country, surrounded by this throng of my fellow citizens, black and white, I say - and if my voice could reach the Rio Grande, I would utter it - that slavery is dead and buried forever. ("Thank God!" Applause.) And I say further - and I want you to remember and carry it to your homes, to-night, and tell it to your neighbors, and let it go from neighbor to neighbor across the continent - that the freedmen of the United States shall be protected in all their rights. (Immense cheering.) Slavery has robbed your cradles; it shall rob them no more. (Applause.) Slavery has sold your children; it shall sell them no more. (Cheers.) Slavery had its auction blocks; they are gone forever. Slavery had its bloodhounds; they shall bay on the track of your race no more. (Loud and continued cheering.)
Let the late slave-masters understand this. Let every rebel in the country, from the Potomae to the Rio Grande, understand it, that their power, their authority over the black man of this continent, has passed away forever. (Cheers.) I want them to understand, in their language of the New York Herald, of yesterday, that "Slavery is destroyed, and with its death, the compromises of the Federal Constitution, the laws of Congress, the black laws of the late slave States, and of the free States, and all the political dogmas and ideas upon which this system of slavery
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