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1865 Washington, D.C. Celebration by the Colored People's Educational Monument Association in Memory of Abraham Lincoln

1865DC-National-Monument-page29.pdf

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29

and civil war; and, after four years of bloody struggle, have seen it overwhelmed and overthrown, from Canada to Mexico. (Applause.)

Casting aside the mere obligations of partisanship, standing on the eternal principle of right, anti-slavery men have broken the powerful political organizations and smitten down the leaders that have been recreant to liberty. They have sworn upon the altar of patriotism, to stand erect, in vindication of the rights of man in America; and so long as there is a right not secured or a wrong unredressed, they are ready to act with, to build up or pull down political organizations, and public men.

I have an undeviating faith in these men; they have been tried at all times and in every form, but they have marched steadily onward, achieving victory after victory, and they will not shrink from any contest that may come up in the great work of consummating freedom for all men in America. (Applause.) I say to you colored men, here to-day, that ninety-five of every hundred of the men who, in November last, voted for Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, are standing now shoulder to shoulder for the emancipation and the protection of your race, by just, humane, and equal laws. (Cheers.) They believe, with Andrew Johnson, that "all men should have a fair start and an equal chance in the race of life, and that merit should be rewarded without regard to color." In their memories will linger for ever the immortal words of the martyred Lincoln: "The ballot of the black man, in some trying time to come, may keep the jewel of liberty in the family of freedom."

You were kind enough, Mr. Chairman, to refer to the fact that I had introduced the bill, which passed, abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, and also to the measure annulling the black laws, and making the colored man liable only for the same offences and triable and punishable for the same offences in the same measure as white men. That bill which, with some amendments, became the law, under which three thousand men, women, and children were emancipated, and the National Capital made for ever free, what drawn, at my request, by the ready and accurate pen of Col. Key, of Ohio, then with me on the staff of General McClellan. When that bill was pending, we were assured that if it became the law, if we struck the manacles from your hands, that the poor houses would be thronged, the prisons crowded, that riots and bloodshed and civil war would come. The bill passed - you thronged the churches of the living God to utter thanks and gratitude. Three years have passed away, and here you are, more intelligent, stronger, truer than ever to yourselves and your country. ("That's so - every one." Cheers.)

They told us your brothers in the South would obey their

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