Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900

By Philip S. Foner; Robert James Branham | Go to book overview

sons and daughters ought to behave themselves before their mothers; but they don't; I'm watching, and I can see them a snickering, and pinting and laughing at their mothers up here on the stage. [That young scape-grace again--"My mother ain't up there, an' I don't believe anybody's mother is." Applause.] They ought to be ashamed. They ought to know better, an' if they'd been brought up proper they would. [Queer man under the gallery-- "They ought to be spanked." Roars of laughter.] Woman's sphere ought to rise--rise as high as hanged Haman, and spread out all over. [Great applause, and that queer man under the gallery insinuated that that might be done by the least possible extension of their bustles.] I'm round watching things, and I wanted to come up and say these few things to you, and I'm much obliged for your listening. I wanted to tell you a little might about Woman's Rights, and so I come out and said so. I'll be around agin sometime. I'm watching things, and I'll git up agin, an' tell you what time o'night it is. [Great applause.] And, with another request from the young rascals to "hurry up them stews and things," the lady took a seat on the steps, which lead to the platform.■


48 I SET OUT TO ESCAPE FROM SLAVERY

Stephen Pembroke

Stephen Pembroke and his two teenaged sons escaped from slavery in Maryland on May 21, 1854. Pursued to New York, they were captured and returned to Baltimore. Slaveholder Jacob Grove then wrote to Pembroke's brother, the Rev. James W. C. Pennington, offering to sell Stephen. On May 30, Pembroke was allowed to dictate a letter to his brother, encouraging him to pay Grove's price. "Act promptly, as I will have to be sold to the South," he told his brother. "My two sons were sold to the drivers" and "I am confined to my rooms with irons on." Pennington paid Groves, and Pembroke joined him in New York City.

Pennington ( 1807-1870) had himself escaped from slavery in 1827. He became a prominent antislavery lecturer in the 1830s and was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. In 1841, he published A Textbook of the Origin and History of the Colored People, one of the earliest works of African American history.

On July 18, 1854, Pembroke and Pennington addressed a small audience in New York's Tabernacle. After Pembroke had spoken, Pennington

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