Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900

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

continents to the enormities of this country; neither had there flashed over the Bay state the fiery and impetuous eloquence of CHARLES LENOX REMOND. Great changes have been wrought in the character of this anti- slavery work in thirty years. ALVAN STEWART is dead; JAMES G. BIRNEY is dead; ELIJAH P. LOVEJOY sleeps in a martyr's grave on the banks of the father of waters; ELLIS GRAY LORING is dead; THEODORE PARKER is dead. All these, and many other noble workers, have gone; as Whittier says--

'They died--their brave hearts breaking slow,-- But, self-forgetful to the last, In words of cheer and bugle-glow, Their breath upon the darkness passed.'

But, friends, while the busy fingers of our memories are gathering flowers to bestrew the graves of the sainted dead, let us not forget one other name-- one other of those 'immortal names, that are not born to die.' We are standing to-day by the fresh-made grave of JOHN BROWN. (Applause.) He has been gathered to his Father's bosom from a Virginia scaffold. Lamartine, the great French orator, said once that Wilberforce went up to Heaven with a million of broken fetters in his hand, as evidence of a life well spent. JOHN BROWN has gone to join the glorious company of 'the just made perfect' in the eternal adoration of the living God, bearing in his right hand the history of an earnest effort to break four millions of fetters, and 'proclaim liberty throughout all the land, to all the inhabitants thereof.' (Loud and prolonged applause.)■


61
A PLEA FOR FREE SPEECH

Frederick Douglass

At a meeting in Boston's Tremont Temple on December 3, 1860, to commemorate the anniversary of John Brown's execution, ruffians hired by merchants engaged in the southern trade invaded the hall, disrupted the proceedings, and singled out Frederick Douglass, one of the speakers, for attack. Fighting "like a trained pugilist," the great aboli-

____________________
Brown was executed in December 1859 after his capture during the assault on the Federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia.

-354-

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