Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900

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

Out, from all darkness of the Egypt-land,
Into my sun-blaze on the desert sand!

* * *

Show us our Aaron, with his rod in flower!
Our Miriam, with her timbrel-soul in tune!
And call some Joshua, in the Spirit's power,
To poise our sun of strength at point of noon!
God of our fathers! over sand and sea,
Still keep our struggling footsteps close to thee!*

Then before us a path of prosperity will open, and upon us will descend the mercies and favors of God. Then shall the people of other countries, who are standing tiptoe on the shores of every ocean, earnestly looking to see the end of this amazing conflict, behold a Republic that is sufficiently strong to outlive the ruin and desolations of civil war, having the magnanimity to do justice to the poorest and weakest of her citizens. Thus shall we give to the world the form of a model Republic, founded on the principles of justice and humanity and Christianity, in which the burdens of war and the blessings of peace are equally borne and enjoyed by all.■


77 COLORED MEN STANDING IN THE WAY OF THEIR OWN RACE

James Lynch

At the May 1865 meeting of the Young Men's Literary and Debating Society of Philadelphia, James Lynch delivered the following brief but significant speech. Lynch was born in Baltimore on January 8, 1839, and was educated there. In 1858 he joined the Presbyterian Church of New York but soon thereafter was accepted by the African Methodist Episcopal Conference in Indiana. In 1863 he went to South Carolina as one of the first A.M.E. missionaries to the freedmen and women. From 1866 to June 15, 1867, Lynch was editor of the Christian Recorder in Philadelphia but resigned his editorship in 1867 to organize for the Republicans in Mississippi. He "was widely regarded as the greatest orator" of the Reconstruction stump speakers, according to Eric Foner, "and his eloquence held gatherings of 3,000 freedmen or more

____________________
Atlantic Monthly ( 1862).

-443-

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