Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900

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

thickened graves of the Louisiana Second, a regiment which went into battle nine hundred strong, and came out with three hundred. He had not stood at Olustee and seen defeat and disaster crushing down the pride of our banner, until word was brought to Col. Hallowell, "The day is lost; go in and save it;" and black men stood in the gap, beat back the enemy, and saved your army. (Applause.)

We have a woman in our country who has received the name of "Moses," not by lying about it, but by acting it out (applause)--a woman who has gone down into the Egypt of slavery and brought out hundreds of our people into liberty. The last time I saw that woman, her hands were swollen. That woman who had led one of Montgomery's most successful expeditions, who was brave enough and secretive enough to act as a scout for the American army, had her hands all swollen from a conflict with a brutal conductor, who undertook to eject her from her place. That woman, whose courage and bravery won a recognition from our army and from every black man in the land, is excluded from every thoroughfare of travel. Talk of giving women the ballot-box? Go on. It is a normal school, and the white women of this country need it. While there exists this brutal element in society which tramples upon the feeble and treads down the weak, I tell you that if there is any class of people who need to be lifted out of their airy nothings and selfishness, it is the white women of America. (Applause.)■


82 THESE ARE REVOLUTIONARY TIMES

Reverend E. J. Adams

On March 2, 1867, Congress overrode President Johnson's vetoes and passed a series of Reconstruction acts. New governments were to be established in the South by delegates to conventions elected by universal manhood suffrage, and these governments were to guarantee black voting and officeholding rights and to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment, which conferred state and national citizenship on "all persons born or naturalized in the United States" and prohibited the denial to any person of the equal protection of the law.

Although many freedpeople were sorely disappointed that the legisla-

____________________
Harriet Tubman.
At the battle of Olustee in Florida on February 20, 1864, the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment halted the Confederates' rout of Union forces.

-460-

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