Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900

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

tention of the word male in the organic act for the same, and as by reason of its retention, all the evils incident to partial legislation are endured by them, they sincerely, hope that the word male may be stricken out by Congress on your recommendation without delay. Taxed, and governed in other respects, without their consent, they respectfully demand, that the principles of the founders of the government may not be disregarded in their case: but, as there are laws by which they are tried, with penalties attached thereto, that they may be invested with the right to vote as do men, that thus as in all Republics indeed, they may in future, be governed by their own consent.■


94 A PLEA IN BEHALF OF THE CUBAN REVOLUTION

Henry Highland Garnet

The Cuban revolution to gain independence from Spain began on October 10, 1868. It lasted for ten years and ended in a shaky victory for Spain. During these ten years, many Americans repeatedly voiced support for the Cuban revolutionary cause and urged the government of the United States to recognize the Cuban rebels so that they could purchase arms in this country. African Americans were some of the most vocal supporters of the Cuban revolution, especially after the constitutional convention of Cuban revolutionists, which met at Guaimaro on April 10, 1869, and adopted the first Constitution of Free Cuba, whose twenty-fourth article declared that "all the inhabitants of the Republic are absolutely free." The success of the Cuban revolution would mean the end of slavery on the island. Another reason for black Americans' support of the revolution was that blacks in Cuba under the leadership of the great Cuban guerrilla fighter Antonio Maceo had played an important role in the struggle against Spain. Unfortunately, public pressure for recognition of Cuban belligerency did not sway the U.S. government. In August 1869, President Grant favored extending recognition to the Cuban revolutionists and actually ordered a proclamation written that would accord them recognition. But Hamilton Fish, secretary of state, succeeded first in delaying the proclamation and then in completely suppressing it. Thereafter, Grant consistently avoided recognizing the revolutionaries.

In December 1872, black citizens in New York City called for a meet-

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