Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900

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

waste our strength in striving after the dim and unattainable. Women, in your golden youth; mother, binding around your heart all the precious ties of life,--let no magnificence of culture, or amplitude of fortune, or refinement of sensibilities, repel you from helping the weaker and less favored. If you have ampler gifts, hold them as larger opportunities with which you can benefit others. Oh, it is better to feel that the weaker and feebler our race the closer we will cling to them, than it is to isolate ourselves from them in selfish, or careless unconcern, saying there is a lion without. Inviting you to this work I do not promise you fair sailing and unclouded skies. You may meet with coolness where you expect sympathy; disappointment where you feel sure of success; isolation and loneliness instead of heart support and cooperation. But if your lives are based and built upon these divine certitudes, which are the only enduring strength of humanity, then whatever defeat and discomfiture may overshadow your plans or frustrate your schemes, for a life that is in harmony with God and sympathy for man there is no such word as fail. And in conclusion, permit me to say, let no misfortunes crush you, no hostility of enemies or failure of friends discourage you. Apparent failure may hold in its rough shell the germs of a success that will blossom in time, and bear fruit throughout eternity. What seemed to be a failure around the Cross of Calvary and in the garden has been the grandest recorded success.


99 ORATION IN MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Frederick Douglass

On April 14, 1876, the anniversary of Lincoln's assassination and of the emancipation of the slaves in the District of Columbia, the Freedmen's Memorial Monument to Abraham Lincoln was unveiled in Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C. The idea of the monument originated with Charlotte Scott, a former slave, on the day following Lincoln's assassination, and African Americans contributed $16,242 toward its completion. By a joint resolution, Congress declared the day a holiday. President Ulysses S. Grant and his cabinet, Supreme Court justices, and many senators and congressional representatives were present. Frederick Douglass delivered the main address on the occasion.

Disregarding the speaking conventions normally associated with

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