(1869) Frederick Douglass Describes The “Composite Nation”

In an 1869 speech in Boston, Frederick Douglass challenged most social observers and politicians (including most African Americans) by advocating the acceptance of Chinese immigration. His argument is presented below. As nations are among the largest and the most complete divisions into which society is … Read More(1869) Frederick Douglass Describes The “Composite Nation”

(1869) John Willis Menard, “Speech Before the United States House of Representatives”

John Willis Menard, (1838-1893) was the first African American elected to Congress when on November 3, 1868 he received the majority of votes to fill the unexpired term of Louisiana Second District Congressman James Mann. On the strength of the vote Menard went to Washington … Read More(1869) John Willis Menard, “Speech Before the United States House of Representatives”

(1870) Henry O. Wagoner, Jr. Celebrates The Ratification Of The 15th Amendment To The United States Constitution

In May, 1870, Henry O. Wagoner, Jr., the twenty year old son of one of black Denver’s leading civil rights advocates, was given the rare privilege of addressing a local audience gathered to celebrate the ratification of the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution. … Read More(1870) Henry O. Wagoner, Jr. Celebrates The Ratification Of The 15th Amendment To The United States Constitution

(1871) Congressman Jefferson F. Long, “Speech On Disorders In The South”

Jefferson Franklin Long (1836-1901) was the first African American from Georgia to serve in the United States House of Representatives. Born into slavery near Knoxville in Crawford County, Georgia, he was self-educated and became a merchant tailor in Macon, Georgia. Long was elected in December … Read More(1871) Congressman Jefferson F. Long, “Speech On Disorders In The South”

(1871) Congressman Joseph H. Rainey, “Speech Made in Reply to An Attack Upon the Colored State Legislators of South Carolina…”

Joseph H. Rainey, “Speech Made in Reply to An Attack Upon the Colored State Legislators of South Carolina by Representative Cox of New York,” 1871 Joseph Hayne Rainey, born in Georgetown, South Carolina to enslaved parents in 1832, became on December 12, 1870, the first … Read More(1871) Congressman Joseph H. Rainey, “Speech Made in Reply to An Attack Upon the Colored State Legislators of South Carolina…”

(1871) Congressman Robert C. DeLarge, “Speech on the Enforcement of the Fourteenth Amendment”

Robert Carlos DeLarge served as a Republican member of the U.S. Congress less than a full term. He was elected in 1870 and began his term on March 4, 1871. However he left Congress on January 24, 1873 within two months of the completion of … Read More(1871) Congressman Robert C. DeLarge, “Speech on the Enforcement of the Fourteenth Amendment”

(1871) Senator Hiram Revels Calls For The End Of Segregated Schools

Hiram Rhodes Revels (1827-1901) of Mississippi was the first African American to serve in the United States Senate when he filled the unexpired term of Jefferson Davis. Revels served just over a year from February 25, 1870, to March 13, 1871. During an 1871 Senate … Read More(1871) Senator Hiram Revels Calls For The End Of Segregated Schools

(1874) Congressman Richard Harvey Cain, “All We Ask Is Equal Laws, Equal Legislation And Equal Rights”

During an 1874 Congressional debate over the Civil Rights Bill then being considered, South Carolina Representative Richard Harvey Cain responds to attacks on the proposed legislation. His speech appears below. Mr. Speaker, I feel called upon more particularly by the remarks of the gentleman from … Read More(1874) Congressman Richard Harvey Cain, “All We Ask Is Equal Laws, Equal Legislation And Equal Rights”

(1874) John Mercer Langston, “Equality Before the Law”

John Mercer Langston, a prominent abolitionist and civil rights activist, was one of the earliest African American officeholders in the United States when in 1855 he was elected town clerk of Brownhelm, Township, Ohio.  During the Civil War he recruited soldiers for the Massachusetts 54th … Read More(1874) John Mercer Langston, “Equality Before the Law”

(1875) Congressman James T. Rapier, “Half Free, Half Slave”

On February 4, 1875, Congressman James T. Rapier of Alabama, rose on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to support the Civil Right bill then before Congress which when enacted later that year became the Civil Rights Act of 1875.   His speech appears … Read More(1875) Congressman James T. Rapier, “Half Free, Half Slave”