John Brown (AKA ‘Fed’ and ‘Benford’) (1818-1876)

John Brown (also known as “Fed” and “Benford”) of Southampton County, Virginia is best remembered as an escaped enslaved person who wrote an account of his bondage that was published in England in 1854. Brown was born about 1818 on the Betty Moore farm, three … Read MoreJohn Brown (AKA ‘Fed’ and ‘Benford’) (1818-1876)

(1861) Alexander H. Stephens, “Cornerstone Speech”

Image Ownership: Public Domain On March 21, 1861, after seven states had seceded from the United States, two weeks after the inauguration of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, but three weeks before the firing on Fort Sumter, Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens delivered what would … Read More(1861) Alexander H. Stephens, “Cornerstone Speech”

(1857) Abraham Lincoln, “The Dred Scott Decision and Slavery”

The Dred Scott Decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 6, 1857 was supposed to end the decades-long debate about slavery in the United States.  It did just the opposite, inflaming passions particularly in the North.  In the follow speech, Abraham Lincoln, … Read More(1857) Abraham Lincoln, “The Dred Scott Decision and Slavery”

(1858) Abraham Lincoln, “A House Divided”

On June 16, 1858, only three hours after the Illinois Republican Party nominated him as its candidate for the United States Senate from that state, Abraham Lincoln gave his “A House Divided” speech in Springfield, Illinois.  That speech became the most famous oration from an … Read More(1858) Abraham Lincoln, “A House Divided”

(1787) Gouverner Morris “The Curse of Slavery”

Image Ownership: Public Domain The Constitutional Convention in 1787 debated the institution of slavery.  In the speech below Gouverner Morris, a Pennsylvania delegate, described the negative impact of the institution on both North and South and in doing so made public at the highest level … Read More(1787) Gouverner Morris “The Curse of Slavery”

(1860) Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “A Slave’s Appeal”

In an address to the Judiciary Committee of the State Legislature of New York, Elizabeth Cady Stanton compares the condition of the slaves in the South to that of disenfranchised women in New York.   She argues that if the committee understands the denial of freedom … Read More(1860) Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “A Slave’s Appeal”

(1857) Charles Lenox Remond, “An Anti-Slavery Discourse”

By 1857 “Bleeding Kansas’ and the Dred Scott Decision had intensified sectional tensions over slavery and moved the nation closer to civil war. Against that backdrop, Charles Lenox Remond, on July 10, 1857, addressed the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society where he joined a growing chorus of … Read More(1857) Charles Lenox Remond, “An Anti-Slavery Discourse”

(1857) Frances Ellen Watkins, “Liberty For Slaves”

Frances Ellen Watkins was born of free parents in Baltimore in 1825. After teaching in New York and Pennsylvania Watkins became a full-time abolitionist speaker for the Maine Anti-Slavery Society. By the 1850s she was one of the most noted speakers on that subject as … Read More(1857) Frances Ellen Watkins, “Liberty For Slaves”

(1852) Frederick Douglass, “What, To The Slave, Is The Fourth Of July”

On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass was invited to address the citizens of his hometown, Rochester, New York. Whatever the expectations of his audience on that 76th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Douglass used the occasion not to celebrate the nation’s … Read More(1852) Frederick Douglass, “What, To The Slave, Is The Fourth Of July”

(1850) Lucy Stanton, “A Plea for the Oppressed”

Lucy Stanton was probably the first African American woman to complete a four-year collegiate course of study. Stanton, the daughter of John Brown, a Cleveland barber active in the Underground Railroad, enrolled in nearby Oberlin Collegiate Institute (now Oberlin College) in northern Ohio. The institution … Read More(1850) Lucy Stanton, “A Plea for the Oppressed”