(1811) John Gloucester, “Dedication of the First African Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia”

“Image Ownership: Public Domain” In October of 1811, before the dedication of the first house of worship for African American Presbyterians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Reverend John Gloucester, founder and Pastor, had the following address circulated throughout the surrounding neighborhood and all friendly to his cause. … Read More(1811) John Gloucester, “Dedication of the First African Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia”

(1860) Frederick Douglass, “The Constitution of the United States: Is It Pro-Slavery or Anti-slavery?”

Image Ownership: Public Domain In a speech before the Scottish Anti-Slavery Society in Glasgow, Scotland on March 26, 1860, Frederick Douglass outlines his views on the American Constitution. I proceed to the discussion. And first a word about the question. Much will be gained at … Read More(1860) Frederick Douglass, “The Constitution of the United States: Is It Pro-Slavery or Anti-slavery?”

(1841) Frederick Douglass, “The Church and Prejudice”

Image Ownership: Public Domain Frederick Douglass would eventually become one of the most skilled and powerful orators of his day.  In 1841, three years after he escaped slavery and settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts, 34-year-old Douglass gave a brief speech on a situation he had … Read More(1841) Frederick Douglass, “The Church and Prejudice”

(1833) Maria W. Stewart, “An Address at the African Masonic Hall”

On February 27, 1833 Maria W. Stewart gave this speech before a racially integrated audience at the African Masonic Hall in Boston. AFRICAN RIGHTS and liberty is a subject that ought to fire the breast of every free man of color in these United States, … Read More(1833) Maria W. Stewart, “An Address at the African Masonic Hall”

(1849) Charles Sumner, “Equality Before the Law: Unconstitutionality of Separate Colored Schools in Massachusetts”

In 1848 Benjamin Roberts filed a lawsuit against the city of Boston on behalf of his five year old daughter, Sarah, who was denied admission to schools in her neighborhood and instead assigned to the lone all-black school in the city.  Two attorneys, Robert Morris, … Read More(1849) Charles Sumner, “Equality Before the Law: Unconstitutionality of Separate Colored Schools in Massachusetts”

(1859) William Lloyd Garrison, “On the Death of John Brown”

  Image Ownership: Public Domain On December 2, 1859, John Brown was executed by Virginia authorities in Charles Town for his ill-fated raid on the federal armory at Harper’s Ferry.  Soon after word of his death reached Boston, William Lloyd Garrison, the leading abolitionist in … Read More(1859) William Lloyd Garrison, “On the Death of John Brown”

(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”

(1838) Angelina Grimké Weld, “Speech in Pennsylvania Hall”

In the speech below Angelina Grimke Weld, who was born to a prominent slaveholding family in Charleston, South Carolina, invites the women and men of Philadelphia to join  her in the campaign against slavery. Men, brethren and fathers — mothers, daughters and sisters, what came … Read More(1838) Angelina Grimké Weld, “Speech in Pennsylvania Hall”

(1860) Abraham Lincoln, “Cooper Union Address”

  Image Ownership: Public Domain On February 27, 1860, Abraham Lincoln, a presidential candidate who had yet to win the Republican nomination, accepted an invitation to speak to the Young Men’s Republican Union at Cooper Union Hall before a capacity crowd of 1,500.  Lincoln used … Read More(1860) Abraham Lincoln, “Cooper Union Address”

(1859) John Brown, “Address to the Virginia Court at Charles Town, Virginia”

On October 16, 1859, John Brown led a racially mixed group of eighteen men in an attack on the U.S. Government arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, in the hope of initiating a general uprising of enslaved people in Virginia and the rest of the South.  … Read More(1859) John Brown, “Address to the Virginia Court at Charles Town, Virginia”