(1864) Abraham Lincoln “Address at a Sanitary Fair”

During the Civil War Northerners organized sanitary fairs to raise funds on behalf of the United States Sanitary Commission, a charitable relief organization which promoted the welfare of Union Soldiers.  President Abraham Lincoln addressed one such fair in Baltimore, Maryland on April 18, 1864.  The … Read More(1864) Abraham Lincoln “Address at a Sanitary Fair”

(1865) Frederick Douglass, “What the Black Man Wants”

In the 1950s and 1960s during the height of the civil rights movement when African American activists articulated their grievances against American society, those outside the community often pose the question, “What do black men want?”  Apparently that question was raised in the 1860s as … Read More(1865) Frederick Douglass, “What the Black Man Wants”

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

Image Courtesy of Moorland-Springarn Research Center, Howard University 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 … Read More(1875) Congressman James T. Rapier, “Half Free, Half Slave”

(1866) Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, “We Are All Bound Up Together”

A free-born native of Baltimore, Maryland, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper gave her first anti-slavery lecture in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1854.  Her books of poetry enhanced her prominence but when she in 1859 wrote an open letter to the condemned John Brown, her correspondence was … Read More(1866) Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, “We Are All Bound Up Together”

(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”

(1867) Thaddeus Stevens, “Reconstruction”

In 1867 Pennsylvania Congressman Thaddeus Stevens and Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner led the campaign for full voting rights for African Americans across the nation.  In the speech below which Stevens gave in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 3, 1867 supporting the Reconstruction bill … Read More(1867) Thaddeus Stevens, “Reconstruction”

(1867) Thaddeus Stevens, Address to Colored Delegation”

Thaddeus Stevens was one of the most influential congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives in the late 1860s.   Considered a leader of the Radical Republicans, he was an early advocate of full civil rights for African Americans.  In 1867 he gave a brief address … Read More(1867) Thaddeus Stevens, Address to Colored Delegation”

(1867) Frederick Douglass, “Appeal to Congress for Impartial Suffrage”

In 1867 Frederick Douglass, noted abolitionist and civil rights leader, weighed in on one of the most contentious issues of the day, suffrage for black men following the Civil War.  His address, given in January 1867 in Washington, D.C., during the Congressional debate on black … Read More(1867) Frederick Douglass, “Appeal to Congress for Impartial Suffrage”

(1863) Angelina Grimké Weld “Address at the Women’s Loyal National League”

By the time of the Civil War Angelina Grimke Weld had spent three decades fighting the institution of slavery.   The Civil War and especially the Emancipation Proclamation which went into effect on January 1, 1863, seemed inevitably to bring her work to her desired conclusion.  … Read More(1863) Angelina Grimké Weld “Address at the Women’s Loyal National League”

(1865) Abraham Lincoln, “Last Public Address”

On April 11, 1865, two days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, President Abraham Lincoln addressed a jubilant crowd that had gathered outside the White House in Washington, D.C.  While the crowd expected an address celebrating … Read More(1865) Abraham Lincoln, “Last Public Address”