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“MEN OF COLOR: To Arms! To Arms!”

Frederick Douglass, Broadside. “Men of Color / To Arms! To Arms!” U.S. Steam-Power Book and Job Printing Establishment, Ledger Buildings, Third and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, PA, [1863.] Signed in type by Frederick Douglass and 54 others, including many prominent African-American citizens. 44 x 87 in. Framed to 48 x 94 in.

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A monumental Frederick Douglass Civil War recruiting broadside.

African American men had joined Union forces throughout the Civil War, but it took Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 to officially allow and encourage them to enlist. This monumental Philadelphia recruiting poster signals the seismic shift in policy.

The text of this dramatic poster was adapted from an impassioned editorial Frederick Douglass wrote in the March of 1863 issue of Douglass’ Monthly. “There is no time to delay… The tide is at its flood … From East to West, from North to South, the sky is written all over, ‘Now or never.’”

Item #22552, $280,000

Gerald Ford Defends His Early Commitment to Civil Rights

GERALD R. FORD, Typed Letter Signed, to Arthur F. Bukowski, January 28, 1950, Washington, D.C. 2 pp., 8 x 10½ in. On Ford’s Congressional letterhead.

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This fascinating letter by freshman Congressman and future president Gerald R. Ford to a Catholic college president in Michigan defends his early record on civil rights legislation.

Personally, I have lived by and believe in the fundamental principle of equality of opportunity regardless of race, color or creed. I am in favor of such a policy for all citizens and will cooperate to accomplish that objective by the most practical and effective methods.

Item #26024, $1,200

Rare New York Senate Print of Proposed State Law to Combat the Dred Scott Decision

SLAVERY AND ABOLITION—NEW YORK STATE, New York Senate. “An Act To secure Freedom to all persons within this State,” Edward M. Madden, April 9, 1857, Passed the Assembly on April 17; failed in the Senate. Printed with numbered lines for the use of the Senate. 1 p., 6.5 x 11.5 in.

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Every slave … who shall come or be brought, or be involuntarily in this state shall be free.

Item #23389.07, $2,500

Jackie Robinson Explains to Autograph Seeker Why He Cannot Support Nixon in 1968

JACKIE ROBINSON, Autograph Letter Signed, to Ken Browne, ca. September 17, 1968. On “Jackie Robinson” stationery with stamped, postmarked envelope addressed by Robinson. 2 pp., 8½ x 7¼ in.

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This remarkable letter to an autograph collector reveals Robinson’s commitment to Civil Rights over his commitment to the Republican Party. Although he supported Richard Nixon in 1960, he refused to support Barry Goldwater in 1964. In 1968, Nixon’s pandering to South Carolina’s fiercely segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond (1902-2003) repelled Robinson. Although Robinson had supported New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller’s candidacy for the Republican nomination, Robinson declared in a television interview that the Nixon ticket was “racist in nature” and that Nixon had “prostituted himself out to the bigots in the south.” Robinson also declared that he would remain a Republican and urged African Americans to “stay in the Republican party and try to change it.”

Item #25679, $29,000

Alex Haley Signs Check to the Cornell University Black Alumni Association

ALEX HALEY, Signed Check, June 9, 1989. Drawn on the First Tennessee Bank in Knoxville. To “Cornell Univ. Black Alumni Assn.”. With “donation” in the memo field.

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Item #20432.04, $500

Alex Haley Signed Check

ALEX HALEY, Signed Check, September 20, 1988. Drawn on the First Tennessee Bank in Knoxville. To “Patricia Alexander”. With “Love!” in the memo field and on the back is her endorsement and a note that says “Thanks!”.

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Item #20432.02, $350

Amistad Slave Revolt Supreme Court Opinion, in Washington, D.C. Newspaper

[AMISTAD], Newspaper. Daily National Intelligencer, March 15, 1841. Washington, DC: Joseph Gales and William W. Seaton. 4 pp.

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The story of La Amistad, its dramatic capture by Africans aboard, and the resulting lawsuits gained international attention from 1839 to 1841. Abolitionists rallied to the cause of freeing the Africans transported illegally across the Atlantic into Spanish slavery, while proslavery advocates saw the case as an assault on property rights. This issue presents the opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court on the case, starting on the front page.

Item #25678, $1,900

Amistad Slave Revolt Supreme Court Decision Announced

[AMISTAD], Newspaper. Daily National Intelligencer, March 10, 1841. Washington, DC: Joseph Gales and William W. Seaton. 4 pp.

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The story of La Amistad, its dramatic capture by Africans aboard, and the resulting lawsuits gained international attention from 1839 to 1841. Abolitionists rallied to the cause of freeing the Africans transported illegally across the Atlantic into Spanish slavery, while proslavery advocates saw the case as an assault on property rights.

Item #25677, $1,150

“George Washington” - Keith Carter Photograph

[GEORGE WASHINGTON]. KEITH CARTER, Photograph. Child holds his copy of Gilbert Stuart’s famous “Athenaeum” portrait of George Washington. 1990. Number 6 of 50, 15 x 15 in.

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Item #25394, $4,800

Lincoln Reads the Emancipation Proclamation to His Cabinet

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Print. The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation Before the Cabinet. Engraved by Alexander Hay Ritchie, after 1864 painting of Francis Bicknell Carpenter. New York: Alexander H. Ritchie, 1866. 36 x 24 in.

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An engraving by Alexander Hay Ritchie commemorates the moment Lincoln first presented the Emancipation Proclamation to his Cabinet.

Item #25617.02, $1,950

1841 Anti-Slavery Almanac Including Report on Amistad Case and Illustrations of Cinque, Grabeau, and Covey, and Summary of 1840 Presidential Candidates Pro-slavery Positions

[AMISTAD], Pamphlet. The New England Anti-Slavery Almanac for 1841. Boston: J.A. Collins, 1841 [ca. December, 1840]. Original printed and illustrated blue wrappers, stitched. 36pp. 4½ x 7½ in.

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Item #23382, $950

Virginia Brief Supporting Segregation in Companion case to Brown v. Board of Education

[CIVIL RIGHTS], Pamphlet. Supreme Court of the United States. October Term, 1953. Dorothy E. Davis, Et Al,, Appellants, v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia, Et al., Appellees. Appeal From the United States District Court For the Eastern District of Virginia. Brief for Appellees in Reply to Supplemental Brief for the United States on Reargument. [Richmond, Virginia: Lewis Printing Company], December 7, 1953. Original printed title wrappers, as issued. 22pp.

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Item #25147, $650

Union League of Philadelphia Supports Lincoln on Emancipation, African-American Troops in 1864

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. HENRY CHARLES LEA, Printed Pamphlet. No. 18: The Will of the People, [January – April 1864]. 8 pp., 5½ x 8½ in.

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The will of the people is supreme.

The vital principle of [Lincoln’s] whole administration has been his recognition of the fact, that our Government is simply a machine for carrying into effect THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

Item #24899, $250

Blanche Bruce, The First Full-term African American U.S. Senator Signs a Deed

BLANCHE BRUCE, Document Signed. Land deed. Washington, D.C. October 2, 1890. Signature panel 8¼ x 3½ in., overall dimensions 8¼ x 14 in.

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Blanche Bruce was the first full-term African American to serve in the U.S. Senate, 1875-1881. He was then appointed by President James Garfield as Register of the U.S. Treasury in 1881. He later served as the Washington, D.C. Recorder of Deeds (a position earlier held by Frederick Douglass), 1890-1893 and again as Register of the Treasury from 1897 until his death in 1898.

Item #22945.23, $125

Stirring Pamphlet Defense of Abner Kneeland in His Massachusetts Trials for Blasphemy

[CIVIL RIGHTS], Pamphlet. A Review of the Prosecution Against Abner Kneeland, for Blasphemy. By a Cosmopolite [likely David Henshaw]. Boston: n.p., 1835. Includes a two-page manuscript laid in, “From the Boston Advocate, Nov. 19, 1834,” describing Kneeland’s trial and his representation of himself. 32 pp., 5¼ x 8⅝ in.

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In this pamphlet, a pseudonymous author defends rights of conscience, speech, and the press, amidst the trials of Abner Kneeland for violating a rarely enforced 1782 Massachusetts statute against blasphemy. Between 1834 and 1838, Kneeland’s words were the subject of four jury trials, two convictions, and a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court review of his conviction before he served sixty days in prison.

Item #25429, $1,250

Rare Jim Crow Broadside from Father of American Minstrelsy

[AFRICAN AMERICAN], Printed Broadside. “The Extravaganza of Jim Crow!” ca. 1832-1838. As sung by Thomas D. Rice. 1 p., 5⅛ x 16 in.

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Item #25605, $4,500

William Monroe Trotter - the first African American to earn a Phi Beta Kappa key at Harvard - pushes a petition calling for mercy for still imprisoned soldiers of the 24th US Colored Infantry

WILLIAM MONROE TROTTER, Typed Letter Signed, to Albert P. Wadleigh, Boston, February 1, 1924. With a blank printed petition to President Calvin Coolidge, and an envelope to return the petition to the National Equal Rights League in Boston. 2 pp.

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To free by pardon or on parole the Colored soldiers of the gallant 24th in Fort Leavenworth federal prison already so long for retaliation, poorly proven or not proven at all, against goading insult and provocation and insult to women of their race. We do now ask whether you will grant this special plea for clemency.

The Secretary of the National Equal Rights League writes to a Massachusetts state senator asking for his support for clemency for black soldiers imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth. The drive on behalf of soldiers convicted of participation in the 1917 Houston riot, resulted in 124,000 signatures, and reduction in the sentences of the 54 soldiers still in prison. (19 of the soldiers had already been executed).

Item #24171, $1,750

Swedish immigrant uses racist “Pickaninny” imagery on a hand-painted envelope

[AFRICAN AMERICAN]. GUSTAF NORDSTROM, Handmade Postal Cover, to Frederick Nordstrom, February [25], 1902, Brooklyn, New York. 1 p., 11½ x 5 in.

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Swedish sign painter in New York uses racial stereotypes on envelope to tell his brother in Florida that he misses him.

Item #25043, $650

Fascinating 1980s Notes by Eldridge Cleaver, Former Black Panther Radical Become Conservative Republican

ELDRIDGE CLEAVER, Archive of notes for speeches and other notes, ca. 1980-1987. 29 pp., various sizes, most on cardstock, 5 x 7 in. to 6⅝ x 9¾ in.

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Some American poet has said, Send me men to match my mountains. How embarrassing to reflect on that today. Are even the volcanoes in our blood extinct?

These notes illustrate the life and views of Eldridge Cleaver in the 1980s, far removed from the Black Panther revolutionary of the 1960s. He espouses a conservative political ethic based on the positive vision of the Founding Fathers and a virulent opposition to communism, a trait he shared with evangelicals, Mormons, and Moon’s Unification Church. While he had been a strong opponent of Governor Ronald Reagan in the 1960s, Cleaver here praises President Reagan as the “No. 1 Freedom Fighter” in the 1980s. Looking back to the Monroe Doctrine, he strongly calls for free trade and open borders, eventually leading to unification of all the Americas.

A collection of his handwritten notes and drafts of speeches, lectures, and letters to the editor, together with a few more routine pages listing contacts and notes from newspaper reading.

Item #25332, $3,750

Frederick Douglass on West Indies Emancipation in Rare Issue of his Abolitionist Newspaper The North Star

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, Newspaper, The North Star, August 4, 1848 (Volume I, No. 32). [Rochester, NY: John Dick]. 4 pp., 18 x 24½ in.

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On this day, ten years ago, eight hundred thousand slaves became freemen… The great fact we this day recognize— the great truth to which we have met to do honor, belongs to the whole human family.

Item #23348.04, $16,000
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