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Frederick Douglass Calls for Equal Opportunity in New York (SOLD)
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“A Black Man on the War, An Address By Frederick Douglass at the Cooper Institute” occupies four columns on page 7.

[FREDERICK DOUGLASS]. Newspaper. New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., February 13, 1862, 8 pp., 15½ x 20½ in. Disbound.

Inventory #22922       SOLD — please inquire about other items


“Though ignored by our friends, and repelled by our enemies, the colored people...the most ardent desire to serve the cause of the country....Colored men were good enough to fight under Washington. They are not good enough to fight under McClellan. They were good enough to fight under Andrew Jackson. They are not good enough to fight under Gen. Hallack....A blow struck for the freedom of the slave, is equally a blow struck for the safety and welfare of the country. As Liberty and Union have become identical, so Slavery and Treason have become one and inseparable....But why O why should we not abolish slavery now?...What good thing has it done....Behold its dreadful history! Saying nothing of the rivers of tears and the streams of blood poured out by its 4,000,000 victims....But I come now to the more immediate subject of my lecture, namely: What shall be done with the four millions of slaves if they are emancipated....My answer to the question....Do nothing with them, but leave them just as you leave other men, to do with and for themselves...If we can not stand, then let us fall down. We ask nothing at the hands of the American people but simple justice, and an equal chance to live....Let us alone. What you have done with us thus far has only worked to our disadvantage....Even those that stand to serve us and help us, doubt us and fear that we shall not stand the application of rules....Take any race you please, French, English, Irish or Scotch, subject them to slavery for ages - regard and treat them everywhere every way as property, as having no rights....Let them be loaded with chains, scarred with the whip, branded with hot irons, sold in the market, kept in ignorance, by force of law and common usage, and I venture to say that the same doubt would spring up....Again, it is affirmed that the negro, if emancipated, could not take care of himself. My answer...for 200 years he has taken care of himself and his master in the bargain....There is a measure now before Congress...proposing, first to make the negroes leave the land of their birth, and secondly to pay the expense of their enforced removal....It is a most mischievous and scandalous proposition....The number of colored people now on this continent cannot fall far below twenty millions. An attempt to remove them would as vain as to bail out the ocean....My friends, the destiny of the Colored Americans, however this might war shall terminate, is the destiny of America....Over the bleeding back of the American bondman, we shall learn mercy. In the very extreme difference of color and features of the negro and the Anglo Saxon, shall be learned the highest ideas of the sacredness of man and the fullness and perfection of human brotherhood.”

Historical Background

In a packed address at New York’s Cooper Institute, orator Frederick Douglass demands freedom and opportunity for African Americans. Rejecting the notion of colonization back to Africa, he reasons that for centuries, blacks had already proved that they could care for themselves as well as their white masters. Douglass asks only for the chance to stand or fall on merit, and that any deficiencies among African Americans was the result of lack of educational opportunities and the brutality of slavery.