OHS home

Ohio Historical Society / The African American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920








3  10 
PreviousPrevious Item Description Next Next
Equality Before the Law: Oration Delivered by Prof. J.M. Langston at the Fifteenth Amendment Celebration

         Delivered by Prof. J. M. LANGSTON, of Howard University,
           Washington, D. C., at the 15th Amendment Celebration
             held in Oberlin, Ohio, Thursday, May 14th, 1874.

Mr. President:--                           essary to the salvation of Government
                                          and Union, our freedom and that re-
  Within  less than  a quarter of a        construction  of sentiment  and  law
century--within the last fifteen years,    essential to their support, it is eminent-
the colored American has been raised       ly proper that we all leave our ordinary
from the condition of four-footed          callings this day, to join  in cordial
beasts and creeping things, to the level   commemoration of our  emancipation,
of enfranchised  manhood.   Within         the triumph of a movement whose com-
this period the Slave Oligarchy of the     prehensive results profit and bless with-
land has been overthrown,  and the         out discrimination as to color or race.
nation itself emancipated from its bar       Hon. Benj. F. Butler, on the 4th day
barous rule.   The compromise mea-         of July last, in addressing his fellow-
sures of 1850, including the Fugitive      citizens of Massachusetts, at Farming-
Slave law,  together with the  whole       ham, used the following language, as I
body of law enacted in the interest of     conceive, with propriety and truth.
slavery, then accepted as finalities, and    "But another, and it may not be too
the power of leading political parties     much to say, greater event has arisen
pledged to their maintenance, have,        within this generation.  The rebellion
with those parties, been utterly nulli-    sought to undo all that '76 had done,
fied and destroyed.  In their stead we     and to dissolve the nation then born,
have a purified constitution, and legis-   and to set aside the Declaration that
lation no longer construed and enforced    all men are created equal, with certain
to sanction and support inhumanity         inalieniable rights, among  which are
and crime, but to sustain and perpetu-     life, liberty and the pursuit of happi-
ate the freedom and the rights of us       ness.  The war that ensued in sup-
all.                                       pressing this treasonable design, de-
  Indeed, two nations have been born       manded  so  much  greater effort,  so
in a day.  For in the death of slavery,    much  more terrible sacrifice, and has
and through the change indicated, the      imprinted itself upon the people with
colored American has been spoken into      so much more sharpness and freshness,
the new life of liberty and law; while     that we of the present, and still more
new, other and better purposes, aspira-    they of the coming generation, almost
tions and feelings, have possessed and     forgetting '76, will remember '61 and
moved the soul of his fellow country-      65, and the wrongs inflicted upon our
men.   The moral atmosphere of the         fathers by King George and his minis-
land is no longer that of slavery and      ters, will be obliterated, by  the re-
hate; as far as the late slave, even, is   membrance  of  the  proclamation  of
concerned, it is largely that of freedom   emancipation, the assassination of the
and fraternal appreciation.                President, the restoration of the Union,
  Not forgetting the struggle and sacri-   and the reconstruction of the country
fice of the people, the matchless cour-    in one united, and, as we fondly trust,
age and endurance of our soldiery, nec-    never to be dissevered nation."


Download High Resolution TIFF Image
PreviousPrevious Item Description Next Next

OHS Archives/Library Pamphlet Collection

Equality Before the Law: Oration Delivered by Prof. J.M. Langston at the Fifteenth Amendment Celebration



http://www.ohiohistory.org || Last modified
Ohio History Center 800 E. 17th Ave. Columbus, OH 43211 © 1996-2011 All Rights Reserved.