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Frederick Douglass at Springfield, Mo.
			
12                      THE REVIEW

of this defiant spirit is shown by his first words.   After  the
applause that greeted him, when he arose, he said with de-
liberation and a sort of mock seriousness that could not have
been surpassed by the most finished actor:      "I suppose that
the first thing you want to know about is my second  mat-
riage." I confess that when I heard Mr. Douglass utter
these words, I was startled and wondered if he appreciated
the import of what he said.  The white portion of his audience
looked in wonderment at each other and I could read in the
faces of some of his colored auditors a sense of fear and humi-
liation. Mr. Douglass alone was cool and sure of himself.
After a moment's pause, he went on: "You see, it was this
way, I wanted to be perfectly fair to both races, so my first
wife was the color of my mother, and my second wife was
the color of my father." This unexpected humorous allusion
to his second marriage changed the feeling of the audience
from doubt and fear to uproarious laughter and applause.
The manner and effect of this introduction can scarcely be
conveyed in cold type and twelve years after its occurrence.
It had all the effect of taking his audience into his most sacred
confidence, and after doing so, he felt perfectly safe to entrust
them with the uttermost of his feelings on the questions about
which Southern audiences are generally intolerant of plain
speech. At the conclusion of his masterful address, in which
he frankly told the colored people of their faults, as well as
their rights, and in which he challenged the love of justice
in the hearts of all, he was the recipient of the heartiest con-
gratulations from both races.  They all confessed that his
words were the wisest and his championship of the rights of
men were the most stirring they had ever heard or felt.
         




			
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African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 23, Num. 1

Frederick Douglass at Springfield, Mo.

Laing

Volume:  23
Issue Number:  01
Page Number:  07
Date:  07/1906


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