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Centennial: The American Negro from 1776-1876; Oration Delivered at Avondale, Ohio, 1876
			
                           [8]
Concord, Bunker Hill, Ticonderoga, Trenton, and Independ-
ence Hall, have become the great centers of national thought
and feeling.  They are designated by the muse of history
as the shrines at which patriots may worship, to kindle
anew their devotion.  We  put aside our political creeds,
and find ourselves no longer consumed by partisan animos-
ities, or biased by sectional grudges.  We converge to a
common center; we meet upon equal grounds.  The shafts
of calumny fall from unwilling hands, and we wave the
olive-branch of peace.  This national holiday, this Sabbath
of the nation finds us all Americans.  The heart of the
republic is swelling with high sentiments and deep grati-
tude, while the representatives of the civilized world bear
to us congratulations and friendly greetings.
  But, in these moments of popular exaltation and triumph,
we are liable to lose the spirit in the letter, the substance
in the shadow.   Intoxicated with national joy, we may
forget to ask ourselves how far we are from Plymouth
Rock, Bunker Hill, and Independence Hall!  Are our in-
stitutions resting upon the impregnable foundations laid by
the wisdom and foresight of the fathers; or have we re-
moved them to the shifting sands of political opinion?  It
is the work of this hour to trace the threads of revolution-
ary purpose; to lay bare the motives of the fathers in
bringing to this continent a free nation.  We must analyze
the character of our institutions; judge the spirit and tex-
ture of our laws.  Let us see if these are just-whether
they comport with the hopes cherished a hundred years
ago. Let us see whether the American Negro has been a
help or a hinderance; a blessing or a curse to this re-
public.




			
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OHS Archives/Library Pamphlet Collection

Centennial: The American Negro from 1776-1876; Oration Delivered at Avondale, Ohio, 1876

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