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Centennial: The American Negro from 1776-1876; Oration Delivered at Avondale, Ohio, 1876
                           [ 22 ]
bondmen in blue.  It was whispered in society, it was dis-
cussed in councils, it was asked by the press: "Will the ne-
gro fight?"  "Won't he run if a white man looks at him?"
These and a hundred other questions were asked. But who
can answer?  Oh, that I had the voice of Niagara, the elo-
quence of an angel, and were as tall as the Alleghanies, that I
might reply to the whole world! But is this necessary?
Have not Port Hudson, Fort Wagoner, Fort Pillow, Olustee,
Honey Hill, Petersburg, Richmond, Appomattox, and a
hundred other well-fought and well-won battle-fields, their
voices? If it were necessary, I could detail, could recount
some of their greatest battles.  For he who speaks bears
honorable scars received in the battles for the republic! But
already the historian has dipped his pen in yonder burning
orb, and written in letters of gold all over the nation's his-
tory: "The colored troops fought bravely."
     The tide was changed, and "the armies of the aliens
were turned to flight."  The wave of rebellion was rolled
back, the enemy was defeated at every point, and victory
perched upon our banner.  The negro, who yesterday swung
his scythe so lustily, was now wielding the sword of liberty,
while the master who but yesterday marked his back, was
flying before him.  What a wonderful change! The world
could hardly believe its eyes.  Northerners and Southerners
were alike surprised.  The negro had accomplished two
things.  He had swept away the bitter prejudice of the
Northern army, and convinced the Southern soldier that he
was his equal in arms, and dangerous as a piece of property.
From the moment the negro appeared in the conflict, until
Appomattox echoed the victory, there was not one single
defeat to be recorded against us. The series of victories was
unbroken, without a space between.  It was step after step,
until our national arms had penetrated every Southern state,
and until in every Southern city the "stars and bars" were
hauled down, and the "stars and stripes" hauled up.  It


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



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