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Centennial: The American Negro from 1776-1876; Oration Delivered at Avondale, Ohio, 1876
                          [ 28 ]

are to be waged with all the vehemence of manly effort.
For we must remember that the victories won in war are
conditioned to us on the ground of our success in conquer-
ing in moral conflicts.  We have not a moment to spare.
The heat of the battle is now; so let every man be at his
post.  The world is watching and waiting for results.  I
am indeed glad that slavery is dead.  Its ghost will no
longer render our land hideous.  Slavery is dead!  But,
the evil influences of the institution linger among us.  Its
impress was made upon the souls as well as upon the
bodies of its subjects.  It will take years before this coun-
try will outgrow the scars of slavery.  The government is
yet weak from the fierce and protracted struggle; but time
will close and heal every wound; she will yet be strong in
truth and justice.
    This is the formative period of our race.  We will be
suspectible to many impressions, and it, therefore, becomes
us to know just what kind of material we are putting into
our characters.  Every thing we do now will go into his-
tory, whether good or bad.  If we fail to be industrious and
virtuous, the future historian will record it.  He will write
that after the negro was free, instead of becoming industri-
ous, he became indolent; instead of becoming wiser, he be-
came more ignorant; turning liberty into license, his last
state was worse than the former.  Ah ! fellow Christians, I
wish I could write the language of my heart in plainer
letters! I wish I could tell you in articulate words, how
much I love you, and how anxious I am that my race march
on until it takes its place by the side of ancient Greece and
classic Rome; yea, even by the side of England and proud
America!  You may think me a fanatic to-day, but fifty
years hence, when our race has taken on a national char-
acter, its panegyrist will call this no idle dream.  The
avenues that lead to the several professions, to moral and


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



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