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Centennial: The American Negro from 1776-1876; Oration Delivered at Avondale, Ohio, 1876
                           [ 36 ]
the negro in blue! And I ask the many schools, acade-
mies, and colleges open to the race, if the negro has not
shown the largest capacity for the severest culture.  I ask
the American Congress, which has listened to the stirring
eloquence of Elliott, Cane, Lynch, and others, if the negro
is a monkey or a man! 
     The American negro possseses, in the highest degree,
the two most important race-elements--the qualities that
fit a people for a long existence, and qualify them for the
highest civilization-viz., courage and endurance!
     Daniel O'Connell said to Ireland, "Hereditary bond-
men, know ye not, that he who would himself be free,
must first strike the blow?"  The American negro antici-
pated O'Connell, when he rose and made the colonies trem-
ble as a leaf when stirred by a winter tempest.   And if
Germany deserves the praise of mankind for driving the
despotic Napoleon to Paris and sending him to St. Helena,
so, likewise, the American negro deserves the admiration
of the civilized world for melting off his chains in the fires
of rebellion, and for helping to establish a free government
without a single slave under the folds of its flag!
     This is an auspicious moment.   We hear the receding
footsteps of time echoing adown the century.  Our hearts
tremble with precious memories of the past: and as we ask,
"The fathers, where  are they?" our affections take a
tighter hold on time; we realize the end of existence.

    But we must turn our faces to the future.  We have
journeyed back over the century in order to find something
to stimulate and direct our exertions in the future.  What
our fathers have done to light up the page of history, we
may do in the light of their experience even better than
they.  We have their bright examples to incite us to noble
deeds.  We have their fame to guard and our own to win.


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



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