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Just fifty years ago, January lst, 1913, Abraham Lincoln,
emancipated four million slaves. None but those to whom the glad
tidings came could know what visions this sublime act of the Great
Emancipator opened to their inner souls.

Having been a slave, and then to know oneself afterward
forever free; who shall imagine the soul's tumult of joy and ex-
pecation in that hour when it all stood forth a reality? Has my
race fulfilled the promise of its friends? No man who has ac-
quainted himself with the facts, will for a moment, deny that it

The progress made in half a century in education, in the
growth of self-respect and self-confidence, in the production of
distinguished leaders and in the accumulation of property, has
astonished both our friends and enemies. Many promises and guar-
antees were held out to the race soon after the dawn of freedom,
but those promises have been left unfulfilled and those guarantees
have become mere idle words. It were better that they had not been
made, and the negro left to fight out his own political salvation,
and as he fitted himself, then, adjust himself to the body politic.

It takes a great race and a christian race to deal fair
with a weaker race; but I am very sorry to say that a bitter and
unchristian prejudice seems to have taken possession of the minds
of those who ought to be our friends North and South, and they
have shamefully neglected the promises and witheld the guarantees
made fifty years ago. Is it the color of a man’s heart or skin
that makes him black or white in the sight of heaven and of the
noblest manhood?

The first half-century has past and with it many of our
friends; the second half-century since the emancipation begins
with ominous clouds still darkening the eastern skn where slowly
the sun of hope has been rising for the negro. But these fity
years will see forces at work that will right many a cruel wrong;
inspire a larger faith and hasten the day that must come since God
is just, when it shall be acknowledged that men are brothers; the
world over.

The negro is not wholly responsible for solidifying his
vote in the past; there were those who taught him to hate and
humiliate his neighbor, by voting for the carpet-bagger during the
period of reconstruction in the south, upon false promises and hopes
until as a last resort these neighbors began to disfranchise my
people, and they became as harmless, politically, as a finless-fish


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