Information

William Lloyd Garrison


William Lloyd Garrison, the son of a seaman, was born in Newburyport Massachusetts, in December, 1805. Apprenticed as a printer, he became editor of the Newburyport Herald in 1824. Four years later he was appointed editor of the National Philanthropist in Boston.

In 1828 Garrison met Benjamin Lundy, the Quaker anti-slavery editor of the Genius of Universal Emancipation. The following year he became co-editor of Lundy's newspaper. One article, where Garrison's criticised a merchant involved in the slave-trade, resulted in him being imprisoned for libel.

Released in June 1830, Garrison's period in prison made him even more determined to bring and end to slavery. Whereas he previously shared Lundy's belief in gradual emancipation, Garrison now advocated "immediate and complete emancipation of all slaves". After breaking with Lundy, Garrison returned to Boston where he established his own anti-slavery newspaper, the Liberator. The newspaper's motto was: "Our country is the world - our countrymen are mankind" (an adoption of a comment made by Thomas Paine).

In the Liberator Garrison not only attacked slave-holders but the "timidity, injustice and absurdity" of the gradualists. Garrison famously wrote: "I am in earnest - I will not equivocate - I will not excuse - I will not retreat a single inch - and I will be heard." The newspaper only had a circulation of 3,000 but the strong opinions expressed in its columns gained Garrison a national reputation as the leader of those favouring immediate emancipation.

Garrison's views were particularly unpopular in the South and the state of Georgia offered $5,000 for his arrest and conviction. Garrison was highly critical of the Church for its refusal to condemn slavery. Some anti-slavery campaigners began arguing that Garrison's bitter attacks on the clergy was frightening off potential supporters.

In 1832 Garrison formed the New England Anti-Slavery Society. The following year he helped organize the Anti-Slavery Society. Garrison was influenced by the ideas of Susan Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone and other feminists who joined the society. This was reflected in the content of the Liberator that now began to advocate women's suffrage, pacifism and temperance.

Some members of the Anti-Slavery Society considered the organization to be too radical. They objected to the attacks on the US Constitution and the prominent role played by women in the society. In 1839, two brothers, Arthur Tappan and Lewis Tappan, left and formed a rival organization, the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society.

Garrison became increasingly radical and in 1854 he created controversy by publicly burning a copy of the Constitution at a Anti-Slavery rally at Framingham, Massachusetts. Although he doubted the morality of the violence used by John Brown at Harper's Ferry in 1859, his newspaper controversially supported his actions.

On the outbreak of the American Civil War Garrison abandoned his previously held pacifist views and supported Abraham Lincoln and the Union Army. However, during the war, Garrison was critical of Lincoln for making the preservation of the union rather than the abolition of slavery his main objective.

After the passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865, Garrison decided to cease publication of the Liberator. Garrison spent his last fourteen years campaigning for women's suffrage, pacifism and temperance. William Lloyd Garrison died on 24th May, 1879.

In 1829 I first hoisted in the city of Baltimore the flag of immediate, unconditional, uncompensated emancipation; and they threw me into their prison for preaching such gospel truth. My reward is, that in 1865 Maryland has adopted Garrisonian Abolitionism, and accepted a constitution endorsing every principle and idea that I have advocated in behalf of the oppressed slave.

The first time I saw that noble man, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, at Washington, - and of one thing I feel sure, either he has become a Garrisonian Abolitionist, or I a Lincoln Emancipationist, for I know that we blend together, like kindred drops, into one, and his brave heart beats freedom everywhere, - I then said to him: "Mr. President, it is thirty-four years since I visited Baltimore; and when I went their recently to see if I could find the old Prison, and, get into my old cell again, I found that all was gone." The President answered promptly and wittily, as he is wont to make his responses: "Well, Mr. Garrison, the difference between 1830 and 1864 appears to be this, that in 1830 you could not get out, and in 1864 you could not get in." This symbolizes the revolution which has been brought about in Maryland. For if I had spoken till I was as hoarse as I am tonight against slaveholders in Baltimore, there would have been no indictment brought against me, and no prison opened to receive me.

But a broader, sublimer basis than that, the United States has at last rendered its verdict. The people, on the eighth of November last, recorded their purpose that slavery in our country should be forever abolished; and the Congress of the United States at its last session adopted, and nearly the requisite states have already voted in favor of, an amendment to the Constitution of the country, making it forever unlawful for any many to hold property in man. I thank God in view of these great changes.

Abolitionism, what is it? Liberty. What is liberty? Abolitionism. What are they both? Politically, one is the Declaration of Independence; religiously, the other is the Golden Rule of our Savior. I am here in Charleston, South Carolina. She is smitten to the dust. She has been brought down from her pride of place. The chalice was put to her lips, and she has drunk it to the dregs. I have never been her enemy, nor the enemy of the South, and in the desire to save her from this great retribution demanded in the name of the living God that every fetter should be broken, and the oppressed set free.

I have not come here with reference to any flag but that of freedom. If your Union does not symbolize universal emancipation, it brings no Union for me. If your Constitution does not guarantee freedom for all, it is not a Constitution I can ascribe to. If your flag is stained by the blood of a brother held in bondage, I repudiate it in the name of God. I came here to witness the unfurling of a flag under which every human being is to be recognized as entitled to his freedom. Therefore, with a clear conscience, without any compromise of principles, I accepted the invitation of the Government of the United States to be present and witness the ceremonies that have taken place today.

And now let me give the sentiment which has been, and ever will be, the governing passion of my soul: "Liberty for each, for all, and forever!"

A beloved friend from New Bedford prevailed on Frederick Douglass to address the convention. He came forward to the platform with a hesitancy and embarrassment, necessarily the attendants of a sensitive mind in such a novel position. After apologizing for his ignorance, and reminding the audience that slavery was a poor school for the human intellect and heart, he proceeded to narrate some of the facts in his own history as a slave, and in the course of his speech gave utterance to many noble thoughts and thrilling reflections.

I shall never forget his first speech at the convention - the extraordinary emotion it excited in my own mind. I think I never hated slavery so intensely as at that moment; certainly, my perception of the enormous outrage which is inflicted by it, on the godlike nature of its victims, was rendered far more clear than ever.

It was at once deeply impressed upon my mind, that, if Frederick Douglass could be persuaded to consecrate his time and talents to the promotion of the anti-slavery enterprise, a powerful impetus would be given to it, and a stunning blow at the same time inflicted on northern prejudice against a colored complexion.

When I first went to the Northern States, which is about ten years ago, although I was free as to the law, I was made to feel severely the difference between persons of different colours. No black man was admitted to the same seats in churches with the whites, nor to the inside of public conveyances, nor into street coaches or cabs: we had to be content with the decks of steam-boats in all weathers, night and day, - not even our wives or children being allowed to go below, however it might rain, or snow, or freeze; in various other ways, we were treated as though we were of a race of men below the whites.

But the abolitionists boldly stood up for us, and through them things are much changed for the better. Now, we may sit in any part of many places of worship, and are even asked into the pews of respectable white families; many public conveyances now make no distinction between white and black. We begin to feel that we are really on the same footing as our fellow citizens. They see we can and do conduct ourselves with propriety, and they are now admitting us in many cases to the same standing with themselves.

At that time, and ever since, we have had a host of American friends, who have laboured for the cause night and day; they have nobly stood up for the rights and honour of the coloured man; but they did so at first in the midst of scorn and danger. Now, thank God, the case is very different Mr. William Lloyd Garrison, who was hunted for his life by a mob in the streets of Boston has lately been chairman of a large meeting in favour of abolition, held in Fanueil Hall, the celebrated public hall of Boston, called "the Cradle of Liberty."


William Lloyd Garrison - History

William Lloyd Garrison on Slavery
Digital History ID 348

Author: William Lloyd Garrison
Date:1830

William Lloyd Garrison, the symbol of immediate abolition, had first-hand knowledge of poverty. His father, a sailing master, had abandoned his family when Garrison was three years old. Having little formal schooling, Garrison educated himself while he worked as a printer's apprentice. He then supported himself as a journalist and editor of a weekly reform newspaper. Garrison's former master described his apprentice as "a diligent student" with "an ardent temperament and warm imagination" and "unshaken courage," but also "hasty, stubborn, and dogmatic."

This letter by Garrison refers to his imprisonment for criminal libel. In the Genius of Universal of Emancipation, an antislavery newspaper, Garrison had accused a merchant of transporting 75 slaves from Baltimore to New Orleans, and declared that the man should be "SENTENCED TO SOLITARY CONFINEMENT FOR LIFE." In Baltimore Garrison was found guilty and fined $50 plus court costs. Unable to pay, Garrison was confined in prison for seven weeks, before Arthur Tappan (1786-1865), a New York merchant and philanthropist, provided the money for his release.

I have found the minds of the people strangely indifferent to the subject of slavery. Their prejudices were invincible--stronger, if possible, than those of slaveholders. Objections were started on every hand apologies for the abominable system constantly saluted my ears obstacles were industriously piled up in my path. The cause of this callous state of feeling was owing to their exceeding ignorance of the horrors of slavery. What was yet more discouraging, my best friends--without an exception--besought me to give up the enterprise, and never to return to Baltimore! It was not my duty (they argued) to spend my time, and talents, and services, where persecution, reproach and poverty were the only certain reward. My scheme was visionary--fanatical--unattainable. Why should I make myself an exile from home and all that I held dear on earth, and sojourn in a strange land, among enemies whose hearts were dead to every noble sentiment?--&c. &c. &c. I repeat--all were against my return. But I desire to thank God, that he gave me strength to overcome this selfish and pernicious advice. Opposition served only to increase my ardor, and confirm my purpose.

But how was I to return? I had not a dollar in my pocket, and my time was expired. No one understood my circumstances. I was too proud to beg, and ashamed to borrow. My friends were prodigal of pity, but of nothing else. In the extremity of my uneasiness, I went to the Boston Post office, and found a letter from my friend [Benjamin] Lundy, enclosing a draft for $100, from a stranger--yourself, as a remuneration for my poor, inefficient services in behalf of the slaves! Here Providence had again signally interfered in my behalf. After deducting the expenses of travelling, the remainder of the above named sum was applied to discharging a few of the debts incurred by the unproductiveness of the Genius.

As I lay on my couch one night, in jail, I was led to contrast my situation with that of the poor slave. Ah! dear sir, how wide the difference! In one particular only, (I said,) our conditions are similar. He is confined to the narrow limits of a plantation--I to the narrow limits of a prison-yard. Farther all parallels fail. My food is better and more abundant, as I get a pound of bread and a pound of meat, with a plentiful supply of pure water, per diem. I can lie down or rise up, sit or walk, sing or declaim, read or write, as fancy, pleasure or profit dictates. Moreover, I am daily cheered with the presence and conversation of friends--I am constantly supplied with fresh periodicals from every section of the country, and, consequently, am advertised of every new and interesting occurrence. Occasionally a letter greets me from a distant place, filled with consolatory expressions, tender remembrances, or fine compliments. If it rain, my room is a shelter if the sun flame too intensely, I can choose a shady retreat if I am sick, medical aid is at hand.--Besides, I have been charged with a specific offence--have had the privilege of a trial by jury, and the aid of eminent counsel--and am here ostensibly to satisfy the demands of justice. A few months, at the longest, will release me form my captivity.

Now, how is it with the slave? He gets a peck of corn (occasionally a little more) each week, but rarely meat or fish. He must anticipate the sun in rising, or be whipped severely for his somnolency. Rain or shine, he must toil early and late for the benefit of another. if he be weary, he cannot rest--for the lash of the driver is flourished over his drooping head, or applied to his naked frame if sick, he is suspected of laziness, and treated accordingly. For the most trifling or innocent offence, he is felled to the earth, or scourged on his back till it streams with blood. Has he a wife and children, he sees them as cruelly treated as himself. He may be torn from them, or they from him, at any moment, never again to meet on earth. Friends do not visit and console him: he has no friends. He knows not what is going on beyond his own narrow boundaries. He can neither read nor write. The letters of the alphabet are caballistical to his eyes. A thick darkness broods over his soul. Even the "glorious gospel of the blessed God," which brings life and immortality to perishing man, is as a sealed book to his understanding. Nor has his wretched condition been imposed upon him for any criminal offence. He has not been tried by the laws of his country. No one has stepped forth to vindicate his rights. He is made an abject slave, simply because God has given him a skin not colored like his master's and Death, the great Liberator, alone can break his fetters!


William Lloyd Garrison - History

William Lloyd Garrison was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1805. His family lost their fortune, and his father, a merchant sailor, deserted the family. Garrison went to work selling homemade molasses candy and delivering firewood. At age thirteen, he became an apprentice to a printer. In printing, writing, and publishing, he found a voice for his life's work.

At age twenty-five, Garrison joined the abolition movement. First he joined the American Colonization Society, an organization that tried to help free African-Americans resettle in Africa. When he realized that this society did not want to end slavery, he left it.

Garrison wanted to end slavery. So did other abolitionists. But Garrison wanted to end it immediately. Not many agreed with this view, which they considered extreme. What would happen to all the suddenly free African-Americans? Where would they go? What would they do? Garrison did not worry about these issues. He spoke out about the injustice of slavery, comparing it to a house on fire.

His passion got him into trouble. When he called a slave ship owner a highway robber and a murderer, Garrison received a jail sentence of six months. His friends raised money to bail him out after seven weeks. Later in Boston, an angry mob dragged him through the streets with a rope around his neck. The mayor put him in jail for disturbing the peace.

In 1831, Garrison began publishing his own newspaper, The Liberator . He so angered some people in the South that they offered a $1500 reward for the arrest of anyone distributing The Liberator . They offered $5000 for the arrest of Garrison himself. But he won the respect of others in the abolition movement, especially its black leaders.

Garrison helped to organize a number of anti-slavery societies. He wrote and lectured on the subject tirelessly. He did not believe in violence. He did not believe in a political solution to the problem. He believed that citizens have an obligation to disobey laws that are unjust. To make his point, he even burned a copy of the Constitution because it failed to end slavery.

When President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Garrison welcomed it. He stopped publishing The Liberator with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, which ended slavery. In the last fourteen years of his life he took up other causes: woman's rights and temperance. He died in 1879.


Contents

Garrison was born on November 19, 1897, in New York City to Lloyd McKim and Alice (Kirkham) Garrison. [1] His great-grandfather was William Lloyd Garrison, the famous American abolitionist, and his grandfather was Wendell Phillips Garrison, who once was literary editor of The Nation (a left-wing magazine of politics and opinion). [1] His father died of typhoid when Garrison was a child, and he was largely raised by his grandfather, Wendell. [2] His grandfather, who knew many Civil War-era abolitionists (Frederick Douglass was a frequent guest in the Garrison home in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and Wendell Garrison knew him personally), regaled young Lloyd with many stories about the great struggles for civil rights and liberties of the 19th century. [2] He graduated from St. Paul's School, a college-preparatory boarding school in New Hampshire. [1] He attended Harvard College, but quit school in 1917 to enlist in the United States Navy after the U.S. entered World War I. [3] He returned to Harvard in 1919, and in 1922 he graduated with a Bachelor's degree from Harvard and a law degree from Harvard Law School. [3]

He married Ellen Jay, a Boston socialite and direct descendant of Founding Father and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay, on June 22, 1921. [4] [5] The couple had three children: Clarinda, Ellen, and Lloyd. [4]

He moved to New York City in 1922, and was recruited by Elihu Root himself to join the prominent firm of Root, Clark, Buckner & Howland. [1] [6] He joined the National Urban League in 1924, after two African American men asked him to be treasurer of the nascent organization. [2] He immediately agreed, and later said that it was this organization which made him aware of the true extent of racial discrimination in the United States. [6] In 1926 he opened his own practice. [3] He investigated "ambulance chasing" and bankruptcy fraud among the city's lawyers on behalf of the New York City Bar Association, and his work became so well known that in 1930 President Herbert Hoover appointed him special assistant to the U.S. Attorney General (where he served on a federal commission investigating bankruptcy fraud nationwide). [3] [6] [7]

Garrison was named Acting Dean of the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1929, and Dean in 1932. [8] As dean, Garrison led efforts to significantly revamp the curriculum, implementing a functionalist approach to the study of law, restructuring the first year to emphasize the origins and development of the American legal system, and creating a number of short courses in current law topics so that students would be prepared for the legal issues they encountered immediately upon graduation. [9] When President Franklin D. Roosevelt abolished the National Labor Board in June 1934 and replaced it with the "first" National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), he appointed Garrison as the Board's first chairman. [10] Although he served on the Board for only four months, Garrison led the Board in deciding Houde Engineering Corp., 1 NLRB 87 (1934), a landmark ruling in American labor law that required employers to bargain exclusively with the representatives elected by a majority of employees. [11] Garrison, however, agreed to serve as the chair only to get the board up and running, and he resigned on October 2, 1934, to resume his position at the University of Wisconsin Law School. [12] He served as president of the Association of American Law Schools for the 1936-1937 term. [13] Roosevelt turned to Garrison again when he established a national mediation board in an (unsuccessful) attempt to quell the Little Steel Strike of 1937. [14] Roosevelt later considered Garrison for the Supreme Court of the United States after Associate Justice Willis Van Devanter resigned on June 2, 1937. [15] [16] Garrison received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1938. [17]

Garrison took a leave of absence again from Wisconsin to serve on the National War Labor Board (NWLB) during World War II. The NWLB was established on January 12, 1942, by President Roosevelt to oversee war-related labor relations for the duration of the war and ensure that war-related production was not disrupted by labor disputes. [18] Initially, Garrison was the War Labor Board's executive director and chief counsel. [19] He was promoted to alternative public member in January 1944. [20] A month later, he was elevated yet again to full public member. [21] In the NWLB's final year of existence, he was its chairman. [22]

Garrison did not return to the University of Wisconsin after the war. Instead, he joined the New York City law firm of Weiss & Wharton (now renamed, after the addition of several partners, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison). [7] [15] Although he primarily practiced corporate law for the rest of his life, Garrison continued to represent high-profile clients in a variety of cases. In 1945, the United States Supreme Court appointed Garrison as a special master in Georgia v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co., 324 U.S. 439 (1945), and his hearings and report formed the basis for the Court's decision two years later in Georgia v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co., 331 US 788 (1947). [23] In the late 1940s, Garrison served as legal counsel to the Field Foundation (created by his friend Marshall Field III from funds he inherited from his father, who founded the Marshall Field's department store) [24] In 1948, Garrison served as a member of the board of directors of a pilot project established by the Foundation to build non-discriminatory low-income housing in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. [24] In 1953, as a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's National Legal Committee, Garrison advised Langston Hughes when Hughes was subpoenaed by Senator Joseph McCarthy to appear before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to testify about communist influences on his writings. [25] [26] That same year, he hired Pauli Murray, one of the first African American lawyers in the country, as an associate at his firm. [27] With John W. Davis, he represented Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer before a panel of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1954. [7] Oppenheimer had met Garrison in April 1953 when Garrison had joined the board of directors of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. [28] Garrison brought Davis in as Oppenheimer's co-counsel. [29] Their defense of Oppenheimer was unsuccessful, however, and Oppenheimer's security clearance was revoked. Along with Joseph L. Rauh, Jr., Garrison also represented playwright Arthur Miller before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1956 and in Miller's fight against his contempt of Congress conviction in 1957. [26] [30] In the 1950s, Garrison was also a supporter of the Highlander Research and Education Center, a liberal leadership training school and cultural center. [31]

Garrison also remained active in areas outside the law after the 1945. From 1947 to 1952 he served as President of the National Urban League. [7] He was a close friend of Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson, and strongly supported Stevenson's campaigns for President of the United States in 1952 and 1956. [6] From 1958 to 1961, Garrison worked closely with Eleanor Roosevelt, Thomas Finletter, and Herbert H. Lehman to break the power of Tammany Hall-backed politician Carmine DeSapio in New York City politics. [6] [32] The efforts of Garrison and the other finally broke Tammany Hall's grip on the city for good: Ed Koch defeated De Sapio by 41 votes in 1963 and by 164 votes in a rematch in 1964, and De Sapio's political career ended. [32] [33] Garrison was a long-time member of the American Civil Liberties Union, and served on its board of directors from the late 1930s until at least 1965. [28] [29] [34] Over the years, he was also a member of the board of trustees for Harvard University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Howard University. [6] While serving on the Howard board, he helped write a report which significantly restructured the school's administrative procedures. [35] He was also a long-time member of the Council of Foreign Relations and the New York City Bar Association. [6]

New York City public school service Edit

From 1961 to 1967, Garrison served on the New York City Board of Education, and was its president from 1965 to 1967. In 1961, the New York State Legislature enacted legislation dissolving the existing New York City Public Schools school board and establishing a new, nine-member "reform" Board of Education. [36] On September 18, 1961, New York City Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. appointed Garrison to be a member of the new board. [37] The Board of Education elected Garrison its president and chair on July 21, 1965. [38]

The 67-year-old Garrison was president of the Board of Education during a time of significant change for New York City public schools. In 1961, teachers in the city schools had struck and won the right to form a labor union, and subsequently they elected the United Federation of Teachers to be its collective bargaining representative. Major corruption scandals had also rocked the school system, and for the first time the schools revealed that the quality of education in the system had slipped badly at the same time that white flight had taken most high-performing middle-class students out of the system while large numbers of educationally disadvantaged minority and immigrant children entered it. [39]

Due to his age and declining health, Garrison retired from the Board of Education in the summer of 1967. [40] The city's new Mayor, John Lindsay, appointed Garrison to a Mayor's Advisory Panel on the Decentralization of the New York City Schools. [41] The Advisory Panel recommended extensive devolution of control over the city's public schools to locally elected neighborhood school boards. One locally controlled board in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville neighborhood began violating the union's contract in order to bring in a new teaching staff. This led to three strikes which engulfed the entire city school system. [42] The devolution experiment ended after the strikes. The result was not unsurprising. Garrison had chaired a highly structured public hearing on devolution in 1966. After a local African American woman attempted to speak (even though she was not the witness list), Garrison ruled her out of order—causing the hearing to dissolve into a near-riot which required police (and for Garrison and the other Board members to scurry out a back door for their own safety). [43]

Environmental law case Edit

Also in the mid-1960s, Garrison was also involved in a landmark court case on environmental law. In May 1963, the Consolidated Edison energy company proposed constructing a hydroelectric power generating station on top of Storm King Mountain, a famous Hudson River valley landmark. [44] The Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference formed to oppose the project. [45] In March 1965, the Federal Power Commission, which had licensing authority over all hydroelectric projects in the United States, granted approval for the project to proceed. [46] The Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference asked the agency to reconsider, based on the significant environmental impact and harm to scenic vistas the project would create, but the agency refused. [47]

The Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference hired Garrison as its attorney, and he quickly filed suit in a federal court of appeals to stop the project. [48] The court of appeals blocked the project on December 29, 1965, but the energy company appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. [49] The Supreme Court refused to hear the case, allowing the injunction against the power plant to stand. [50] The decision in Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference v. Federal Power Commission, 354 F.2d 608 (1965), cert. den'd., 384 US 941 (1966), is a landmark case in American environmental law, because it established for the first time that citizens do not need to show economic harm from a project but have standing to sue merely if the project creates environmental and aesthetic harms. [51]

Garrison remained active in his law firm until the end of his life. He died at his home in Manhattan in New York City of a heart failure on October 2, 1991. [6] He was survived by his wife and three children. [6]

The New York City Bar Association established the Lloyd K. Garrison Student Leadership Program after his death. The program awards internships to about 15 students from alternative New York City high schools each year. [52]


William Lloyd Garrison - History


William Lloyd Garrison

John Brown of Kansas was a militant abolitionist who attempted to use force to free the slaves in the South.

On the night of October 16, 1859, Brown and a small band of followers seized the Federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. The weapons were to be used by his "army of emancipation." They took 60 hostages and held out against the local militia, but were then attacked by U.S. Marines under the command of Col. Robert E. Lee (who would later command the Confederate Armies).

Two of Brown's sons and ten others were killed in the fighting. Brown was wounded and taken prisoner. He was tried by the Commonwealth of Virginia and convicted of treason, murder and inciting slaves to rebellion. He was sentenced to death and hanged on December 2, 1859. On that day in Boston, America's best known Abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison, delivered this highly charged tribute honoring Brown by advocating that the North should secede from the South to end slavery.

God forbid that we should any longer continue the accomplices of thieves and robbers, of men-stealers and women-whippers! We must join together in the name of freedom.

As for the Union--where is it and what is it?

In one-half of it no man can exercise freedom of speech or the press--no man can utter the words of Washington, of Jefferson, of Patrick Henry--except at the peril of his life and Northern men are everywhere hunted and driven from the South if they are supposed to cherish the sentiment of freedom in their bosoms.

We are living under an awful despotism--that of a brutal slave oligarchy. And they threaten to leave us if we do not continue to do their evil work, as we have hitherto done it, and go down in the dust before them!

Would to heaven they would go! It would only be the paupers clearing out from the town, would it not? But, no, they do not mean to go they mean to cling to you, and they mean to subdue you. But will you be subdued?

I tell you our work is the dissolution of this slavery-cursed Union, if we would have a fragment of our liberties left to us! Surely between freemen, who believe in exact justice and impartial liberty, and slaveholders, who are for cleaning down all human rights at a blow, it is not possible there should be any Union whatever. "How can two walk together except they be agreed?"

The slaveholder with his hands dripping in blood--will I make a compact with him? The man who plunders cradles--will I say to him, "Brother, let us walk together in unity?" The man who, to gratify his lust or his anger, scourges woman with the lash till the soil is red with her blood--will I say to him: "Give me your hand let us form a glorious Union?" No, never--never! There can be no union between us: "What concord hath Christ with Belial?" What union has freedom with slavery? Let us tell the inexorable and remorseless tyrants of the South that their conditions hitherto imposed upon us, whereby we are morally responsible for the existence of slavery, are horribly inhuman and wicked, and we cannot carry them out for the sake of their evil company.

By the dissolution of the Union we shall give the finishing blow to the slave system and then God will make it possible for us to form a true, vital, enduring, all-embracing Union, from the Atlantic to the Pacific--one God to be worshipped, one Saviour to be revered, one policy to be carried out--freedom everywhere to all the people, without regard to complexion or race--and the blessing of God resting upon us all! I want to see that glorious day!

Now the South is full of tribulation and terror and despair, going down to irretrievable bankruptcy, and fearing each bush an officer! Would to God it might all pass away like a hideous dream! And how easily it might be!

What is it that God requires of the South to remove every root of bitterness, to allay every fear, to fill her borders with prosperity? But one simple act of justice, without violence and convulsion, without danger and hazard. It is this: "Undo the heavy burdens, break every yoke, and let the oppressed go free!" Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy darkness shall be as the noonday. Then shalt thou call and the Lord shall answer thou shalt cry, and he shall say: "Here I am."

"And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations and thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in."

How simple and how glorious! It is the complete solution of all the difficulties in the case. Oh, that the South may be wise before it is too late, and give heed to the word of the Lord! But, whether she will hear or forbear, let us renew our pledges to the cause of bleeding humanity, and spare no effort to make this truly the land of the free and the refuge of the oppressed!

"Onward, then, ye fearless band,
Heart to heart, and hand to hand
Yours shall be the Christian's stand,
Or the martyr's grave."

William Lloyd Garrison - December 2, 1859

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William Lloyd Garrison, “On the Death of John Brown” (1859)

On December 2, 1859, John Brown was executed by Virginia authorities in Charles Town for his ill-fated raid on the federal armory at Harper’s Ferry. Soon after word of his death reached Boston, William Lloyd Garrison, the leading abolitionist in the United States at the time, gave this stirring tribute to Brown.

God forbid that we should any longer continue the accomplices of thieves and robbers, of men-stealers and women-whippers! We must join together in the name of freedom.

As for the Union–where is it and what is it?

In one-half of it no man can exercise freedom of speech or the press–no man can utter the words of Washington, of Jefferson, of Patrick Henry–except at the peril of his life and Northern men are everywhere hunted and driven from the South if they are supposed to cherish the sentiment of freedom in their bosoms.

We are living under an awful despotism–that of a brutal slave oligarchy. And they threaten to leave us if we do not continue to do their evil work, as we have hitherto done it, and go down in the dust before them!

Would to heaven they would go! It would only be the paupers clearing out from the town, would it not? But, no, they do not mean to go they mean to cling to you, and they mean to subdue you. But will you be subdued?

I tell you our work is the dissolution of this slavery-cursed Union, if we would have a fragment of our liberties left to us! Surely between freemen, who believe in exact justice and impartial liberty, and slaveholders, who are for cleaning down all human rights at a blow, it is not possible there should be any Union whatever. “How can two walk together except they be agreed?”

The slaveholder with his hands dripping in blood–will I make a compact with him? The man who plunders cradles–will I say to him, “Brother, let us walk together in unity?” The man who, to gratify his lust or his anger, scourges woman with the lash till the soil is red with her blood–will I say to him: “Give me your hand let us form a glorious Union?” No, never–never! There can be no union between us: “What concord hath Christ with Belial?” What union has freedom with slavery? Let us tell the inexorable and remorseless tyrants of the South that their conditions hitherto imposed upon us, whereby we are morally responsible for the existence of slavery, are horribly inhuman and wicked, and we cannot carry them out for the sake of their evil company.

By the dissolution of the Union we shall give the finishing blow to the slave system and then God will make it possible for us to form a true, vital, enduring, all-embracing Union, from the Atlantic to the Pacific–one God to be worshipped, one Saviour to be revered, one policy to be carried out–freedom everywhere to all the people, without regard to complexion or race–and the blessing of God resting upon us all! I want to see that glorious day!

Now the South is full of tribulation and terror and despair, going down to irretrievable bankruptcy, and fearing each bush an officer! Would to God it might all pass away like a hideous dream! And how easily it might be!

What is it that God requires of the South to remove every root of bitterness, to allay every fear, to fill her borders with prosperity? But one simple act of justice, without violence and convulsion, without danger and hazard. It is this: “Undo the heavy burdens, break every yoke, and let the oppressed go free!” Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy darkness shall be as the noonday. Then shalt thou call and the Lord shall answer thou shalt cry, and he shall say: “Here I am.”

“And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations and thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.”

How simple and how glorious! It is the complete solution of all the difficulties in the case. Oh, that the South may be wise before it is too late, and give heed to the word of the Lord! But, whether she will hear or forbear, let us renew our pledges to the cause of bleeding humanity, and spare no effort to make this truly the land of the free and the refuge of the oppressed!

“Onward, then, ye fearless band,
Heart to heart, and hand to hand
Yours shall be the Christian’s stand,
Or the martyr’s grave.”


William Lloyd Garrison - History

William Lloyd Garrison’s early life and career famously illustrated this transition toward immediatism . As a young man immersed in the reform culture of antebellum Massachusetts, Garrison had fought slavery in the 1820s by advocating for both black colonization and gradual abolition. Fiery tracts penned by black northerners David Walker and James Forten, however, convinced Garrison that colonization was an inherently racist project and that African Americans possessed a hard-won right to the fruits of American liberty. So, in 1831, he established a newspaper called The Liberator, through which he organized and spearheaded an unprecedented interracial crusade dedicated to promoting immediate emancipation and black citizenship. (2)

The Liberator. Volume VII. 1837. Edited by William Lloyd Garrison. Published by Isaac Knapp, Cornhill, Boston, MassachusettsFigure 6-4: 1837 Liberator Cornhill Boston by William Lloyd Garrison is in the Public Domain .

In Garrison’s first edition of The Liberator he declared:

“I am aware that many object to the severity of my language but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen—but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest—I will not equivocate—I will not excuse—I will not retreat a single inch—AND I WILL BE HEARD.” (14)

White Virginians blamed Garrison for stirring up slaves and instigating slave rebellions like Nat Turner’s.

The same year Garrison started publishing The Liberator he founded the New England Anti-Slavery Society. Two years later, he founded the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS). The AASS rested their mission for immediate emancipation “upon the Declaration of our Independence, and upon the truths of Divine Revelation,” binding their cause to both national and Christian redemption. Abolitionists fought to save slaves and their nation’s soul. (2) By 1838, the AASS had 250,000 members, sometimes called Garrisonians. (11)

In order to spread their arguments against slavery based on moral suasion, abolitionists employed every method of outreach and agitation. At home in the North, abolitionists established hundreds of other antislavery societies and worked with long-standing associations of black activists to establish schools, churches, and voluntary associations. Women and men of all colors were encouraged to associate together in these spaces to combat what they termed “color phobia.”

Harnessing the potential of steam-powered printing and mass communication, abolitionists also blanketed the free states with pamphlets and antislavery newspapers. They blared their arguments from lyceum podiums and broadsides. Prominent individuals such as Wendell Phillips and Angelina Grimké saturated northern media with shame-inducing exposés of northern complicity in the return of fugitive slaves, and white reformers sentimentalized slave narratives that tugged at middle-class heartstrings. Abolitionists used the United States Postal Service in 1835 to inundate southern slaveholders’ with calls to emancipate their slaves in order to save their souls, and, in 1836, they prepared thousands of petitions for Congress as part of the “Great Petition Campaign.” In the six years from 1831 to 1837, abolitionist activities reached dizzying heights.

Such efforts encountered fierce opposition, however, as most Americans did not share abolitionists’ particular brand of nationalism. In fact, abolitionists remained a small, marginalized group detested by most white Americans in both the North and the South. Immediatists were attacked as the harbingers of disunion, rabble-rousers who would stir up sectional tensions and thereby imperil the American experiment of self-government. Particularly troubling to some observers was the public engagement of women as abolitionist speakers and activists. Fearful of disunion and outraged by the interracial nature of abolitionism, northern mobs smashed abolitionist printing presses and inflicted violence on the movement’s leaders. (2)

Garrison nearly lost his life in 1835 when a Boston anti-abolitionist mob dragged him through the city streets. A mob in Illinois killed an abolitionist named Elijah Lovejoy in 1837, and the following year, ten thousand protestors destroyed the abolitionists’ newly built Pennsylvania Hall in Philadelphia, burning it to the ground. (11) White southerners, believing that abolitionists had incited Nat Turner’s rebellion in 1831, aggressively purged antislavery dissent from the region.

Violent harassment threatened abolitionists’ personal safety. In Congress, Whigs and Democrats joined forces in 1836 to pass an unprecedented restriction on freedom of political expression known as the “gag rule,” prohibiting all discussion of abolitionist petitions in the House of Representatives. Two years later, mobs attacked the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, throwing rocks through the windows and burning the newly constructed Pennsylvania Hall to the ground.

In the face of such substantial external opposition, the abolitionist movement began to splinter. In 1839, an ideological schism shook the foundations of organized antislavery. Moral suasionists, led most prominently by William Lloyd Garrison, felt that the United States Constitution was a fundamentally pro-slavery document, and that the present political system was irredeemable. They dedicated their efforts exclusively towards persuading the public to redeem the nation by re-establishing it on antislavery grounds. However, many abolitionists, reeling from the level of entrenched opposition met in the 1830s, began to feel that moral suasion was no longer realistic. Instead, they believed, abolition would have to be effected through existing political processes. So, in 1839, political abolitionists formed the Liberty Party under the leadership of James G. Birney. This new abolitionist society was predicated on the belief that the U.S. Constitution was actually an antislavery document that could be used to abolish the stain of slavery through the national political system.

Another significant shift stemmed from the disappointments of the 1830s. Abolitionists in the 1840s increasingly moved from agendas based on reform to agendas based on resistance. Moral suasionists continued to appeal to hearts and minds, and political abolitionists launched sustained campaigns to bring abolitionist agendas to the ballot box. Meanwhile the entrenched and violent opposition of both slaveholders and the northern public encouraged abolitionists to find other avenues of fighting the slave power. Increasingly, for example, abolitionists focused on helping and protecting runaway slaves, and on establishing international antislavery support networks to help put pressure on the United States to abolish the institution. (2)


William Lloyd Garrison - History bibliographies - in Harvard style

Your Bibliography: Biography, E., 2014. William Lloyd Garrison. [online] Biography. Available at: <https://www.biography.com/writer/william-lloyd-garrison> [Accessed 5 May 2021].

Everbeck, J.

William Lloyd Garrison | Standing Rock Dream Team

2017 - Western Washington University

In-text: (Everbeck, 2017)

Your Bibliography: Everbeck, J., 2017. William Lloyd Garrison | Standing Rock Dream Team. [online] Wp.wwu.edu. Available at: <https://wp.wwu.edu/standingrockdreamteam/william-lloyd-garrison/> [Accessed 6 May 2021].

Finkleman, P.

Garrison's Constitution

2000 - Prologue Magazine

In-text: (Finkleman, 2000)

Your Bibliography: Finkleman, P., 2000. Garrison's Constitution. [online] National Archives. Available at: <https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2000/winter/garrisons-constitution-1.html> [Accessed 6 May 2021].

Garrison, W.

Garrison, William Lloyd (1805-1879) to Ebenezer Dole

1830 - New York

In-text: (Garrison, 1830)

Your Bibliography: Garrison, W., 1830. Garrison, William Lloyd (1805-1879) to Ebenezer Dole. [Letter] The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Gilder Lehrman Collection. New York.

Garrison, W.

Primary Source: William Lloyd Garrison Introduces The Liberator, 1831 | United States History I

1831 - The Liberator

In-text: (Garrison, 1831)

Your Bibliography: Garrison, W., 1831. Primary Source: William Lloyd Garrison Introduces The Liberator, 1831 | United States History I. [online] Courses.lumenlearning.com. Available at: <https://courses.lumenlearning.com/ushistory1os/chapter/primary-source-william-lloyd-garrison-introduces-the-liberator-1831/> [Accessed 14 April 2021].

Garrison, W.

William Lloyd Garrison, 1805-1879, bust portrait, facing left

1835 - Washington D.C

In-text: (Garrison, 1835)

Your Bibliography: Garrison, W., 1835. William Lloyd Garrison, 1805-1879, bust portrait, facing left. [1 print : engraving].

Garrison, W.

Southern hatred of the American government, the people of the North, and free institutions

1862 - Boston

In-text: (Garrison, 1862)

Your Bibliography: Garrison, W., 1862. Southern hatred of the American government, the people of the North, and free institutions. [Pamphlet] Internet Archive, YA Pamphlet Collection (Library of Congress DLC). Boston.

Roark, J. L., Johnson, M. P., Furstenberg, F., Cohen, P. C., Stage, S., Hartmann, S. M. and Igo, S. E.

The American promise

2020 - bedford st. martin's - Boston

In-text: (Roark et al., 2020)

Your Bibliography: Roark, J., Johnson, M., Furstenberg, F., Cohen, P., Stage, S., Hartmann, S. and Igo, S., 2020. The American promise. 8th ed. Boston: bedford st. martin's, p.145.


Happy (Late) Birthday William Lloyd Garrison

Ms. Nash was an HNN intern in the fall/winter of 2006.

Born on December 12, 1805 in Newburyport, MA, Garrison was one of our nation&rsquos leading abolitionists and reformers. He produced the anti-slavery newspaper the Liberator and founded the American Antislavery Society as well. As one of the most outspoken radical abolitionists, he demanded the immediate emancipation of all slaves and rejected America&rsquos constitution because he considered it a pro-slavery document. One of Garrison&rsquos most important contributions to the Abolitionist Movement was his emphasis on the contradiction between the rhetoric of freedom espoused by the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence, on the one hand, and the institution of slavery in America, on the other hand&mdasha paradigm that ultimately helped &ldquoconvince millions of Northerners that slavery was indeed evil and must be eradicated from American life,&rdquo says Bill Rogers, Affiliate Professor of History and Associate Dean of the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies at Drew University and author of &ldquoWe Are All Together Now&rdquo: Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison and the Prophetic Tradition. Additionally, Rogers maintains that Garrison was at the &ldquoheart&rdquo of the Abolitionist Movement because &ldquowhen others faltered, he kept right on writing, speaking, and agitating&mdashthe Liberator never missed an issue in its nearly 35 years of existence.&rdquo

While Garrison earned a name for himself as one of the most outspoken opponents of slavery, he also advocated equal rights for women, in fact he insisted that women be admitted into his Antislavery Society on equal grounds with men even though a majority of the organization&rsquos members opposed the policy. One of Garrison&rsquos most lasting contributions to America&rsquos tradition of dissent was his emphasis on nonviolent, passive resistance. After the abolition of slavery, Garrison continued to be active in other reform movements, including women&rsquos suffrage and temperance. He died in New York City in 1879.

The media&rsquos neglect of Garrison&rsquos bicentennial was brought to HNN&rsquos attention when one reader, in a letter to the editor, complained, &ldquoGarrison has always been out of popular and scholarly fashion. His bicentennial&helliphas gone almost completely unnoticed.&rdquo Perhaps the problem is that even though most Americans today are &lsquoabolitionists&rsquo by any standard, Garrison is, in fact, still portrayed in modern caricature as &lsquoincendiary&rsquo and &lsquofanatic&rsquo (as was the case in his own time). Rogers says Garrison lacked the "nobility of a Frederick Douglass." And he embraced an aggressive evangelical Protestantism that makes him a &ldquoless than popular figure for the modern historian&rdquo (not to mention his anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic prejudices).

The mainstream media&rsquos neglect of Garrison may be due in part to the country's general reluctance to celebrate leftist-radical leaders and the movements they led. As Harriet Alonso (CUNY), the author of Growing Up Abolitionist: The Story of the Garrison Children, points out, &ldquoOur country tends to want to forget that such a tradition exists in our history. How many people do you know who can name leaders of antiwar movements (from the Spanish-American War to the present) or free speech leaders or labor leaders or civil rights leaders outside of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks? Or the women's movement leaders outside of Susan B. Anthony?&rdquo

Alonso also explains, &ldquoGarrison and his &lsquogang&rsquo were very nontraditional. They experimented with health remedies and diet and dress reform. They supported feminism and were against violence. They tended to socialize, court, and marry within the community. So, in some ways, I guess they could be seen as a bit isolated much like utopianists at the time. Today, people (even Garrison's descendants) see Garrison as a stiff-backed religious zealot.&rdquo And, of course, &ldquothere is also the issue of race,&rdquo Alonso maintains. &ldquoThe abolitionist movement was interracial and wildly unpopular during its time.&rdquo

Henry Mayer, the author of All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of American Slavery, asserts that Garrison has faded from Americans&rsquo memories because most have forgotten the &ldquodepth of opposition Garrison encountered&rdquo in 19th-century America. In fact, even though President Lincoln ultimately embraced emancipation, his policy was explosively unpopular and many Union soldiers simply left the field because of it.

Whatever the reason for his neglect, it is a fact. One of the only major public events hosted in Garrison&rsquos honor took place in Boston. That city&rsquos Museum of Afro-American History in conjunction with the Boston Public Library featured two exhibits to celebrate the anniversary of his birth. One explores his career, and the other tells the history of the Liberator. (The museum&rsquos exhibit runs from August to April the library&rsquos exhibit began in August and ended in October.) The museum and library also hosted a number of events to commemorate Garrison's life and his contribution to the Abolitionist Movement, including not only lectures, but also a family reunion (to which Alonso and a few other scholars, including David Blight, were also invited). That event took place this past August and did happen to attract some media attention, including an article in the New York Times.

The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies is also sponsoring a lecture series in honor of Garrison&rsquos bicentennial. The first lecture in the four-part series was given on December 8 (presented by James Brewer Stewart&mdashthe James Wallace Professor of History at Macalester College). The remaining three lectures in the series will take place in February, March, and April.

While some, including Yale&rsquos Gilder Lehrman Center, the Boston Public Library, and Boston&rsquos Museum of Afro-American History, have certainly not neglected Garrison this year at all, it seems that most, and in particular, the popular press, have simply forgotten the life and times of one of this country&rsquos leading abolitionists on his 200th birthday. Perhaps this is alarming given that there is still much to be learned from Garrison and his fellow abolitionists&rsquo legacy, as there is certainly still much to learn from other &ldquoradicals&rdquo in American history.


To The Public

In the month of August, I issued proposals for publishing “THE LIBERATOR” in Washington city but the enterprise, though hailed in different sections of the country, was palsied by public indifference. Since that time, the removal of the Genius of Universal Emancipation. to the Seat of Government has rendered less imperious the establishment of a similar periodical in that quarter.

During my recent tour for the purpose of exciting the minds of the people by a series of discourses on the subject of slavery, every place that I visited gave fresh evidence of the fact, that a greater revolution in public sentiment was to be effected in the free states—and particularly in New-England—than at the south. I found contempt more bitter, opposition more active, detraction more relentless, prejudice more stubborn, and apathy more frozen, than among slave owners themselves. Of course, there were individual exceptions to the contrary. This state of things afflicted, but did not dishearten me. I determined, at every hazard, to lift up the standard of emancipation in the eyes of the nation, within sight of Bunker Hill and in the birth place of liberty. That standard is now unfurled and long may it float, unhurt by the spoliation of time or the missiles of a desperate foe—yea, till every chain be broken, and every bondman set free! Let southern oppressors tremble—let their secret abettors tremble—let their northern apologists tremble-let all the enemies of the persecuted blacks tremble.

I deem the publication of my original Prospectus unnecessary, as it has obtained a wide circulation. The principles therein inculcated will be steadily pursued in this paper, excepting that I shall not array myself as the political partisan of any man. In defending the great cause of human rights, I wish to derive the assistance of all religions and of all parties.

Assenting to the “self-evident truth” maintained in the American Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights—among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” I shall strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave population. In Park-street Church, on the Fourth of July, 1829, in an address on slavery, I unreflectingly assented to the popular but pernicious doctrine of gradual abolition. I seize this opportunity to make a full and unequivocal recantation, and thus publicly to ask pardon of my God, of my country, and of my brethren the poor slaves, for having uttered a sentiment so full of timidity, injustice and absurdity. A similar recantation, from my pen, was published in the Genius of Universal Emancipation at Baltimore, in September, 1829. My con-science is now satisfied.

I am aware, that many object to the severity of my language but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen —but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest—I will not equivocate—I will not excuse—I will not retreat a single inch—AND I WILL BE HEARD. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.

It is pretended, that I am retarding the cause of emancipation by the coarseness of my invective, and the precipitancy of my measures. The charge is not true. On this question my influence, —humble as it is, —is felt at this moment to a considerable extent, and shall be felt in coming years-not perniciously, but beneficially-not as a curse, but as a blessing and posterity will bear testimony that I was right. I desire to thank God, that he enables me to disregard “the fear of man which bringeth a snare,” and to speak his truth in its simplicity and power. And here I close with this fresh dedication:

Oppression! I have seen thee, face to face,
And met thy cruel eye and cloudy brow
But thy soul-withering glance I fear not now—
For dread to prouder feelings doth give place
Of deep abhorrence! Scorning the disgrace
Of slavish knees that at thy footstool bow,
I also kneel—but with far other vow
Do hail thee and thy hord of hirelings base:—
I swear, while life-blood warms my throbbing veins,
Still to oppose and thwart, with heart and hand,
Thy brutalising sway-till Afric’s chains
Are burst, and Freedom rules the rescued land,—
Trampling Oppression and his iron rod:
Such is the vow I take—SO HELP ME GOD!


Watch the video: What to the Slave is 4th of July?: James Earl Jones Reads Frederick Douglasss Historic Speech (January 2022).