Reconstruction Period Research Forum
Justice to the Negro....NY Times..25 Sep 1880
Two letters printed in response to an invitation to speak at an Emancipation Day Celebration in Findlay, Ohio appeared in the NY Times on the above date. The invitation was extended by Emory W. Adams, a local activist, the son of David Adams, a documented conductor/operator (Siebert Collection), on the Underground Railroad.
JUSTICE TO THE NEGRO
Letters from Gen. Grant and Senator Conkling
The colored people of Ohio and Indiana held a mass-meeting to the number of 10,000 persons in Findlay, Ohio on the 22 inst., and celebrated the seventeenth anniversary of President Lincoln's emancipation proclamation. There was a procession, the Rev. James Poindexter, the Hon John M. Langston and Solomon Day made addresses, and letters from Gen. Grant, Sen Conkling, and others were read.
Gen Grant wrote:
Manitou Springs, Col., Aug 12
Dear Sir: I have your letter inviting me to attend the emancipation celebration to be held at Findlay, Ohio. You must accept my regrets, as I have already more engagements for the month of September than I will be able to keep. Fully sympathizing with the colored people of the United States in their efforts to be worthy citizens of a Republic that, theorectically knows no difference of race, color, or previous condition of its electors, and hoping that the day is not far distant when the word "practically" may be substituted for the word "theorectically", I am, very truly, yours
U. S. Grant
Senator Conkling's letter reads as follows:
Utica, N.Y., Sept., 2 1880
My Dear Sir: I am honored by your invitiation to attend, on the 22 inst., the colored men's celebration of the emancipation of their race. There can be few political occasions I would rather join in. If any men in any land deserve liberty, the protection of their Government, and opportunity, open, fair, free, and equal, it is the men in America who, after long injustice, injury, and oppression earned their citizenship by their moderation and by loyal, heroic service, and by whose character of citizenship is written in the Nation's fundemental law. If there be in this hemisphere any race or class which, more than another, has been denied its rights and exposed to wrong, it is freedmen of America. this is the truth which ought to shame every white man in the United States, and his shame ought to be in proportion to the acts or omissions by which he has aided or suffered such wrongs to be. Your celebration will help, and should help, to bring the facts to light. Do not hesitate to make the truth known. The truth is like a torch; the more it is shaken the brighter it burns. I wish I could be present; possibly I can, but it is improbable. So many things will crowd upon me in the next few weeks that I am little master of my time. In thought and hope and purpose I shall be with you. Cordially, your obedient ROSCOE CONKLING
note: The Rev. John Poindexter, Hon. John M. (Mercer) Langston and Solomon Day were "movers" and "shakers" on the political scene in Ohio following the Civil War and after many years of fighting for the equality of African-Americans during the period of Ohio's Black Codes prior the Civil War.
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