“When in 1619 our forefathers landed on the American shore, the music of welcome with which they were greeted, was the clanking of iron chains ready to fetter them; the crack of the whip to be used to plow furrows in their backs; and the yelp of the blood-hound who was to bury his fangs deep into their flesh, in case they sought for liberty. Such was the music with which the Anglo-Saxon came down to the shore to extend a hearty welcome to the forlorn children of night, brought from a benighted heathen land to a community of Christians!
“The negro was seized and forced to labor hard that the Anglo-Saxon might enjoy rest and ease. While he sat in his cushioned chair, in his luxurious home, and dreamed of the blessedness of freedom, the enforced labor of slaves felled the forest trees, cleared away the rubbish, planted the seed and garnered the ripened grain, receiving therefor no manner of pay, no token of gratitude, no word of coldest thanks.
“That same hammer and anvil that forged the steel sword of the Anglo-Saxon, with which he fought for freedom from England’s yoke, also forged the chain that the Anglo-Saxon used to bind the negro more securely in the thralldom of slavery. For two hundred and forty-four years the Anglo-Saxon imposed upon the hapless, helpless negro, the bondage of abject slavery, robbed him of the just recompense of his unceasing toil, treated him with the utmost cruelty, kept his mind shrouded in the dense fog of ignorance, denied his poor sinful soul access to the healing word of God, and, while the world rolled on to joy and light, the negro was driven cowering and trembling, back, back into the darkest corners of night’s deepest gloom. And when, at last, the negro was allowed to come forth and gaze with the eyes of a freeman on the glories of the sky, even this holy act, the freeing of the negro, was a matter of compulsion and has but little, if anything, in it demanding gratitude, except such gratitude as is due to be given unto God. For the Emancipation Proclamation, as we all know, came not so much as a message of love for the slave as a message of love for the Union; its primary object was to save the Union, its incident, to liberate the slave. Such was the act which brought to a close two hundred and forty-four years of barbarous maltreatment and inhuman oppression! After all these years of unremitting toil, the negro was pushed out into the world without one morsel of food, one cent of money, one foot of land. Naked and unarmed he was pushed forward into a dark cavern and told to beard the lion in his den. In childlike simplicity he undertook the task. Soon the air was filled with his agonizing cries; for the claws and teeth of the lion were ripping open every vein and crushing every bone. In this hour of dire distress the negro lifted up his voice in loud, long piteous wails calling upon those for help at whose instance and partially for whose sake he had dared to encounter the deadly foe. These whilom friends rushed with a loud shout to the cavern’s mouth. But when they saw the fierce eyes of the lion gleaming in the dark and heard his fearful growl, this loud shout suddenly died away into a feeble, cowardly whimper, and these boastful creatures at the crackling of a dry twig turned and scampered away like so many jack-rabbits.