“But instead of seeking to know our will, they employ every device that human ingenuity can contrive to prevent us from expressing our opinion. The monarchial trait seems not to have left their blood. They have apparently chosen our race as an empire, and each Anglo-Saxon regards himself as a petty king, and some gang or community of negroes as his subjects.
“Thus our voice is not heard in the General Government. Our kings, the Anglo-Saxons, speak for us, their slaves. In some states we are deprived of our right to vote by frauds, in others by violence, and in yet others by statutory enactment. But in all cases it is most effectually done.
“Burdens may be put upon our shoulders that are weighing us down, but we have no means of protesting. Men who administer the laws may discriminate against us to an outrageous degree, but we have no power to remove or to punish them.
“Like lean, hungry dogs, we must crouch beneath our master’s table and snap eagerly at the crumbs that fall. If in our scramble for these crumbs we make too much noise, we are violently kicked and driven out of doors, where, in the sleet and snow, we must whimper and whine until late the next morning when the cook opens the door and we can then crouch down in the corner of the kitchen.
“Oh! my Comrades, we cannot longer endure our shame and misery!
“We can no longer lay supinely down upon our backs and let oppression dig his iron heel in our upturned pleading face until, perchance, the pity of a bystander may meekly request him to desist.
“Fellow Countrymen, we must be free. The sun that bathes our land in light yet rises and sets upon a race of slaves.
“The question remaining before us, then, is, How we are to obtain this freedom? In olden times, revolutions were effected by the sword and spear. In modern times the ballot has been used for that purpose. But the ballot has been snatched from our hands. The modern implement of revolutions has been denied us. I need not say more. Your minds will lead you to the only gate left open.
“But this much I will say: let not so light, so common, so universal a thing as that which we call death be allowed to frighten you from the path that leads to true liberty and absolute equality. Let that which under any circumstances must come to one and all be no terror to you.
“To the martyr, who perishes in freedom’s cause, death comes with a beauteous smile and with most tender touch. But to the man whose blood is nothing but sour swill; who prefers to stay like fattening swine until pronounced fit for the butcher’s knife; to such, death comes with a most horrifying visage, and seizing the victim with cold and clammy hands hurries with his disgusting load to some far away dumping ground.
“How glad am I that I can glance over this audience and see written upon your faces utter disdain of death.
“In concluding let me say, I congratulate you that after years of suffering and disunion our faces are now all turned toward the golden shores of liberty’s lovely land.