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Posts tagged: slavery

The gold was never coined for which I would barter my individual freedom of acting and thinking upon any subject, or knowingly interfere with the rights of the meanest human being. The only true courage is that which impels us to do right without regard to consequences
Lydia Maria Child (Unitarian, author, reformer) An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans (1836) p.305
Shout, friends of Liberty, aloud!
Shout with a mighty tone!
Sing, angels in the upper world,
A song of Freedom’s own!
Now stripes and bondage are exchanged,
For peace and quiet homes,
Where no slave-driver’s voice is heard,
And never blood-hound comes.
[June 19th is Juneteenth, when the enslaved of Galveston, TX knew they were freed in 1865. Phebe Hanaford wrote this poem for the enslaved who were waiting, at the end of the U.S. Civil War to be freed.]
Phebe Hanaford, “Waiting for the Hour” From Shore to Shore (1871) p.101 (Universalist, reformer, suffragist, clergy)
They wait! yet while we look, the hour
Comes with its blissful freight:
Fling out the Stars and Stripes, a sign
They may no longer wait.
Shout Lincoln’s name with blissful tears,
Pray for him day by day,
And, through all coming time, look back
With joy to “Sixty-three.”
[Written for those still enslaved toward the end of the U.S. Civil War. Let us remember Juneteenth, when 2+1/2 years after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved people in Galveston, TX finally heard of and could claim their freedom.]
Phebe Hanaford, “Waiting for the Hour” From Shore to Shore (1871) p.102 (Universalist, suffragist, reformer, editor, clergy)
Are you for Freedom, or are you for Slavery?
Charles Sumner (Unitarian, lawyer, abolitionist, U.S. Senator)
Where none work but slaves, usefulness becomes degradation.
Lydia Maria Child, An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans (1836) p.30 (Unitarian, author, reformer)
A hundred thousand new-born babes are annually added to the victims of slavery; twenty thousand lives are annually sacrificed on the plantations of the South. Such a sight should send a thrill of horror through the nerves of civilization and impel the heart of humanity to lofty deeds. So it might, if men had no found a fearful alchemy by which this blood can be transformed into gold. Instead of listening to the cry of agony, they listen to the ring of dollars and stoop down to pick up the coin
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, “Could We Trace the Record of Every Human Heart” New York Anti-Slavery Society (1857) (Unitarian, journalist, abolitionist, suffragist, reformer, club-woman)
And the bondman find that the chains are broke,
That no slave breathes our air,
And that in the anthems of the free
The black man’s voice hath share, —
Not the low, deep bass of a gathering storm,
Or the heart-wrung minor tone,
But the glad, free notes of a happy soul,
To whom Freedom’s joys are known.
Phebe Hanaford, “The Live-Oak Tree,” From Shore to Shore (1871) p.97 (Universalist, minister, editor, suffragist)
My cause is the cause of my country and of human liberty…the fulfillment of prophesies that the day shall come when slavery and war shall be banished from the face of the earth.
John Quincy Adams, quoted by Harlow Giles Unger, John Quincy Adams (Unitarian, U.S. President 1825-29, statesman, congressperson, senator)
The money getter, who virtually says let me make money, though I coin it from blood and extract it from tears…in a word all who barter principle for expediency, the true and the right for the available and convenient, are worshipers at the shrine of success.
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (Unitarian, educator, reformer, abolitionist, suffragist) “Our Greatest Want” Anglo-African Magazine June 1859, quoted by¬† Shirley Wilson Logan, 'We Are Coming' The Persuasive Discourse of Nineteenth-Century Black Women (1999) p. 55
Freedom is worth nothing in a country that condones slavery.
Theodore Parker (Unitarian, Transcendentalist, abolitionist, reformer, minister)