Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Friday, July 31, 2009

Martin Luther King and James Russell Lowell: Two Intellectual Giants

"Poetry is something to make us wiser and better, by continually revealing those types of beauty and truth, which God has set in all men's souls."
--James Russell Lowell

Listen up. Today, The Daddy is feeling Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an activist minister and one of the greatest intellectuals of the 20th century. And a brutha is feeling deeply one of Dr. King's favorite, the quotable words and infinite wisdom of poet James Russell Lowell. You may recall that, during what many consider his greatest speech, "It's Time to Break the Silence," delivered in New York City at Riverside Church, Dr. King not only gave an anti-war speech. He made a scathing indictment of U.S. foreign policy. Though Time Magazine called it "demagogic slander" and "a script for Hanoi," Paul Rockwell, a seminary student in New York at the time, said he walked away from the speech feeling "inspired and drenched from the intensity of the event." And as he walked away he could still hear Dr. King reciting the words of Lowell saying, “Though the cause of evil prosper, yet tis truth alone is strong.”

"Once to every man and nation comes a moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth and Falsehood, for the good or evil side,

Some great cause, God's new Messiah offering each the bloom or blight,
And choice goes by forever "twixt that darkeness and the light.
Though the cause of evil prosper, yet 'tis alone is strong.

Though her portions be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong.

Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown
Standeth God with the shadow, keeping watch above his own."

James Russell Lowell
Born on February 22, 1819 in Cambridge, Massachusetts Lowell became an influential figure in 19th-century America. Part of a well-established New England family. he attended Harvard, graduating in 1838 and taking a law degree there in 1840. After the publication of his first volume of poems, "A Year's Life" (1841), he gave up law to devote himself to literature.

After the success of his second volume of poetry in 1844, he married Maria White, an abolitionist, and became an editor of an abolitionist journal called the Pennsylvania Freeman.

Lowell became an established social critic with the publication of the Biglow Papers, which attacked the war with Mexico as an attempt to expand slavery. Lowell served as the editor of the newly-founded Atlantic Monthly from 1874 to 1872 and ambassador to Spain from 1877 to 1880 and England from 1880 to 1885. Lowell died in Cambridge on August 12, 1891.

Lowell and social justice

The fact that Dr. King quoted Lowell liberally should not be surprising. Lowell was well known by social activists from the abolition movement through the civil rights struggle. For example, when the NAACP began its newspaper, it named it the Crisis, after one of Lowell's poems.
In his speech "Our God is Marching On," Dr. King skillfully mixes quotes from Lowell with other famous quotations with which to connect and inspire his audience. And notice how the audience responds to his rhetorical question "How long?"

"I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, (Yes, sir) however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, (No sir) because "truth crushed to earth will rise again." (Yes, sir)

How long? Not long, (Yes, sir) because "no lie can live forever." (Yes, sir)

How long? Not long, (All right. How long) because "you shall reap what you sow." (Yes, sir)

How long? (How long?) Not long: (Not long)

Truth forever on the scaffold, (Speak)

Wrong forever on the throne, (Yes, sir)

Yet that scaffold sways the future, (Yes, sir)

And, behind the dim unknown,

Standeth God within the shadow,

Keeping watch above his own.

How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. (Yes, sir)

How long? Not long, (Not long) because:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; (Yes, sir)

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; (Yes)

He has loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword; (Yes, sir)

His truth is marching on. (Yes, sir)

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; (Speak, sir)

He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat. (That’s right)

O, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant my feet!

Our God is marching on. (Yeah)

Glory, hallelujah! (Yes, sir) Glory, hallelujah! (All right)

Glory, hallelujah! Glory, hallelujah!

His truth is marching on. [Applause]"

Have you heard of the poet James Russell Lowell?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Michael Vick Was Humbled, What About Us?

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."
--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Listen up. Today, The Daddy is feeling Michael Vick, who NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has just "reinstated" into the National Football League. All over the blogosphere, people are talking about what a despicable person Vick is and how this "monster" should not be allowed to play professional football again.

Vick served 23
months for his role in bankrolling a dog fighting operation in Virginia. He served 18 months in the Leavenworth prison in Leavenworth, Texas and the remaining months under house arrest. Under his "reinstatement," Vick will be free to practice with a team and to play the last two games of the preseason, but he will not be able to play the first 6 games of the NFL season.

But here are a few things that need to be understood about Vick's reinstatement. First, to call it a reinstatement is to play with words. Yes, Vick can be selected by a football team to play for them. Yes, Vick can practice with that team. Yes, Vick can even play for the team in the last two pre-season games. However, his "reinstatement" is conditioned on Vick's good behavior as defined by Goodell. So, technically, Vick can practice with a team, play in that team's last two games and still not be allowed to play one regular football game after six weeks. Remember: Goodell said he will reevaluate Vick's status after six weeks.

Second, Vick will not be allowed to play for the first 6 games. In this decision, Goodell is doing two things: (a) He is ensuring that Vick will not become a public relation nightmare for the NFL in the beginning of the season. In other words, he does not want the season to begin with animal right's organization picketing NFL ball games that Vick would be playing in. (b) He is straight up punishing Vick and, by doing so, using him to send a stern message to other NFL players that he will deal with any negative behavior off the field in a harsh manner.

From a public relations point of view, denying Vick the ability to play for the first one or two games makes sense. However, denying him the ability to earn a living for six full games is too punitive. Like him or not, felon or not, Vick still deserves a chance to earn a paycheck and to become a productive citizen of society.

By denying Vick the ability to play for six weeks, by denying him the ability to make a paycheck for six weeks in the work that he (Vick) loves and is good at, Goodell is piling six weeks on top of the 23 months Vick has already served. In effect, Goodell's decision is not a conditional reinstatement so much as a punitive six week suspension.

Vick has been pushed enough. First he served his time in prison (And for those who think that 18 months in prison is not enough, try staying one week in one. You'll change your mind). Vick was once worth 25 million. Now he has nothing. Vick has lost all credibility with NFL, which once viewed him as a marketing gold mine and cash cow. Worst of all, he has lost all credibility with NFL fans, especially youth, who once viewed him as perhaps their greatest hero ever. This is not to play the violin for Vick. In The Daddy's opinion, he deserved it. But it is to say that he has obviously been humbled by this experience. But what about us?

How understanding are we? How empathetic are we? Sure, we are a "Christian" nation, but how forgiving are we? After a person serves the time for a crime, are we so angry, so numb to the plight of a "son of God" as to say, "That monster should never be allowed to play again?"

Are we "Christians" so in love with our animals and yet so filled with hatred in our hearts for fellow human beings that we dare not say, "Every human being deserves a second chance, even a felon?"

Michael Vick was humbled. What about us?

"If One of Us is Homeless, How Bout You?"

"How many people are homeless?

The number of homeless is difficult to ascertain because estimates vary depending on the methodology used. Numbers also vary substantially depending on whether a measurement is taken on a single night or is extrapolated to a given year...One approximation of the annual number of homeless in America is from a study done by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, which estimates between 2.3 and 3.5 million people experience homelessness. According to a study released this month by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, an estimated 744,313 people experienced homelessness in one night in January 2005. Some 56 percent of them were living in shelters and transitional housing and, 44 percent were unsheltered.

Listen up. A few years back, The Daddy used to volunteer with a non-profit agency that fed and clothed the homeless in Minneapolis. It was a good thing to see people of various cultures (mostly Europeans, African Americans and Native Americans) working together to provide the homeless with coats, blankets, gloves, food and friendly conversation."

The uniqueness of this program was that the homeless didn't come to us; we went where they were known to gather. One such place was under a bridge near a school called DeLaSalle, a Catholic high school near downtown Minneapolis.

The Daddy and several others would go under this dark bridge and bring food, blankets and gloves (when we could guilt-trip some stores like Target or Marshalls to give them to us or sell them at half price).

Homeless Joe

On this particular Saturday evening, it was very cold. Some of the people huddled close to each other to stay warm. While passing out blankets, The Daddy came across Joe, a tall, good looking middle-aged guy with dirt on his face and various types of oily substance on his green army jacket (Grease from hamburgers maybe). He reminded me of a Cary Grant but wearing a five o'clock shadow, dirty jeans and muddied boots.

After warming up to a thick blanket and two cigarette, he told me his story. He came back from Vietnam to his farm in Ames, Iowa. He tried to run the farm for a few years but lost it to the bank and creditors and had been riding the rails ever since. He said he gets headaches and nightmares, but sometimes a drink gets rid of the headaches.

The Daddy liked this Joe dude. For one thing, he didn't give me some sob story to try and get money. In fact, he spoke with a low, even tone, and he understated his personal dilemma (Maybe he did so to cushion the blow from the loss of a big family farm to riding the railroad). That's why The Daddy came back the next night and brought him some thick mittens, dry socks, a sweater and cigarettes.

The Daddy tried to capture this midwesterner's understated tone and speech pattern in a poem called "If One of Us is Homeless, How Bout You?"

If One of Us Is Homeless
How Bout You?

I ain't saying some dry gloves wouldn't
Keep this old body warm.
This pair here is a might damp, a tad numb.

I ain't saying I've fallen on hard times since
I got back Nam and lost my farm, but
I guess me and the bank crossed wires, and I ran out of luck.
And now some other place just don't warm me up.

I'm searching like everybody else for a reason to believe, the
Courage to hope- to jump for good these screeching trains crying
Madness, miss-my-farm sadness above train tracks endless, cold
Boxcar trembling past damp cardboard beneath the bridges.

I'm needing the same as city people: a heavy coat around
My shoulders, warm gloves around my fingers, and Somebody to
Believe this ole rail rider ain't no drunk, no Stillwater prisoner but
An Ames, Iowa farmer who fell on hard luck.

I’m hoping city people will look past these muddied boots, torned
rags, this Goodwill bag and see an old farmer with dim-lit eyes but
still a dream or two.

I'm asking, "If one of us is homeless, how bout you?"

Do you know anyone that's homeless in your community?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

They Went to War for Us. Have We Forgotten Them?

"The best book I've ever read about America after 9/11 isn't about America or 9/11. It's "War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning," an essay on the psychology of war by Chris Hedges, a veteran war correspondent...War, Mr. Hedges says, plays to some fundamental urges. "Lurking beneath the surface of every society, including ours is the passionate yearning for a nationalist cause that exalts us, the kind that war alone is able to deliver."
--Paul Krugman on "War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning."

Listen up. Today, The Daddy is feeling all the soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Daddy knows: The Prez has made plans to withdraw our soldiers from this ill-begotten, illegal and reckless war. Yes, he has set a plan to have them all out in a year or so. And, yes, our soldiers have been told to pull back from the major cities like Baghdad and let the Iraqis do what they should have had the courage to do in the beginning: lead the fight for their own country. Still, our brave soldiers are dying there. Between discussions about the cause of Michael Jackson's death, who is going to get all the money from his estate, between speculations about who the new American Idol will be or whether Brad Pitt and Angela Jolie are breaking up, does anybody still care about our soldiers?

Have we gotten so tired of the Iraq and the Afghanistan war that we've forgotten that our soldiers that living human beings, our neighbors, our sons and daughters for Chris sake, are still fighting and dying in one war (Iraq) we never should have gotten into in the first place and another (Afghanistan) where it seems we started fighting in too late and where it's becoming increasingly a mystery as to why we are there (since the generals say it's unwinable militarily and since the people themselves seem to have no interest in us building a political infrastructure for them. They believe they already have one within their various tribes). The point here is that, however illegal or questionable, both wars continue unabated, yet our soldiers continue to fight bravely and therefore should not be forgotten. In fact, whether we are at work or on summer vacation, we should hold and keep them in the center of our heart. But what else should we do? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Simply refuse to listen to any of the politicians or pundits who cheer-leaded us into the Iraq war. This includes both spineless Democratic and Republican politicians who, except for Senator Bird of Virgina and few others, didn't ask questions or call for debate on the house or senate floor.

This includes not only present Republican leaders like Senators McCain of Arizona, Graham from South Carolina, Sessions of Alabama, and McConnell of Kentucky, but democrats like then Senator Clinton from New York and Senator Specter from Pennsylvania.

This includes all tv hosts and pundits of the Fox News channel with the possible exception of Juan Williams and tv hosts from MSNBC except Keith Olberman, Eugene Robinson, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schulz. It also includes pundits from CNN, another corporate network which cheeleaded our invasion and occupation of Iraq. Forget these networks and sellouts and look to more independent sources.

2. Support Iraqi and Afghanistan Veterans Association (IAVA). It's a great veteran's organization. Look to them to find out ways to support our soldiers not only while they are at war but when they come home.

3. Read up on the war in Afghanistan. Apparently, the U.S. is making some of the same military and political mistakes the Soviet Union made before they were defeated there. Read independent outlets with quality reporters and experts on war, such TruthDig and Common Dreams. For example, Chris Hedges, former New York Times reporter, was a war correspondent for a long time. He also wrote "War is a Force That Gives Us meaning," a book about war and politics which provided perhaps the best explanation as to why former President Bush was reelected: because the American people did not want to go against their president during a time of war.

4. Read "War Without Purpose," Chris Hedges most recent piece on our war in Afghanistan in Truthdig ( In the piece, among other things, he states:

"The war will not halt the attacks of Islamic radicals. Terrorist and insurgent groups are not conventional forces. They do not play by the rules of warfare our commanders have drilled into them in war colleges and service academies. And these underground groups are protean, changing shape and color as they drift from one failed state to the next, plan a terrorist attack and then fade back into the shadows. We are fighting with the wrong tools. We are fighting the wrong people. We are on the wrong side of history. And we will be defeated in Afghanistan as we will be in Iraq."

5. Read Scott Ritter, a former marine and chief weapons inspector. You may recall that he was part of a United Nations weapons commission team that was searching for weapons when Bush decided to bomb Iraq. He said Bush should have been given inspectors more time to search for weapons. His book, "Endgame," not only talks about what's wrong with U.S. foreign policy in the Persian gulf. It also provides alternative polices and approaches to working specific countries in the region, especially Iraq.

Ritter has written several other really good books about foreign policy:
*. “Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story of the Intelligence Conspiracy to Undermine the UN and Overthrow Saddam Hussein;”
* “Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change” and
* “Waging Peace: The Art of War for the Antiwar Movement.”

Like him or not, Ritter speaks the truth.

6. Remember the fallen soldiers in your local community. Learn their stories and share it with your kids and grand kids. They need genuine heroes. But these stories will also remind you that these soldiers were men and women-- will real human beings-- with hopes and dreams just like the rest of us. They just decided to serve their country.

One such person in The Daddy's community was Spc. Carlos Wilcox IV. Here's what an NCO had to say about him in Sunday's Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Photo by Associated Press - Ap
Spc. Carlos E. Wilcox IV

"It was with great dismay and horror that I learned of the death of SPC Carlos Wilcox and two of his fellow soldiers last week. I had the privilege of serving with SPC Wilcox during 2006-2007 while he was still assigned with the 204th Area Support Medical Company as a medic.

It struck me as I read the paper that very little is said about the lives of our fallen warriors and the impact that they make in the lives of others. I want to share a little part of his story.

As an NCO in the company, I was impressed with Carlos from the beginning. He was competent, caring and professional. He had a smile that could light up a room and a sense of humor that could bring the house down. He was especially well known for his Chuck Norris jokes.

While the relationships between lower enlisted men and women and their sergeants is a professional one, I found in him a good friend and someone who I would want to have near me in combat. There is no higher praise among soldiers...

I have lost a comrade, friend and brother. America has lost one of its finest.


To praraphrase Krugman, our soldiers took us the nationalist cause for America and went to war in Iran and Afghanistan. Have we forgotten them?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Cops and The Daddy: A Meeting of Minds and Hearts

"What is Community Policing?
Community policing is many things to many people. It is a problem-solving partnership between the police and the community that is incorporated throughout a police department's culture and operations. Community officers and neighbors become jointly responsible not just to catch criminals but to help wipe away the community decay that fosters crime. It is the belief that neighbors know their community best, just as beat officers know their beats best, and that the neighbors and officers must work together to share solutions."
--New Haven police brochure

Listen up. While on vacation, The Daddy had dinner with a group of cops. They invited a brutha to dinner to thank him for the work he had done as Manager of Security of a large public housing complex called The Minneapolis Housing Authority.

Of course we discussed The Prez's press conference in which he said the Cambridge police department acted "stupidly" by arresting a world-renown scholar, after he (the scholar, Dr. Gates) had shown a police officer his ID indicating that he was not a burglar but a guy in his own home. But the discussion quickly turned into broader frames of references, namely black community-law enforcement relations.

They said that not only the black community but the city at large has no idea of the stress that cops go through in a day's work. One gave domestic violence was an example and several chimed in.
They said each domestic violence call can be dangerous, Each situation is different. Each situation is unpredictable. The guy who just slapped his wife around could be holding up in the house with a gun in his hand just waiting for a knock on the door. On the other hand, he could already be gone. He said cops, knowing the potential danger, have to be ready. They said that, in these situations, cops don't have time to diplomatic and friendly to neighbors. It's all business.

They said the same is true when they stop a car, especially at night. You just don't know what will transpire, especially in violent neighborhoods. They have to be ready, including being ready to fire their gun.

They also talked about how being a cop is a thankless job and how this is true in the suburbs as well as in the inner-cities. They said that, since police have to operate under a smaller budgets, they have fewer cops on patrol to assist residents and few investigators. So basically, cops don't deal with, say, drugs in a neighborhood, unless those neighbors yell and scream at the head of the police precinct or elected to do something about it.

Another perspective

The Daddy said that, from the black community's point of view, all they see is an occasional cop rolling past them usually with people in it who don't look like them, who don't live in their neighborhood, and who are scowling at them like they want to stop the car, pull out a gun, handcuff them, and kick their ass. All they see are cops showing up long AFTER someone has been robbed or killed, long AFTER a home has been broken into, looking disinterested and unmotivated to find out who did it.

On weekends, all they see is the occasional blinking of lights where cops are either searching for thugs or have killed a neighbor, thug or not. They see and hear cops being very aggressive, yelling at people to get face down on the ground or calling people names. In other words, they see cops more as a kind of gestapo militia than their protectors.

The Daddy said the community needs to see cops get out of their patrol cars, walk the streets, visit the businesses. They need to see cops speaking to them in a respectful manner, calling them by their first names. They need to listen to people complain about their backaches and rheumatism, because, after that, they'll tell them where the most recent drug house is and the new neighbors with a lot of cars pulling up front and driving around to the back. In other words, they need community policing, not police containment.

A meeting of minds and hearts

And what did The Daddy say community policing for!!! As soon as he said it, all the cops around the table began to smile and tell stories. They said that, when they were growing up, they saw community policing all the time. Cops walked a beat, stopped and chatted with them and rubbed their heads. Several cops said that, in the neighborhood in St. Paul, where they grew up, cops always stopped and talked with business owners. Another said his dad, who was a cop, practiced community policing before the term was invented.

The Daddy told them how, when he was late for school, cops would either walk him to school or ride him in there in their squad car. They would squeeze his ear real hard and promise to arrest him next time he was late. And they weren't hearing a brutha's lame excuse that he was late because he had a lot of sisters, and they wouldn't let him into the bathroom. "So get up earlier! Don't let me see you late tomorrow!" He admitted that he hated their asses at the time but understands the wisdom of their behavior and community policing now.

In addition to community policing, The Daddy and the officers agreed that both black communities and the police need to find ways of getting to better know one another. One said, "If the community really knew the stress involved in their work, they would be less inclined to think negatively of them or let their kids call them names." The Daddy said that, regardless of funding levels, cops need to find a better way of working with black communities. Deep down, they need each other.

Do you think relations between black communities and law enforcement can be improved?

1. The Politics of Community Policing
: Rearranging the Power to Punish by William Lyones
2. Spirit of Community: The Reinvention of American Society by Amitai Etzioni

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cops Take The Daddy to Dinner

Can The Daddy kick it like the wicked Wilson Pickett ("I'm a midnight mover!")? But don't make a brutha rub it, spank it and bank it like Sweet Sweetback in the sack just back from a 7-year stint at the ghetto-pen fasttrack otherwise known as "the man's plantation." Don't make him do it! Slow that roll! Check yo'self. And check this.

While on vacation, several groups of friends took the opportunity to take him to dinner. One group was a bunch of Minneapolis police officers. You see, The Daddy used to be the Security Manager of Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA), a semi-federal agency with a large number of highrises and family developments. MPHA purchased 15 or so officers from the city of Minneapolis to work exclusively in public housing to look out for its residents, many of whom are older women and children. These officers hadn't seen a brutha in a long time; so they took him to a fancy Japanese restaurant with lots of raw food and saki.

The Daddy took a few bites of the raw food and almost threw up. But he more than made up for it with that saki, a drink which threatens to supersede New Zealand white wine as his addiction of choice.
But here's the thing: Rightly or wrongly, The Daddy has never felt comfortable around police officers. It may have something to do with the fact that, when he worked with gangs, they sometimes stopped him, harassed him, tried to intimidate him, even called him names like "niggah," "monkey" or "coon."

It may have something to do with the fact that often he was stopped in the surrounding suburbs and asked for his ID. Oh, they were professional enough, but a brutha could barely conceal his anger about the fact that they would never give him a reason he was being stopped (And The Daddy used to teach Anger Management classes). Actually, he knew, but he asked anyway. The Daddy drove a new SUV Explorer at the time, and it was like:

"Nigga, how did you get that nice car?"

"Nigga, what are you doing in a nice, white neighborhood like this? Are you a drug dealer, boy?"

And even though he used to be their boss, had invited him to dinner to say thanks for hiring them and treating them fairly, had complimented him as "...A straight shooter," a brutha wasn't feeling these cops either.

Out of the 15 or so officers, most were African American males. But about a third were white, female and male. Many had worked in Internal Affairs department and had gotten a reputation for calling some of their own on the carpet for thumping (beating up on people) or being overzealous with drunks hanging on Hennepin Avenue, First Avenue and other main streets downtown after a Viking's football or Timberwolve's basketball games.
These are good officers. They take serving the public seriously. They just wanted to take a brutha to dinner and show him some love.

Still, The Daddy felt uncomfortable. For one thing, whether they showed it or not, each one had a piece on them. Everybody was packing heat but The Daddy. He only had some cold, raw fish and two or three small, empty saki glasses to throw at somebody. The Daddy felt naked and a little... small (if you know what a brutha means); and he kept looking under the table between his legs for his manhood.

After dinner, outside the sushi bar, every cop gave The Daddy a hug the way we bruthas do it. And, as he drove away to get a cheeseburger from a White Castle up the street (love them smothered onions on top of the hamburger), he couldn't help but smile at the fact that he had renewed genuine friendships with a group of decent people. Unfortunately, he also confirmed the notion that the only person with a hang up about it was him. But three sliders and two glasses of wine later, a brutha was still feeling naked and a little small.

Do you have a friend who happens to be a police officer?

Do you feel comfortable around him or her?

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Black Weblog Awards: Put One Down for The Daddy

My site was nominated for a Black Weblog Award!

Listen up. The Daddy is interrupting his vacation to talk to you. DaddyBstrong has been nominated for an award in 4 categories: best culture blog, best writing blog, best new blog, and blog of the year.

The Daddy is asking for your vote. The voting began on June 20th and will end on July 25. So The Daddy is writing this post, because it's getting kind of late.

The Daddy believes that daddyBstrong deserves your vote and here's a few reasons why:

First, The Daddy works hard to write quality posts not only on the current affairs of the day but meaningful posts almost every day.

Second, The Daddy writes the posts in such a way as to elicit and promote responses from you, the reader.

Third, The Daddy has written several educational series. One was on the Kwanzaa holiday throughout the seven Days of Kwanzaa. Another was on poets, especially people's poets like Walt Whitman, June Jordan, Langston Hughes, and Wanda Coleman. He did another on how to handle crises during these stressful times. He even did a series on the financial crisis.
Fourth, you, the reader, consistently write quality responses to each posts. In fact, some of the responses are not from something The Daddy said but to other responders as well.

This not only makes good conversation. It also makes the blog more like a collective blog, a blog of both The Daddy and readers, and not just a personal blog of The Daddy. This is as it should be.

So The Daddy is asking you to go ahead and put one down for daddyBstrong. It would really be a vote for you as well.

To vote, click on the Weblog Award poster and you'll be on your way.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Welcome, President Obama...Ghana Adores You!"

Listen up. The Prez just finished a trip to Ghana, where he made a speech to the Parliament in Accra. As U.S. president and an African son, The Prez beamed with pride as he met Ghanaians. He also challenged them to shed corruption and conflict and fight for peace. Then, playing off his favorite presidential campaign slogan, he said, "Yes you can."

"I say this" he continued, "knowing full well the tragic past that has sometimes haunted this part of the world. I have the blood of Africa within me."

Then he and his family toured Cape Coast Castle, a slave fortress which held shackled Africans in filthy dungeons to be shipped off into slavery. Later, The Prez said:

"As painful as it is, I think that it helps to teach all of us that we have to do what we can to fight against the kinds of evils that sadly still exist in our world, not just on this continent but in every corner of the globe...There's a special sense that, on the one hand, this place was a place of profound sadness. On the other hand, it is here where the journey of much of the African-American experience began."

The Prez said he hoped the tour would show his daughters how history can take a cruel turn but, on the other hand, how African Americans and others fought slavery and won.

The people of Ghana seemed to love The Prez. Billboards along the motorcade route said, "Ghana Adores You!" and "Welcome President Obama." One especially ecstatic Ghanaian, a taxi driver, said, "I am proud to be a Ghanaian today because President Obama has made us proud." Another Ghanaian, Juliana Owusu, said, "I am wearing my Obama T-shirt to show how proud I am to be living in a country that President Obama has chosen to visit. I feel like I am a sister to him. "

Saturday, July 11, 2009

President Obama: Americans need jobs, jobs, jobs

Listen up. Today, The Daddy is feeling Bob Herbert and his column suggesting that Obama should do a second stimulus package focusing on jobs. The Daddy agrees. But we should also be fair in our criticism or feedback about the Obama administration's economic recovery plan.

Originally, the Obama administration tried to provide up to a 100 billion more in initiat
ives that would have provided jobs, but it was criticized by Republicans like Senators Lindsey Graham and McConnell as too expensive and providing too little tax cuts, which is their political answer to just about everything under the son. So the final version was really a "bi-partisan" plan, a compromise between well-intentioned democrats and recalcitrant Republicans who seem to want the Obama administration to fail anyway.

That notwithstanding, the Obama adinis
tration-- instead of waiting for the so-called stimulus to work-- should redirect monies from the first recovery plan to initiatives that would provide jobs, all kinds of jobs. As has been stated on this post, monies focused on handling the foreclosure mess and creating jobs (putting money in the hands of workers) is the best way to get the economy back on track, as opposed to focusing on putting money into banks and insurance companies like AIG.

As Herbert states, all additional funding from now on should be about getting people jobs. Here is the article:
The Human Equation
by Bob Herbert
July 11, 2009

Bob Herbert

Vice President Joe Biden told us this week that the Obama administra
tion “misread how bad the economy was” in the immediate aftermath of the inauguration.

Bob Herbert

Puh-leeze. Mr. Biden and President Obama won the election because the economy was cratering so badly there were fears we might be entering another depression. No one understood that better than the two of them. Mr. Obama tried to clean up the vice president’s remarks by saying his team hadn’t misread what was happening, but rather “we had incomplete information.”

That doesn’t hold water, either. The president has got the second coming of the best and the brightest working for him down there in Washington (think of Larry Summers as the latter-day Robert McNamara), and they’re crunching numbers every which way they can. They’ve got more than enough data. They understand the theories and the formulas as well as anyone. But they’re not coming up with the right answers because they’re missing the same thing that McNamara and his fellow technocrats were missing back in the 1960s: the human equation.

The crisis staring America in its face and threatening to bring it to its knees is unemployment. Joblessness. Why it is taking so long — seemingly forever — for our government officials to recognize the scope of this crisis and confront it directly is beyond me.

There are now five unemployed workers for every job opening in the U.S. The official unemployment rate is 9.5 percent, but that doesn’t begin to tell the true story of the economic suffering. The roof is caving in on struggling American families that have already seen the value of their homes and retirement accounts put to the torch.

At the present rate, upwards of seven million homes can be expected to fall into foreclosure this year and next. Welfare rolls are rising, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal. The National Employment Law Project has pointed out that hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers will begin losing their jobless benefits, just about the only thing keeping them above water, by the end of the summer.

Virtually all of the job growth since the start of the 21st century (which was nothing to crow about) has vanished. If you include the men and women who are now working part time but would like to work full time, and those who have become so discouraged that they’ve stopped actively searching for work, you’ll find that 16.5 percent of Americans are jobless or underemployed. Nearly everyone who is fortunate enough to have a job has a spouse or a parent or an in-law or a close friend who is desperate for employment.

Anyone who believes that the Obama stimulus package will turn this jobs crisis around is deluded. It was too small, too weakened by tax cuts and not nearly focused enough on creating jobs. It’s like trying to turn a battleship around with a canoe. Even if it were working perfectly, the stimulus would not come close to stemming the cascade of joblessness unleashed by this megarecession.

For the full story, click here:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

where i live: a poem from The Daddy

Eric Sheptock

“My next blog [post] is going to be about the challenges that homeless people have when it comes to employment because oftentimes they can’t get money to ride the bus to the job and they can’t get lunch money. So for your first week or two, you have a lot of difficulty maintaining that job.”
--Eric Sheptock, a homeless black man who uses twitter, facebook and other online networks to educate about poverty and homelessness.

Listen up. The Daddy grew up in the South. He lived in projects and old houses in essentially black neighborhoods in the inner-cities. When he was about ten, he lived about a block from a hospital. Blacks in the neighborhood didn't trust the doctors, nurses and staff who worked there and only went there in the event of an emergency. The women said they were "fixed;" their "tubes were tied" so they couldn't have children again. The men said they weren't given proper care, and they treated rudely. However, the older men, drunks, and addicts would sit on benches just off the front entrance, drinking cheap liquor, nodding, or sleeping.

The Daddy thought about this hospital which was in his neighborhood but was no part of the neighborhood-- this hospital which, except for a few janitors and cleaning ladies, was staffed totally by white people at the time. He thought about the older black men occupying benches below administrative offices peopled by young white males (No blacks, no females) who were literally climbing up escalators of success. Then he wrote this poem entitled "where i live."

where i live

where i live
vicious dogs bark loudly at
smiling couples strolling past then
crawl meekly back under the house when
alpha owner buses home at the end of day.

where i live
homeless men with stomachs empty and coats rain-soaked
medicate aching backs, stained teeth and tired bones
with swigs of red Gallos straight from a dirt-stained box while
averting eyes from Gradys, which won't help unless
they drink themselves a minute closer to death.

where i live
phrases like "quality care" and "community health" flow like
red Gallos from empty suits high up escalators as
neighbors just below sit on weather-beaten
averting their eyes from Gradys, retreating into
Gallo boxes, lifting
their heads to an ever darkening sky but
seeing nothing in particular.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson: The Daddy's Final Thoughts

"I was a veteran, before I was a teenager."
--Michael Jackson

Listen up. Before Michael Jackson is laid to rest, before the casket is closed and let down into a six-foot hole, The Daddy wants to say a few things about parenting and say goodbye.

Much has been said about how cute Michael was as a child; but how, as a young adult, he seemed to regress into little more than a child, reveling in playing with kids in early adolescence, petting giraffes and snakes; how he sliced his nose and other parts of his face and whitened up his body out of self-hatred. But little, or not enough, has been said of the parenting he received that made him feel even more inferior than white society conditions African Americans to feel in the first place-- parenting that made him feel his nose was too big, his skin too black, his temperament too soft (You know: Boys gotta grow up to be tough!), too sensitive.

The Daddy is thinking that, when it comes to parenting, most parents know the drill: make children feel safe, loved, and special. This is part of the process of being a parent. But mock children, call them negative names and you'll destroy their confidence and make them feel too insecure, too vulnerable to interact positively with their own peers and mature.

This is what the Jackson parents did to Michael. They made him feel ugly and stupid as they honed and parlayed his amazing singing and dancing talent as the lead Jackson Five into a fat paycheck.They may have intended to parent with tough love: to make him a solid, professional performer. Father Joe Jackson may have intended to "toughen him up" and make him a man. Well, they may helped him to become the consumate performer, but they also set him up to become and remain a permanent child, a state where he is loved by children and teenagers but ridiculed by many adults, including the media, that is, until they saw in his death an opportunity to exploit him again to increase tv ratings.

The Daddy's heart is saddened by Michael's death. But more than that, he is chilled that his parents could insult his intelligence by entertaining the illusion that they were good parents to Michael and now seek to parent Michael's children.
Diana Ross, take the children please.

Dear Michael: The Daddy knows that, by now, you're sick of a hypocritical corporate media's exploitation of your death, but you'll be safe and protected in your new home soon. There, neither the media or your father will be able to hurt you again.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Please Ask! Do Tell: The Execution of a Black Gay Sailor

Listen up. The Daddy knows you love Michael Jackson, but did you hear about August Provost III? A brotha knows the corporate media aims to keep you glued to your television watching all things Michael, but did you know that a terrible, gruesome crime was committed, a crime so awful that humanity can no longer remain silent but must cry out in pain and anger? This is not about death as a result of drug use by one person. This is a crime by a man, or several men, against not just one man; this is a hate crime, a crime against humanity.

But it gets worst. August Provost died from a hate crime; and now his soul is left to cry out again and again from his fresh grave, because the armed forces continues to cover up this hate crime and its long-time failure to protect its soldiers from members within its own ranks.

Read this story and tell The Daddy if it doesn't make you angry-- if it doesn't make you want to demand that President Obama get rid of former President Bill Clinton's sexist and silly Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) policy, begin an independent investigation of Provost's murder, develop and enforce stronger policies against hate crimes against gays and women in the military.

PLEASE ASK! DO TELL!: The Execution of a Black Gay Sailor
by Corey Jarrell
July 4, 2009

This story has gotten all down on the inside of me and made me sick! I want to regurgitate! I'm looking for the cure! But as vile and disgusting as it is, I just haven't been able to let go of it! If it weren't for Rod McCullom's consistent reporting of this story over at Rodonline Navy: There is "No Evidence to Suspect Hate Crime" in Torture and Killing of Black, Gay Sailor, I don't think I'd know about it at all. Maybe you haven't heard it either? I think it should be all over the net by now, and I feel it's now my duty to help spread the word. Somebody over there said "OH..HELL..NO! IT'S TIME FOR SOME ACTION". I feel the exact same way.

24145GOOD AUGUST Last Tuesday, 29 year-old Houston TX native, and U.S. Navy Seaman, August Provost III was found dead in a guard shack on the western edge of the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego, CA. He had been shot three times, his mouth was gagged, his hands and feet were bound, and his body burned. Brother Provost enlisted in the U.S. Navy in March of 2008, and was a boatswain mate seaman who worked on hovercrafts. He was also a somewhat openly gay man serving under the archaic, dehumanizing U.S. military policy of Don't Ask! Don't Tell! (DADT). Open about his sexuality on both his Facebook account, as well as his Myspace page, he also had a boyfriend that he referred to as "the love of my life". Immediately after joining the service last year, he was faced with anti-gay harassment from fellow servicemen that lasted up to the time of his torture and murder. Provost's boyfriend, identified as Kaether Cordero, has since indicated that those who became friends with his partner would know of his sexuality, because Provost would "trust" them with that information.

When this story broke last week, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service had taken a "person of interest" in custody in connection with the case, but charges had not been filed. And charges will not be filed! That person of interest has since been released, and they now have someone else they're holding...yet another fellow marine that they're now interested in. Wow! That was quick! Especially since, in the interim, that same investigative committee has since issued a statement that says August Provost's death was "a random act unrelated to his sexuality" and that "there is no evidence or information that suggests this is a hate crime". I'm wondering exactly how many "persons of interest" did it take to stuff his mouth so he couldn't scream? Exactly how many interested parties did it take to hold his hands behind his back, while someone else tied his feet together? Did the smell of burning flesh make them as physically ill as they are mentally ill, or did they not stick around to watch that part? For someone whose claims of harassment that (supposedly) cannot be proven, and who met a tragic end so "randomly", there sure doesn't seem to be a shortage of "suspects".

For the full story, click here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Frederick Douglass: The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro

Listen up. Two days ago, The Daddy posted on Frederick Douglass' Fourth of July speech. He quoted from the passage where Douglass clearly indicts the United States for holding human beings as slaves and for being one of the most violent and immoral countries in the world. He received emails from friends questioning why he should post this passage during a holiday weekend. It was too negative, they said. Americans views have changed. And besides, we have a black man as president of the United States.

Well, Douglass' indictment was negative. Does that mean it shouldn't be heard? I don't think so. Yes, some attitudes have changed and the fact that we have an African American as president of this country indicates that. But does that fact mean that racist ideology no longer exists or is not pertinent in this country more than 157 years after this speech? I don't think so. The Daddy believes it is important to know that these ideas have been analyzed, debated and discussed for years; and knowing these sources and the arguments they provide can help us to better understand where we have come as a nation and what we must do to move forward in the future. You know there is something about that idea that people who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it.

At any rate, rather than a passage, The Daddy is presenting the entire speech here. You can make up your own minds as to whether Douglass' indictment still has some relevance today. Here is the speech.

The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro
by Frederick Douglass
Rochester, New York, July 5, 1852

Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens:

He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me quite unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. I know that apologies of this sort are generally considered flat and unmeaning. I trust, however, that mine will not be so considered. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country school houses, avails me nothing on the present occasion.

The papers and placards say that I am to deliver a Fourth of July Oration. This certainly sounds large, and out of the common way, for me. It is true that I have often had the privilege to speak in this beautiful Hall, and to address many who now honor me with their presence. But neither their familiar faces, nor the perfect gage I think I have of Corinthian Hall seems to free me from embarrassment.

The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable-and the difficulties to he overcome in getting from the latter to the former are by no means slight. That I am here to-day is, to me, a matter of astonishment as well as of gratitude. You will not, therefore, be surprised, if in what I have to say I evince no elaborate preparation, nor grace my speech with any high sounding exordium. With little experience and with less learning, I have been able to throw my thoughts hastily and imperfectly together; and trusting to your patient and generous indulgence I will proceed to lay them before you.

This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the Fourth of July. It is the birth day of your National Independence, and of your political freedom. This, to you, as what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day. This celebration also marks the beginning of another year of your national life; and reminds you that the Republic of America is now 76 years old. l am glad, fellow-citizens, that your nation is so young. Seventy-six years, though a good old age for a man, is but a mere speck in the life of a nation. Three score years and ten is the allotted time for individual men; but nations number their years by thousands. According to this fact, you are, even now, only in the beginning of your national career, still lingering in the period of childhood. I repeat, I am glad this is so. There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon. The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and that she is still in the impressible stage of her existence. May he not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of justice and of truth, will yet give direction to her destiny? Were the nation older, the patriot's heart might be sadder, and the reformer's brow heavier. Its future might be shrouded in gloom, and the hope of its prophets go out in sorrow. There is consolation in the thought that America is young.-Great streams are not easily turned from channels, worn deep in the course of ages. They may sometimes rise in quiet and stately majesty, and inundate the land, refreshing and fertilizing the earth with their mysterious properties. They may also rise in wrath and fury, and bear away, on their angry waves, the accumulated wealth of years of toil and hardship. They, however, gradually flow back to the same old channel, and flow on as serenely as ever. But, while the river may not be turned aside, it may dry up, and leave nothing behind but the withered branch, and the unsightly rock, to howl in the abyss-sweeping wind, the sad tale of departed glory. As with rivers so with nations.

Fellow-citizens, I shall not presume to dwell at length on the associations that cluster about this day. The simple story of it is, that, 76 years ago, the people of this country were British subjects. The style and title of your "sovereign people" (in which you now glory) was not then born. You were under the British Crown. Your fathers esteemed the English Government as the home government; and England as the fatherland. This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper.

But your fathers, who had not adopted the fashionable idea of this day, of the infallibility of government, and the absolute character of its acts, presumed to differ from the home government in respect to the wisdom and the justice of some of those burdens and restraints. They went so far in their excitement as to pronounce the measures of government unjust, unreasonable, and oppressive, and altogether such as ought not to be quietly submitted to. I scarcely need say, fellow-citizens, that my opinion of those measures fully accords with that of your fathers. Such a declaration of agreement on my part would not be worth much to anybody. It would certainly prove nothing as to what part I might have taken had I lived during the great controversy of 1776. To say now that America was right, and England wrong, is exceedingly easy. Everybody can say it; the dastard, not less than the noble brave, can flippantly discant on the tyranny of England towards the American Colonies. It is fashionable to do so; but there was a time when, to pronounce against England, and in favor of the cause of the colonies, tried men's souls. They who did so were accounted in their day plotters of mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men. To side with the right against the wrong, with the weak against the strong, and with the oppressed against the oppressor! here lies the merit, and the one which, of all others, seems unfashionable in our day. The cause of liberty may be stabbed by the men who glory in the deeds of your fathers. But, to proceed.

Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated, by the home government, your fathers, like men of honesty, and men of spirit, earnestly sought redress. They petitioned and remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal manner. Their conduct was wholly unexceptionable. This, however, did not answer the purpose. They saw themselves treated with sovereign indifference, coldness and scorn. Yet they persevered. They were not the men to look back.

As the sheet anchor takes a firmer hold, when the ship is tossed by the storm, so did the cause of your fathers grow stronger as it breasted the chilling blasts of kingly displeasure. The greatest and best of British statesmen admitted its justice, and the loftiest eloquence of the British Senate came to its support. But, with that blindness which seems to be the unvarying characteristic of tyrants, since Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea, the British Government persisted in the exactions complained of.

The madness of this course, we believe, is admitted now, even by England; but we fear the lesson is wholly lost on our present rulers.

Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became restive under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity. With brave men there is always a remedy for oppression. Just here, the idea of a total separation of the colonies from the crown was born! It was a startling idea, much more so than we, at this distance of time, regard it. The timid and the prudent (as has been intimated) of that day were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it.

Such people lived then, had lived before, and will, probably, ever have a place on this planet; and their course, in respect to any great change (no matter how great the good to be attained, or the wrong to be redressed by it), may be calculated with as much precision as can be the course of the stars. They hate all changes, but silver, gold and copper change! Of this sort of change they are always strongly in favor.

These people were called Tories in the days of your fathers; and the appellation, probably, conveyed the same idea that is meant by a more modern, though a somewhat less euphonious term, which we often find in our papers, applied to some of our old politicians.

Their opposition to the then dangerous thought was earnest and powerful; but, amid all their terror and affrighted vociferations against it, the alarming and revolutionary idea moved on, and the country with it.

On the 2nd of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress, to the dismay of the lovers of ease, and the worshipers of property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of national sanction. They did so in the form of a resolution; and as we seldom hit upon resolutions, drawn up in our day, whose transparency is at all equal to this, it may refresh your minds and help my story if I read it.

"Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved."

Citizens, your fathers made good that resolution. They succeeded; and to-day you reap the fruits of their success. The freedom gained is yours; and you, there fore, may properly celebrate this anniversary. The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation's history-the very ringbolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny.

Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ringbolt to the chain of your nation's destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.

From the round top of your ship of state, dark and threatening clouds may be seen. Heavy billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks! That bolt drawn, that chain broken, and all is lost. Cling to this day-cling to it, and to its principles, with the grasp of a storm-tossed mariner to a spar at midnight.

The coming into being of a nation, in any circumstances, is an interesting event. But, besides general considerations, there were peculiar circumstances which make the advent of this republic an event of special attractiveness. The whole scene, as I look back to it, was simple, dignified and sublime. The population of the country, at the time, stood at the insignificant number of three millions. The country was poor in the munitions of war. The population was weak and scattered, and the country a wilderness unsubdued. There were then no means of concert and combination, such as exist now. Neither steam nor lightning had then been reduced to order and discipline. From the Potomac to the Delaware was a journey of many days. Under these, and innumerable other disadvantages, your fathers declared for liberty and independence and triumphed.

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too-great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory.

They loved their country better than their own private interests; and, though this is not the highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue, and that when it is exhibited it ought to command respect. He who will, intelligently, lay down his life for his country is a man whom it is not in human nature to despise. Your fathers staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, on the cause of their country. In their admiration of liberty, they lost sight of all other interests.

They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny. With them, nothing was "settIed" that was not right. With them, justice, liberty and humanity were "final"; not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times.

How circumspect, exact and proportionate were all their movements! How unlike the politicians of an hour! Their statesmanship looked beyond the passing moment, and stretched away in strength into the distant future. They seized upon eternal principles, and set a glorious example in their defence. Mark them! Fully appreciating the hardships to be encountered, firmly believing in the right of their cause, honorably inviting the scrutiny of an on-looking world, reverently appealing to heaven to attest their sincerity, soundly comprehending the solemn responsibility they were about to assume, wisely measuring the terrible odds against them, your fathers, the fathers of this republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a sublime faith in the great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep, the corner-stone of the national super-structure, which has risen and still rises in grandeur around you.

Of this fundamental work, this day is the anniversary. Our eyes are met with demonstrations of joyous enthusiasm. Banners and pennants wave exultingly on the breeze. The din of business, too, is hushed. Even mammon seems to have quitted his grasp on this day. The ear-piercing fife and the stirring drum unite their accents with the ascending peal of a thousand church bells. Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this day; while the quick martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation, echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal interest-nation's jubilee.

Friends and citizens, I need not enter further into the causes which led to this anniversary. Many of you understand them better than I do. You could instruct me in regard to them. That is a branch of knowledge in which you feel, perhaps, a much deeper interest than your speaker. The causes which led to the separation of the colonies from the British crown have never lacked for a tongue. They have all been taught in your common schools, narrated at your firesides, un folded from your pulpits, and thundered from your legislative halls, and are as familiar to you as household words. They form the staple of your national po etry and eloquence.

I remember, also, that, as a people, Americans are remarkably familiar with all facts which make in their own favor. This is esteemed by some as a national trait-perhaps a national weakness. It is a fact, that whatever makes for the wealth or for the reputation of Americans and can be had cheap! will be found by Americans. I shall not be charged with slandering Americans if I say I think the American side of any question may be safely left in American hands.

I leave, therefore, the great deeds of your fathers to other gentlemen whose claim to have been regularly descended will be less likely to be disputed than mine!

My business, if I have any here to-day, is with the present. The accepted time with God and His cause is the ever-living now.
Trust no future, however pleasant,
Let the dead past bury its dead;
Act, act in the living present,
Heart within, and God overhead.
We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and to the future. To all inspiring motives, to noble deeds which can be gained from the past, we are welcome. But now is the time, the important time. Your fathers have lived, died, and have done their work, and have done much of it well. You live and must die, and you must do your work. You have no right to enjoy a child's share in the labor of your fathers, unless your children are to be blest by your labors. You have no right to wear out and waste the hard-earned fame of your fathers to cover your indolence. Sydney Smith tells us that men seldom eulogize the wisdom and virtues of their fathers, but to excuse some folly or wickedness of their own. This truth is not a doubtful one. There are illustrations of it near and remote, ancient and modern. It was fashionable, hundreds of years ago, for the children of Jacob to boast, we have "Abraham to our father," when they had long lost Abraham's faith and spirit. That people contented themselves under the shadow of Abraham's great name, while they repudiated the deeds which made his name great. Need I remind you that a similar thing is being done all over this country to-day? Need I tell you that the Jews are not the only people who built the tombs of the prophets, and garnished the sepulchers of the righteous? Washington could not die till he had broken the chains of his slaves. Yet his monument is built up by the price of human blood, and the traders in the bodies and souls of men shout-"We have Washington to our father."-Alas! that it should be so; yet it is.
The evil, that men do, lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones.
Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the "lame man leap as an hart."

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common.-The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fa thers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth."

Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, "may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!" To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery-the great sin and shame of America! "I will not equivocate; I will not excuse"; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.

But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, "It is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, and denounce less; would you persuade more, and rebuke less; your cause would be much more likely to succeed." But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They ac knowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may con sent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man!

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hill-side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian's God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!

Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively and positively, negatively and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding.-There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.

What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is passed.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation's ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

Take the American slave-trade, which we are told by the papers, is especially prosperous just now. Ex-Senator Benton tells us that the price of men was never higher than now. He mentions the fact to show that slavery is in no danger. This trade is one of the peculiarities of American institutions. It is carried on in all the large towns and cities in one-half of this confederacy; and millions are pocketed every year by dealers in this horrid traffic. In several states this trade is a chief source of wealth. It is called (in contradistinction to the foreign slave-trade) "the internal slave-trade." It is, probably, called so, too, in order to divert from it the horror with which the foreign slave-trade is contemplated. That trade has long since been denounced by this government as piracy. It has been denounced with burning words from the high places of the nation as an execrable traffic. To arrest it, to put an end to it, this nation keeps a squadron, at immense cost, on the coast of Africa. Everywhere, in this country, it is safe to speak of this foreign slave-trade as a most inhuman traffic, opposed alike to the Jaws of God and of man. The duty to extirpate and destroy it, is admitted even by our doctors of divinity. In order to put an end to it, some of these last have consented that their colored brethren (nominally free) should leave this country, and establish them selves on the western coast of Africa! It is, however, a notable fact that, while so much execration is poured out by Americans upon all those engaged in the foreign slave-trade, the men engaged in the slave-trade between the states pass with out condemnation, and their business is deemed honorable.

Behold the practical operation of this internal slave-trade, the American slave-trade, sustained by American politics and American religion. Here you will see men and women reared like swine for the market. You know what is a swine-drover? I will show you a man-drover. They inhabit all our Southern States. They perambulate the country, and crowd the highways of the nation, with droves of human stock. You will see one of these human flesh jobbers, armed with pistol, whip, and bowie-knife, driving a company of a hundred men, women, and children, from the Potomac to the slave market at New Orleans. These wretched people are to be sold singly, or in lots, to suit purchasers. They are food for the cotton-field and the deadly sugar-mill. Mark the sad procession, as it moves wearily along, and the inhuman wretch who drives them. Hear his savage yells and his blood-curdling oaths, as he hurries on his affrighted captives! There, see the old man with locks thinned and gray. Cast one glance, if you please, upon that young mother, whose shoulders are bare to the scorching sun, her briny tears falling on the brow of the babe in her arms. See, too, that girl of thirteen, weeping, yes! weeping, as she thinks of the mother from whom she has been torn! The drove moves tardily. Heat and sorrow have nearly consumed their strength; suddenly you hear a quick snap, like the discharge of a rifle; the fetters clank, and the chain rattles simultaneously; your ears are saluted with a scream, that seems to have torn its way to the centre of your soul The crack you heard was the sound of the slave-whip; the scream you heard was from the woman you saw with the babe. Her speed had faltered under the weight of her child and her chains! that gash on her shoulder tells her to move on. Follow this drove to New Orleans. Attend the auction; see men examined like horses; see the forms of women rudely and brutally exposed to the shock ing gaze of American slave-buyers. See this drove sold and separated forever; and never forget the deep, sad sobs that arose from that scattered multitude. Tell me, citizens, where, under the sun, you can witness a spectacle more fiendish and shocking. Yet this is but a glance at the American slave-trade, as it exists, at this moment, in the ruling part of the United States.

I was born amid such sights and scenes. To me the American slave-trade is a terrible reality. When a child, my soul was often pierced with a sense of its horrors. I lived on Philpot Street, Fell's Point, Baltimore, and have watched from the wharves the slave ships in the Basin, anchored from the shore, with their cargoes of human flesh, waiting for favorable winds to waft them down the Chesapeake. There was, at that time, a grand slave mart kept at the head of Pratt Street, by Austin Woldfolk. His agents were sent into every town and county in Maryland, announcing their arrival, through the papers, and on flaming "hand-bills," headed cash for Negroes. These men were generally well dressed men, and very captivating in their manners; ever ready to drink, to treat, and to gamble. The fate of many a slave has depended upon the turn of a single card; and many a child has been snatched from the arms of its mother by bargains arranged in a state of brutal drunkenness.

The flesh-mongers gather up their victims by dozens, and drive them, chained, to the general depot at Baltimore. When a sufficient number has been collected here, a ship is chartered for the purpose of conveying the forlorn crew to Mobile, or to New Orleans. From the slave prison to the ship, they are usually driven in the darkness of night; for since the antislavery agitation, a certain caution is observed.

In the deep, still darkness of midnight, I have been often aroused by the dead, heavy footsteps, and the piteous cries of the chained gangs that passed our door. The anguish of my boyish heart was intense; and I was often consoled, when speaking to my mistress in the morning, to hear her say that the custom was very wicked; that she hated to hear the rattle of the chains and the heart-rending cries. I was glad to find one who sympathized with me in my horror.

Fellow-citizens, this murderous traffic is, to-day, in active operation in this boasted republic. In the solitude of my spirit I see clouds of dust raised on the highways of the South; I see the bleeding footsteps; I hear the doleful wail of fettered humanity on the way to the slave-markets, where the victims are to be sold like horses, sheep, and swine, knocked off to the highest bidder. There I see the tenderest ties ruthlessly broken, to gratify the lust, caprice and rapacity of the buyers and sellers of men. My soul sickens at the sight.
Is this the land your Fathers loved,
The freedom which they toiled to win?
Is this the earth whereon they moved?
Are these the graves they slumber in?
But a still more inhuman, disgraceful, and scandalous state of things remains to be presented. By an act of the American Congress, not yet two years old, slavery has been nationalized in its most horrible and revolting form. By that act, Mason and Dixon's line has been obliterated; New York has become as Virginia; and the power to hold, hunt, and sell men, women and children, as slaves, remains no longer a mere state institution, but is now an institution of the whole United States. The power is co-extensive with the star-spangled banner, and American Christianity. Where these go, may also go the merciless slave-hunter. Where these are, man is not sacred. He is a bird for the sportsman's gun. By that most foul and fiendish of all human decrees, the liberty and person of every man are put in peril. Your broad republican domain is hunting ground for men. Not for thieves and robbers, enemies of society, merely, but for men guilty of no crime. Your law-makers have commanded all good citizens to engage in this hellish sport. Your President, your Secretary of State, your lords, nobles, and ecclesiastics enforce, as a duty you owe to your free and glorious country, and to your God, that you do this accursed thing. Not fewer than forty Americans have, within the past two years, been hunted down and, without a moment's warning, hurried away in chains, and consigned to slavery and excruciating torture. Some of these have had wives and children, dependent on them for bread; but of this, no account was made. The right of the hunter to his prey stands superior to the right of marriage, and to all rights in this republic, the rights of God included! For black men there is neither law nor justice, humanity nor religion. The Fugitive Slave Law makes mercy to them a crime; and bribes the judge who tries them. An American judge gets ten dollars for every victim he consigns to slavery, and five, when he fails to do so. The oath of any two villains is sufficient, under this hell-black enactment, to send the most pious and exemplary black man into the remorseless jaws of slavery! His own testimony is nothing. He can bring no witnesses for himself. The minister of American justice is bound by the law to hear but one side; and that side is the side of the oppressor. Let this damning fact be perpetually told. Let it be thundered around the world that in tyrant-killing, king-hating, people-loving, democratic, Christian America the seats of justice are filled with judges who hold their offices under an open and palpable bribe, and are bound, in deciding the case of a man's liberty, to hear only his accusers!

In glaring violation of justice, in shameless disregard of the forms of administering law, in cunning arrangement to entrap the defenceless, and in diabolical intent this Fugitive Slave Law stands alone in the annals of tyrannical legislation. I doubt if there be another nation on the globe having the brass and the baseness to put such a law on the statute-book. If any man in this assembly thinks differently from me in this matter, and feels able to disprove my statements, I will gladly confront him at any suitable time and place he may select.

I take this law to be one of the grossest infringements of Christian Liberty, and, if the churches and ministers of our country were nor stupidly blind, or most wickedly indifferent, they, too, would so regard it.

At the very moment that they are thanking God for the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, and for the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, they are utterly silent in respect to a law which robs religion of its chief significance and makes it utterly worthless to a world lying in wickedness. Did this law concern the "mint, anise, and cummin"-abridge the right to sing psalms, to partake of the sacrament, or to engage in any of the ceremonies of religion, it would be smitten by the thunder of a thousand pulpits. A general shout would go up from the church demanding repeal, repeal, instant repeal!-And it would go hard with that politician who presumed to so licit the votes of the people without inscribing this motto on his banner. Further, if this demand were not complied with, another Scotland would be added to the history of religious liberty, and the stern old covenanters would be thrown into the shade. A John Knox would be seen at every church door and heard from every pulpit, and Fillmore would have no more quarter than was shown by Knox to the beautiful, but treacherous, Queen Mary of Scotland. The fact that the church of our country (with fractional exceptions) does not esteem "the Fugitive Slave Law" as a declaration of war against religious liberty, im plies that that church regards religion simply as a form of worship, an empty ceremony, and not a vital principle, requiring active benevolence, justice, love, and good will towards man. It esteems sacrifice above mercy; psalm-singing above right doing; solemn meetings above practical righteousness. A worship that can be conducted by persons who refuse to give shelter to the houseless, to give bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and who enjoin obedience to a law forbidding these acts of mercy is a curse, not a blessing to mankind. The Bible addresses all such persons as "scribes, pharisees, hypocrites, who pay tithe ofÝ mint, anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith."

But the church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters. Many of its most eloquent Divines, who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for Christianity.

For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by those Divines! They convert the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels, in this age, than all the infidel writings of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke put together have done! These ministers make religion a cold and flinty-hearted thing, having neither principles of right action nor bowels of compassion. They strip the love of God of its beauty and leave the throne of religion a huge, horrible, repulsive form. It is a religion for oppressors, tyrants, man-stealers, and thugs. It is not that "pure and undefiled religion" which is from above, and which is "first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and with out hypocrisy." But a religion which favors the rich against the poor; which exalts the proud above the humble; which divides mankind into two classes, tyrants and slaves; which says to the man in chains, stay there; and to the oppressor, oppress on; it is a religion which may be professed and enjoyed by all the robbers and enslavers of mankind; it makes God a respecter of persons, denies his fatherhood of the race, and tramples in the dust the great truth of the brotherhood of man. All this we affirm to be true of the popular church, and the popular worship of our land and nation-a religion, a church, and a worship which, on the authority of inspired wisdom, we pronounce to be an abomination in the sight of God. In the language of Isaiah, the American church might be well addressed, "Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me: the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons, and your appointed feasts my soul hateth. They are a trouble to me; I am weary to bear them; and when ye spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from you. Yea' when ye make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood; cease to do evil, learn to do well; seek judgment; relieve the oppressed; judge for the fatherless; plead for the widow."

The American church is guilty, when viewed in connection with what it is doing to uphold slavery; but it is superlatively guilty when viewed in its connection with its ability to abolish slavery.

The sin of which it is guilty is one of omission as well as of commission. Albert Barnes but uttered what the common sense of every man at all observant of the actual state of the case will receive as truth, when he declared that "There is no power out of the church that could sustain slavery an hour, if it were not sustained in it."

Let the religious press, the pulpit, the Sunday School, the conference meeting, the great ecclesiastical, missionary, Bible and tract associations of the land array their immense powers against slavery, and slave-holding; and the whole system of crime and blood would be scattered to the winds, and that they do not do this involves them in the most awful responsibility of which the mind can conceive.

In prosecuting the anti-slavery enterprise, we have been asked to spare the church, to spare the ministry; but how, we ask, could such a thing be done? We are met on the threshold of our efforts for the redemption of the slave, by the church and ministry of the country, in battle arrayed against us; and we are compelled to fight or flee. From what quarter, I beg to know, has proceeded a fire so deadly upon our ranks, during the last two years, as from the Northern pulpit? As the champions of oppressors, the chosen men of American theology have appeared-men honored for their so-called piety, and their real learning. The Lords of Buffalo, the Springs of New York, the Lathrops of Auburn, the Coxes and Spencers of Brooklyn, the Gannets and Sharps of Boston, the Deweys of Washington, and other great religious lights of the land have, in utter denial of the authority of Him by whom they professed to be called to the ministry, deliberately taught us, against the example of the Hebrews, and against the remonstrance of the Apostles, that we ought to obey man's law before the law of God.2

My spirit wearies of such blasphemy; and how such men can be supported, as the "standing types and representatives of Jesus Christ," is a mystery which I leave others to penetrate. In speaking of the American church, however, let it be distinctly understood that I mean the great mass of the religious organizations of our land. There are exceptions, and I thank God that there are. Noble men may be found, scattered all over these Northern States, of whom Henry Ward Beecher, of Brooklyn; Samuel J. May, of Syracuse; and my esteemed friend (Rev. R. R. Raymond) on the platform, are shining examples; and let me say further, that, upon these men lies the duty to inspire our ranks with high religious faith and zeal, and to cheer us on in the great mission of the slave's redemption from his chains.

One is struck with the difference between the attitude of the American church towards the anti-slavery movement, and that occupied by the churches in Eng land towards a similar movement in that country. There, the church, true to its mission of ameliorating, elevating and improving the condition of mankind, came forward promptly, bound up the wounds of the West Indian slave, and re stored him to his liberty. There, the question of emancipation was a high religious question. It was demanded in the name of humanity, and according to the law of the living God. The Sharps, the Clarksons, the Wilberforces, the Buxtons, the Burchells, and the Knibbs were alike famous for their piety and for their philanthropy. The anti-slavery movement there was not an anti-church movement, for the reason that the church took its full share in prosecuting that movement: and the anti-slavery movement in this country will cease to be an anti-church movement, when the church of this country shall assume a favorable instead of a hostile position towards that movement.

Americans! your republican politics, not less than your republican religion, are flagrantly inconsistent. You boast of your love of liberty, your superior civilization, and your pure Christianity, while the whole political power of the nation (as embodied in the two great political parties) is solemnly pledged to support and perpetuate the enslavement of three millions of your countrymen. You hurl your anathemas at the crowned headed tyrants of Russia and Austria and pride yourselves on your Democratic institutions, while you yourselves consent to be the mere tools and body-guards of the tyrants of Virginia and Carolina. You invite to your shores fugitives of oppression from abroad, honor them with banquets, greet them with ovations, cheer them, toast them, salute them, protect them, and pour out your money to them like water; but the fugitives from oppression in your own land you advertise, hunt, arrest, shoot, and kill. You glory in your refinement and your universal education; yet you maintain a system as barbarous and dreadful as ever stained the character of a nation-a system begun in avarice, supported in pride, and perpetuated in cruelty. You shed tears over fallen Hungary, and make the sad story of her wrongs the theme of your poets, statesmen, and orators, till your gallant sons are ready to fly to arms to vindicate her cause against the oppressor; but, in regard to the ten thousand wrongs of the American slave, you would enforce the strictest silence, and would hail him as an enemy of the nation who dares to make those wrongs the subject of public discourse! You are all on fire at the mention of liberty for France or for Ireland; but are as cold as an iceberg at the thought of liberty for the enslaved of America. You discourse eloquently on the dignity of labor; yet, you sustain a system which, in its very essence, casts a stigma upon labor. You can bare your bosom to the storm of British artillery to throw off a three-penny tax on tea; and yet wring the last hard earned farthing from the grasp of the black laborers of your country. You profess to believe "that, of one blood, God made all nations of men to dwell on the face of all the earth," and hath commanded all men, everywhere, to love one another; yet you notoriously hate (and glory in your hatred) all men whose skins are not colored like your own. You declare before the world, and are understood by the world to declare that you "hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain in alienable rights; and that among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and yet, you hold securely, in a bondage which, according to your own Thomas Jefferson, "is worse than ages of that which your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose," a seventh part of the inhabitants of your country.

Fellow-citizens, I will not enlarge further on your national inconsistencies. The existence of slavery in this country brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a base pretense, and your Christianity as a lie. It destroys your moral power abroad: it corrupts your politicians at home. It saps the foundation of religion; it makes your name a hissing and a bye-word to a mocking earth. It is the antagonistic force in your government, the only thing that seriously disturbs and endangers your Union. it fetters your progress; it is the enemy of improvement; the deadly foe of education; it fosters pride; it breeds insolence; it promotes vice; it shelters crime; it is a curse to the earth that supports it; and yet you cling to it as if it were the sheet anchor of all your hopes. Oh! be warned! be warned! a horrible reptile is coiled up in your nation's bosom; the venomous creature is nursing at the tender breast of your youthful republic; for the love of God, tear away, and fling from you the hideous monster, and let the weight of twenty millions crush and destroy it forever!

But it is answered in reply to all this, that precisely what I have now denounced is, in fact, guaranteed and sanctioned by the Constitution of the United States; that, the right to hold, and to hunt slaves is a part of that Constitution framed by the illustrious Fathers of this Republic.

Then, I dare to affirm, notwithstanding all I have said before, your fathers stooped, basely stooped
To palter with us in a double sense:
And keep the word of promise to the ear,
But break it to the heart.
And instead of being the honest men I have before declared them to be, they were the veriest impostors that ever practised on mankind. This is the inevitable conclusion, and from it there is no escape; but I differ from those who charge this baseness on the framers of the Constitution of the United States. It is a slander upon their memory, at least, so I believe. There is not time now to argue the constitutional question at length; nor have I the ability to discuss it as it ought to be discussed. The subject has been handled with masterly power by Lysander Spooner, Esq. by William Goodell, by Samuel E. Sewall, Esq., and last, though not least, by Gerrit Smith, Esq. These gentlemen have, as I think, fully and clearly vindicated the Constitution from any design to support slavery for an hour.

Fellow-citizens! there is no matter in respect to which the people of the North have allowed themselves to be so ruinously imposed upon as that of the pro-slavery character of the Constitution. In that instrument I hold there is neither warrant, license, nor sanction of the hateful thing; but interpreted, as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a glorious liberty document. Read its preamble, consider its purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it at the gate way? or is it in the temple? it is neither. While I do not intend to argue this question on the present occasion, let me ask, if it be not somewhat singular that, if the Constitution were intended to be, by its framers and adopters, a slaveholding instrument, why neither slavery, slaveholding, nor slave can any where be found in it. What would be thought of an instrument, drawn up, legally drawn up, for the purpose of entitling the city of Rochester to a tract of land, in which no mention of land was made? Now, there are certain rules of interpretation for the proper understanding of all legal instruments. These rules are well established. They are plain, commonsense rules, such as you and I, and all of us, can understand and apply, without having passed years in the study of law. I scout the idea that the question of the constitutionality, or unconstitutionality of slavery, is not a question for the people. I hold that every American citizen has a right to form an opinion of the constitution, and to propagate that opinion, and to use all honorable means to make his opinion the prevailing one. Without this right, the liberty of an American citizen would be as insecure as that of a Frenchman. Ex-Vice-President Dallas tells us that the constitution is an object to which no American mind can be too attentive, and no American heart too devoted. He further says, the Constitution, in its words, is plain and intelligible, and is meant for the home-bred, unsophisticated understandings of our fellow-citizens. Senator Berrien tells us that the Constitution is the fundamental law, that which controls all others. The charter of our liberties, which every citizen has a personal interest in understanding thoroughly. The testimony of Senator Breese, Lewis Cass, and many others that might be named, who are everywhere esteemed as sound lawyers, so regard the constitution. I take it, therefore, that it is not presumption in a private citizen to form an opinion of that instrument.

Now, take the Constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand, it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.

I have detained my audience entirely too long already. At some future period I will gladly avail myself of an opportunity to give this subject a full and fair discussion.

Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery.

"The arm of the Lord is not shortened," and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from "the Declaration of Independence," the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated.-Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are distinctly heard on the other.

The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, "Let there be Light," has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. "Ethiopia shall stretch out her hand unto God." In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it:

God speed the year of jubilee
The wide world o'er!
When from their galling chains set free,
Th' oppress'd shall vilely bend the knee,

And wear the yoke of tyranny
Like brutes no more.
That year will come, and freedom's reign.
To man his plundered rights again

God speed the day when human blood
Shall cease to flow!
In every clime be understood,
The claims of human brotherhood,
And each return for evil, good,
Not blow for blow;

That day will come all feuds to end,
And change into a faithful friend
Each foe.

Source: The Life & Writings of Frederick Douglass, Volume II, Pre-Civil War Decade, 1850-1860