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Legacy and Memory

Frederick Douglass

Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave. Boston: Pub. at the Anti-slavery office, 1845.

Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) was born into slavery, escaped in 1838 and went on to become one of the most significant social reformers of the nineteenth century. When he was twelve, a wife of one of his owners began to teach him to read. Douglass was so well–spoken that many did not believe he was ever a slave. He was a prolific writer and speaker. Douglass was well acquainted with President Lincoln; however, he grew disappointed with Lincoln’s lack of support for Black suffrage. Douglass argued that Blacks were not truly free until they had the right to vote.

Joseph T. Wilson

Emancipation: its course and progress: from 1481 B.C. to 1875 A. D., with a review of President Lincoln’s proclamations, the XIII amendment, and the progress of the freed people since emancipation; with a history of the emancipation monument. Hampton, Va.: Normal School Steam Power Press Print, 1882.

The Emancipation Memorial or the Freedman’s Memorial was erected in 1876 to honor the legacy and memory of Abraham Lincoln and his role in Emancipation. The statue is highly controversial, as its depiction of the Black figure in the statue reinforces racist ideology.

Frederick Douglass

Oration by Frederick Douglass: delivered on the occasion of the unveiling of the freedmen’s monument in memory of Abraham Lincoln, in Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C., April 14th, 1876; with an appendix. Washington, D.C.: Gibson Brothers, Printers, 1876.

Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) gave the keynote address at the dedication service for the Freedmen’s Memorial. In his remarks, he expressed both his positive and negative opinions about President Lincoln, whom he knew personally. Douglass also made comment that the Black man in the statue should have been depicted standing. Audience reception of his speech was favorable; he received a standing ovation.

“A Resolution,” dated February 1, 1865, submitting the Thirteenth Amendment to the States. Signed by Abraham Lincoln. [Facsimile of original held in the University of Delaware Library].

The Emancipation Proclamation of January, 1863, declared free only those slaves in the rebellious states of the Confederacy. By the end of the war, no provision or law existed concerning the freedom of slaves owned by those who had been loyal to the Union. The legal status of the institution of slavery was by no means resolved, and it was generally recognized that an amendment to the Constitution was necessary to clarify the legality of what was a reality in practice.

This copy of the resolution is signed by President Lincoln, Vice-President Hannibal Hamlin, and Speaker of the House, Schuyler Colfax, and is attested to by the signatures of John W. Forney, Secretary of the Senate, and Edward McPherson, Clark of the House. This copy is one of at least four known copies, and other signed copies may be in existence. The University’s copy is probably unique in that the name of Hamlin is above that of Colfax, which comes first on other copies. The copy was reportedly discovered in a New Hampshire farm house attic in 1928 and was sold by Goodspeed’s Bookshop in Boston to the Lincoln collector, Frank Tallman.

Gift of the Wilmington Institute Free Library

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