Almost immediately after the 1854 publication of Nott and Gliddon’s Types of Mankind, Frederick Douglass, who, in the sixteen years since his escape from slavery as a young man, had become a well known author and a charismatic public speaker in support of the abolitionist cause, addressed the Philozetian Society at Western Reserve College (now Case Western Reserve University). The occasion was part of the college’s commencement exercises, and Douglass was the first black man asked to speak at this occasion. The address is not well known—David Blight’s biography of Douglass, nearly nine hundred pages in length, does not mention it—but it is full of interest as a document in the history of the race concept.
By 1854, Douglass had educated and trained himself so that he was in all companies a commanding presence. He was, however, at a difficult moment in his career. In 1851, he had broken with his Northern supporters over the interpretation of the Unites States Constitution, which Douglass had declared in his famous speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” to be a “glorious liberty document” that gave slavery no protection regardless of the intentions or commitments of many of the framers. This decision had cost him many allies both white and black, who insisted that the case for abolition had also to be a case against the Constitution and its framers, many of whom had owned slaves. At the same time, Douglass was beginning to commit himself to a program of advocacy and political action in the faith that, as Blight says, “votes could one day weaken and destroy slavery.”* Those votes had to be won through persuasion, and in this address, Douglass chose the remarkable tactic of persuading people of the necessity of abolition by engaging on the “moral battlefield” of ethnological scholarship.
In this speech, Douglass undertook to identify the non-scientific premises that determined the evidence and guided the conclusions in the scholarship of the day. He drew attention, first, to the American context, in which claims made in scientific journals and books were often deployed, even in the works themselves, in the service of the institution of slavery. The question of slavery turned, Douglass argued, on the fundamental question of whether the Negro was a man, the question around which racial science had been circling inconclusively for over half a century. Deeply offended by the facts that this was even a question and that the “claims” of the Negro to humanity were an “ethnological” issue at all, Douglass argued for an environmental monogenism consistent with that of Samuel Stanhope Smith and Prichard, arguing that by any definition the Negro was a man, and part of the human community.
In the work of Nott and Gliddon, the introduction of the race concept had the effect of calling into question the authority or adequacy of the Biblical account of origins. In Douglass’ text we can see how the scientific embrace of the race concept could be used as evidence in a case against science itself, with the authority of the Bible used as supporting evidence. Douglass attributes the persistence of the illusion of multiple human races to the fact that science is “favorable to division,” and to the susceptibility of this partitive tendency to corruption by those driven by extra-scientific agendas. Douglass shows himself to be a careful, indeed relentless close reader of polygenists such as Morton, Nott, Gliddon, Agassiz, and Charles Hamilton Smith for whom the malicious “wish is father to the thought.” Focusing in particular on Morton’s argument in Crania Americana that the Egyptians who built the pyramids were altogether different from the Negroes of Africa, Douglass insists on the indivisible unity of the human race. He concludes his nearly 12,000-word address by reminding his learned audience of the very different routes they and he had traveled to the present occasion, as if daring any to deny either his arguments or his humanity. [On the Egyptians, see Firmin.]
Personally and intellectually fierce and uncompromising, Douglass drew much of the strength of his arguments from a committed traditionalism. He insisted on a benign and traditional reading of the Constitution, argued for an absolute distinction between humans and primates, cited the Bible with reverence, and, perhaps most surprisingly, refused to assert any distinctive Negro identity or culture, viewing “race pride” as a “positive evil.” “God Almighty made but one race,” he said in an 1884 interview; he anticipated a time when an original unity of humankind without racial divisions would be achieved once again through the process of amalgamation made inevitable by coexistence.**
*David W. Blight, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018), 252.
**Frederick Douglass, interview, 25 January 1884, “God Almighty Made but One Race,” in John W. Blassingame, ed., The Frederick Douglass Papers (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), ser. 1, 5: 147.
Gentlemen, in selecting the Claims of the Negro as the subject of my remarks to-day, I am animated by a desire to bring before you a matter of living importance—matter upon which action, as well as thought is required. The relation subsisting between the white and black people of this country is the vital question of the age. In the solution of this question, the scholars of America will have to take an important and controling part. This is the moral battle field to which their country and their God now call them. In the eye of both, the neutral scholar is an ignoble man. (5)
The first general claim which may here be set up, respects the manhood of the negro. This is an elementary claim, simple enough, but not without question. It is fiercely opposed. A respectable public journal, published in Richmond, Va., bases its whole defence of the slave system upon a denial of the negro's manhood.
“The white peasant is free, and if he is a man of will and intellect, can rise in the scale of society; or at least his offspring may. He is not deprived by law of those ‘inalienable rights,’ ‘liberty and the pursuit of happiness,’ by the use of it. But here is the essence of slavery — that we do declare the negro destitute of these powers. We bind him by law to the condition of the laboring peasant for ever, without his consent, and we bind his posterity after him. Now, the true question is, have we a right to do this? If we have not, all discussions about his comfortable situation, and the actual condition of free laborers elsewhere, are quite beside the point. If the negro has the same right to his liberty and the pursuit of his own happiness that the White man has, then we commit the greatest wrong and robbery to hold him a slave — an act at which the sentiment of justice must revolt in every heart — and negro slavery is an institution which that sentiment must sooner or later blot from the face of the earth.”— Richmond Examiner.
After stating the question thus, the Examiner boldly asserts that the negro has no such right— BECAUSE HE IS NOT A MAN! (6-7)
Man is distinguished from all other animals, by the possession of certain definite faculties and powers, as well as by physical organization and proportions. He is the only two-handed animal on the earth—the only one that laughs, and nearly the only one that weeps. Men instinctively distinguish between men and brutes. Common sense itself is scarcely needed to detect the absence of manhood in a monkey, or to recognize its presence in a negro. His speech, his reason, his power to acquire and to retain knowledge, his heaven-erected face, his habitudes, his hopes, his fears, his aspirations, his prophecies, plant between him and the brute creation, a distinction as eternal as it is palpable. Away, therefore, with all the scientific moonshine that would connect men with monkeys; that would have the world believe that humanity, instead of resting on its own characteristic pedestal — gloriously independent — is a sort of sliding scale, making one extreme brother to the ourang-outang, and the other to angels, and all the rest intermediates! Tried by all the usual, and all the un usual tests, whether mental, moral, physical, or psychological, the negro is a MAN — considering him as possessing knowledge, or needing knowledge, his elevation or his degradation, his virtues, or his vices — whichever road you take, you reach the same conclusion, the negro is a MAN. His good and his bad, his innocence and his guilt, his joys and his sorrows, proclaim his manhood in speech that all mankind practically and readily understand. . . .
The first claim [that the Negro is a man] conceded and settled, let us attend to the second, which is beset with some difficulties, giving rise to many opinions, different from my own, and which opinions I propose to combat.
There was a time when, if you established the point that a particular being is a man, it was considered that such a being, of course, had a common ancestry with the rest of mankind. But it is not so now. This is, you know, an age of science, and science is favorable to division. It must explore and analyze, until all doubt is set at rest. There is, therefore, another proposition to be stated and maintained, separately, which, in other days, (the days before the Notts, the Gliddens, the Agassiz, and Mortons, made their profound discoveries in ethnological science,) might have been included in the first.
It is somewhat remarkable, that, at a time when knowledge is so generally diffused, when the geography of the world is so well understood—when time and space, in the intercourse of nations, are almost annihilated—when oceans have become bridges — the earth a magnificent hall — the hollow sky a dome — under which a common humanity can meet in friendly conclave — when nationalities are being swallowed up — and the ends of the earth brought together — I say it is remarkable — nay, it is strange that there should arise a phalanx of learned men — speaking in the name of science — to forbid the magnificent reunion of mankind in one brotherhood. A mortifying proof is here given, that the moral growth of a nation, or an age, does not always keep pace with the increase of knowledge, and suggests the necessity of means to increase human love with human learning. (8-10)
THE BEARINGS OF THE QUESTION.
A moment's reflection must impress all, that few questions have more important and solemn bearings, than the one now under consideration. It is connected with eternal as well as with terrestrial interests. It covers the earth and reaches heaven. The unity of the human race—the brotherhood of man—the reciprocal duties of all to each, and of each to all, are too plainly taught in the Bible to admit of cavil.—The credit of the Bible is at stake—and if it be too much to say, that it must stand or fall, by the decision of this question, it is proper to say, that the value of that sacred Book—as a record of the early history of mankind—must be materially affected, by the decision of the question.
For myself I can say, my reason (not less than my feeling, and my faith) welcomes with joy, the declaration of the Inspired Apostle, “that God has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell upon all the face of the earth.” But this grand affirmation of the unity of the human race, and many others like unto it, together with the whole account of the creation, given in the early scriptures, must all get a new interpretation or be overthrown altogether, if a diversity of human origin can be maintained.—Most evidently, this aspect of the question makes it important to those, who rely upon the Bible, as the sheet anchor of their hopes—and the frame work of all religious truth. The young minister must look into this subject and settle it for himself, before he ascends the pulpit, to preach redemption to a fallen race. (12-13)
Indeed, ninety-nine out of every hundred of the advocates of a diverse origin of the human family in this country, are among those who hold it to be the privilege of the Anglo-Saxon to enslave and oppress the African—and slaveholders, not a few, like the Richmond Examiner to which I have referred, have admitted, that the whole argument in defence of slavery, becomes utterly worthless the moment the African is proved to be equally a man with the Anglo-Saxon. The temptation, therefore, to read the negro out of the human family is exceedingly strong, and may account somewhat for the repeated attempts on the part of Southern pretenders to science, to cast a doubt over the Scriptural account of the origin of mankind. . . . Pride and selfishness, combined with mental power, never want for a theory to justify them—and when men oppress their fellow-men, the oppressor ever finds, in the character of the oppressed, a full justification for his oppression. Ignorance and depravity, and the inability to rise from degradation to civilization and respectability, are the most usual allegations against the oppressed. The evils most fostered by slavery and oppression, are precisely those which slaveholders and oppressors would transfer from their system to the inherent character of their victims. Thus the very crimes of slavery become slavery’s best defence. By making the enslaved a character fit only for slavery, they excuse themselves for refusing to make the slave a freeman. A wholesale method of accomplishing this result, is to overthrow the instinctive consciousness of the common brotherhood of man. For, let it be once granted that the human race are of multitudinous origin, naturally different in their moral, physical, and intellectual capacities, and at once you make plausible a demand for classes, grades and conditions, for different methods of culture, different moral, political, and religious institutions, and a chance is left for slavery, as a necessary institution. The debates in Congress on the Nebraska Bill during the past winter, will show how slaveholders have availed themselves of this doctrine in support of slaveholding. There is no doubt that Messrs. Nott, Glidden, Morton, Smith and Agassiz were duly consulted by our slavery propagating statesmen.
ETHNOLOGICAL UNFAIRNESS TOWARDS THE NEGRO.
The lawyers tell us that the credit of a witness is always in order. Ignorance, malice or prejudice, may disqualify a witness, and why not an author? Now, the disposition everywhere evident, among the class of writers alluded to, to separate the negro race from every intelligent nation and tribe in Africa, may fairly be regarded as one proof, that they have staked out the ground beforehand, and that they have aimed to construct a theory in support of a foregone conclusion. The desirableness of isolating the negro race, and especially of separating them from the various peoples of Northern Africa, is too plain to need a remark. Such isolation would remove stupendous difficulties in the way of getting the negro in a favorable attitude for the blows of scientific christendom.
Dr. Samuel George Morton may be referred to as a fair sample of American Ethnologists. His very able work “Crania Americana,” published in Philadelphia in 1839, is widely read in this country.—In this great work his contempt for negroes, is ever conspicuous. I take him as an illustration of what had been alleged as true of his class.
The fact that Egypt was one of the earliest abodes of learning and civilization, is as firmly established as are the everlasting hills, defying, with a calm front the boasted mechanical and architectural skill of the nineteenth century—smiling serenely on the assaults and the mutations of time, there she stands in overshadowing grandeur, riveting the eye and the mind of the modern world—upon her, in silent and dreamy wonder—Greece and Rome—and through them Europe and America have received their civilization from the ancient Egyptians. This fact is not denied by any body. But Egypt is in Africa. Pity that it had not been in Europe, or in Asia, or better still, in America! Another unhappy circumstance is, that the ancient Egyptians were not white people; but were, undoubtedly, just about as dark in complexion as many in this country who are considered genuine negroes; and that is not all, their hair was far from being of that graceful lankness which adorns the fair Anglo Saxon head. But the next best thing, after these defects, is a positive unlikeness to the negro. Accordingly, our learned author enters into an elaborate argument to prove that the ancient Egyptians were totally distinct from the negroes, and to deny all relationship between. Speaking of the “Copts and Fellahs,” whom every body knows are descendants of the Egyptians, he says, “The Copts, though now remarkably distinct from the people that surround them, derive from their remote ancestors some mixture of Greek, Arabian, and perhaps even negro blood.” Now, mark the description given of the Egyptians in this same work: “Complexion brown. The nose is straight, excepting the end, where it is rounded and wide; the lips are rather thick, and the hair black and curly.” This description would certainly seem to make it safe to suppose the presence of “even negro blood.” A man, in our day, with brown complexion, “nose rounded and wide, lips thick, hair black and curly,” would, I think, have no difficulty in getting himself recognized as a negro!!
The same authority tells us that the “Copts are supposed by NEIBUHR, DENON and others, to be the descendants of the ancient Egyptians;” and Dr. Morton adds, that it has often been observed that a strong resemblance may be traced between the Coptic visage and that presented in the ancient mummies and statues. Again, he says, the “Copts can be, at most, but the degenerate remains, both physically and intellectually, of that mighty people who have claimed the admiration of all ages.” . . .
[“our great American Ethnologist” Samuel George Morton] thinks that the Sphinx was not the representative of an Egyptian Deity, but was a shrine, worshiped at by the degraded negroes of Egypt; and this fact he alleges as the secret of the mistake made by Volney, in supposing that the Egyptians were real negroes. The absurdity of this assertion will be very apparent, in view of the fact that the great Sphinx in question was the chief of a series, full two miles in length. Our author again repels the supposition that the Egyptians were related to negroes, by saying there is no mention made of color by the historian, in relating the marriage of Solomon with Pharaoh's daughter; and with genuine American feeling, he says, such a circumstance as the marrying of an European monarch with the daughter of a negro would not have been passed over in silence in our day. This is a sample of the reasoning of men who reason from prejudice rather than from facts. It assumes that a black skin in the East excites the same prejudice which we see here in the West. Having denied all relationship of the negro to the ancient Egyptians, with characteristic American assumption, he says, “It is easy to prove, that whatever may have been the hue of their skin, they belong to the same race with ourselves.”
Of course, I do not find fault with Dr. Morton, or any other American, for claiming affinity with Egyptians. All that goes in that direction belongs to my side of the question, and is really right.
The leaning here indicated is natural enough, and may be explained by the fact, that an educated man in Ireland ceases to be an Irishman; and an intelligent black man is always supposed to have derived his intelligence from his connection with the white race. To be intelligent is to have one’s negro blood ignored.
There is, however, a very important physiological fact, contradicting this last assumption; and that fact is, that intellect is uniformly derived from the maternal side. Mulattoes, in this country, may almost wholly boast of Anglo Saxon male ancestry.
It is the province of prejudice to blind; and scientific writers, not less than others, write to please, as well as to instruct, and even unconsciously to themselves, (sometimes,) sacrifice what is true to what is popular. Fashion is not confined to dress; but extends to philosophy as well—and it is fashionable now, in our land, to exaggerate the differences between the negro and the European. If, for instance, a phrenologist, or naturalist undertakes to represent in portraits, the differences between the two races—the negro and the European—he will invariably present the highest type of the European, and the lowest type of the negro.
The European face is drawn in harmony with the highest ideas of beauty, dignity and intellect. Features regular and brow after the Websterian mold. The negro, on the other hand, appears with features distorted, lips exaggerated; forehead depressed—and the whole expression of the countenance made to harmonize with the popular idea of negro imbecility and degradation. I have seen many pictures of negroes and Europeans, in phrenological and ethnological works; and all, or nearly all, excepting the work of Dr. Prichard, and that other great work, Combs’ [Combe’s] Constitution of Man, have been more or less open to this objection. I think I have never seen a single picture in an American work, designed to give an idea of the mental endowments of the negro, which did any thing like justice to the subject; nay, that was not infamously distorted. The heads of A. CRUMMEL, HENRY H. GARNET, SAM’L R. WARD, CHAS. LENOX REMOND, W. J. WILSON, J. W. PENINGTON, J. I. GAINES, M. R. DELANY, J. W. LOGUIN, J. M. WHITFIELD, J. C. HOLLY, and hundreds of others I could mention, are all better formed, and indicate the presence of intellect more than any pictures I have seen in such works; and while it must be admitted that there are negroes answering the description given by the American ethnologists and others, of the negro race, I contend that there is every description of head among them, ranging from the highest Indoo Caucasian downward. If the very best type of the European is always presented, I insist that justice, in all such works, demands that the very best type of the negro should also be taken. The importance of this criticism may not be apparent to all;—to the black man it is very apparent. He sees the injustice, and writhes under its sting. (14-21)
AUTHORITIES AS TO THE RESEMBLANCE OF THE EGYPTIANS TO NEGROES.
It is not in my power, in a discourse of this sort, to adduce more than a very small part of the testimony in support of a near relationship between the present enslaved and degraded negroes, and the ancient highly civilized and wonderfully endowed Egyptians. Sufficient has already been adduced, to show a marked similarity in regard to features, hair, color, and I doubt not that the philologist can find equal similarity in the structures of their languages. In view of the foregoing, while it may not be claimed that the ancient Egyptians were negroes,—viz:—answering, in all respects, to the nations and tribes ranged under the general appellation, negro; still, it may safely be affirmed, that a strong affinity and a direct relationship may be claimed by the negro race, to THAT GRANDEST OF ALL THE NATIONS OF ANTIQUITY, THE BUILDERS OF THE PYRAMIDS.
But there are other evidences of this relationship, more decisive than those alledged in a general similarity of personal appearance. Language is held to be very important, by the best ethnologists, in tracing out the remotest affinities of nations, tribes, classes and families. The color of the skin has sometimes been less enduring than the speech of a people. I speak by authority, and follow in the footsteps of some of the most learned writers on the natural and ethnological history of man, when I affirm that one of the most direct and conclusive proofs of the general affinity of Northern African nations, with those of West, East and South Africa, is found in the general similarity of their language. The philologist easily discovers, and is able to point out something like the original source of the multiplied tongues now in use in that yet mysterious quarter of the globe. DR. R. G. LATHAM, F. R. S., corresponding member of the Ethnological Society, New York—in his admirable work, entitled “Man and his Migrations”—says:
“In the languages of Abyssinia, the Gheez and Tigre admitted, as long as they have been known at all, to be Semitic, graduate through the Amharic, the Talasha, the Harargi, the Gafat and other languages, which may be well studied in Dr. Beke's valuable comparative tables, into the Agow tongue, unequivocally indigenous to Abyssinia, and through this into the true negro classes. But, unequivocal as may be the Semitic elements of the Berber, Coptic and Galla, their affinities with the tongues of Western and Southern Africa are more so. I weigh my words when I say, not equally, but more; changing the expression, for every foot in advance which can be made towards the Semitic tongues in one direction, the African philologist can go a yard towards the negro ones in the other.”
In a note, just below this remarkable statement, Dr. Latham says:
“A short table of the Berber and Coptic, as compared with the other African tongues, may be seen in the Classical Museum of the British Association, for 1846. In the Transactions of the Philological Society is a grammatical sketch of the Tumali language, by Dr. S. Tutshek of Munich. The Tumali is a truly negro language, of Kordufan; whilst, in respect to the extent to which its inflections are formed, by internal changes of vowels and accents, it is fully equal to the Semitic tongues of Palestine and Arabia.”
This testimony may not serve prejudice, but to me it seems quite sufficient.
Let us now glance again at the opposition. A volume, on the Natural History of the Human Species, by Charles Hamilton Smith, quite false in many of its facts, and as mischievous as false, has been published recently in this country, and will, doubtless, be widely circulated, especially by those to whom the thought of human brotherhood is abhorrent. This writer says, after mentioning sundry facts touching the dense and spherical structure of the negro head:
“This very structure may influence the erect gait, which occasions the practice common also to the Ethiopian, or mixed nations, of carrying burdens and light weights, even to a tumbler full of water, upon the head.”
No doubt this seemed a very sage remark to Mr. Smith, and quite important in fixing a character to the negro skull, although different to that of Europeans. But if the learned Mr. Smith had stood, previous to writing it, at our door, (a few days in succession,) he might have seen hundreds of Germans and of Irish people, not bearing burdens of “light weight,” but of heavy weight, upon the same vertical extremity. The carrying of burdens upon the head is as old as Oriental Society; and the man writes himself a blockhead, who attempts to find in the custom a proof of original difference. On page 227, the same writer says:
“The voice of the negroes is feeble and hoarse in the male sex”
The explanation of this mistake in our author, is found in the fact, that an oppressed people, in addressing their superiors—perhaps I ought to say, their oppressors—usually assume a minor tone, as less likely to provoke the charge of intrusiveness. But it is ridiculous to pronounce the voice of the negro feeble; and the learned ethnologist must be hard pushed, to establish differences, when he refers to this as one. Mr. Smith further declares, that
“The typical woolly haired races have never discovered an alphabet, framed a grammatical language, nor made the least step in science or art.”
Now, the man is still living, (or was but a few years since,) among the Mandingoes of the Western coast of Africa, who has framed an alphabet; and while Mr. Smith may be pardoned for his ignorance of that fact, as an ethnologist, he is inexcusable for not knowing that the Mpongwe language, spoken on both sides of the Gaboon River, at Cape Lopez, Cape St. Catharine, and in the interior, to the distance of two or three hundred miles, is as truly a grammatically framed language as any extant. I am indebted, for this fact, to Rev. Dr. M. B. Anderson, President of the Rochester University; and by his leave, here is the Grammar—[holding up the Grammar.] Perhaps, of all the attempts ever made to disprove the unity of the human family, and to brand the negro with natural inferiority, the most compendious and barefaced is the book, entitled “Types of Mankind,” by Nott and Glidden. One would be well employed, in a series of Lectures, directed to an exposure of the unsoundness, if not the wickedness of this work. (24-28)
THE EFFECT OF CIRCUMSTANCES UPON THE PHYSICAL MAN.
A powerful argument in favor of the oneness of the human family, is afforded in the fact that nations, however dissimilar, may be united in one social state, not only without detriment to each other, but, most clearly, to the advancement of human welfare, happiness and perfection. While it is clearly proved, on the other hand, that those nations freest from foreign elements, present the most evident marks of deterioration. DR. JAMES MCCUNE SMITH, himself a colored man, a gentleman and scholar, alledges—and not without excellent reason—that this, our own great nation, so distinguished for industry and enterprise, is largely indebted to its composite character. We all know, at any rate, that now, what constitutes the very heart of the civilized world—(I allude to England)—has only risen from barbarism to its present lofty eminence, through successive invasions and alliances with her people. The Medes and Persians constituted one of the mightiest empires that ever rocked the globe. The most terrible nation which now threatens the peace of the world to make its will the law of Europe, is a grand piece of Mosaic work, in which almost every nation has its characteristic feature, from the wild Tartar to the refined Pole.
But, gentlemen, the time fails me, and I must bring these remarks to a close. My argument has swelled beyond its appointed measure. What I intended to make special, has become, in its progress, somewhat general. I meant to speak here to-day, for the lonely and the despised ones, with whom I was cradled, and with whom I have suffered; and now, gentlemen, in conclusion, what if all this reasoning be unsound? What if the negro may not be able to prove his relationship to Nubians, Abysinians and Egyptians? What if ingenious men are able to find plausible objections to all arguments maintaining the oneness of the human race? What, after all, if they are able to show very good reasons for believing the negro to have been created precisely as we find him on the Gold Coast—along the Senegal and the Niger—I say, what of all this?—“A man’s a man for a’ that.” I sincerely believe, that the weight of the argument is in favor of the unity of origin of the human race, or species—that the arguments on the other side are partial, superficial, utterly subversive of the happiness of man, and insulting to the wisdom of God. Yet, what if we grant they are not so? What, if we grant that the case, on our part, is not made out? Does it follow, that the negro should be held in contempt? Does it follow, that to enslave and imbrute him is either just or wise? I think not. Human rights stand upon a common basis; and by all the reason that they are supported, maintained and defended, for one variety of the human family, they are supported, maintained and defended for all the human family; because all mankind have the same wants, arising out of a common nature. A diverse origin does not disprove a common nature, nor does it disprove a united destiny. The essential characteristics of humanity are everywhere the same. In the language of the eloquent CURRAN, “No matter what complexion, whether an Indian or an African sun has burnt upon him,” his title deed to freedom, his claim to life and to liberty, to knowledge and to civilization, to society and to Christianity, are just and perfect. It is registered in the Courts of Heaven, and is enforced by the eloquence of the God of all the earth. (32-35)
Charles W. Mills, “Whose Fourth of July? Frederick Douglass and ‘Original Intent,’” in Bill E. Lawson and Frank M. Kirkland, Frederick Douglass: A Critical Reader (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1999), 100-42.
Roderick M. Stewart, “The Claims of Frederick Douglass Philosophically Considered,” in Bill E. Lawson and Frank M. Kirkland, Frederick Douglass: A Critical Reader (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1999), 145-72.