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30 MAY 1871 289


and bring us to this country. They liked us so well that they would not let us
run away, but passed a “fugitive slave bill,” that if we should attempt to run
away we might be returned to our masters. There was nowhere in all this
Republic where black men could run where the Democrats couldn’t find
them. Now, after having “fetched” us here and borne with us in slavery, I
tell my Democratic friends that they should bear with us in liberty. Re-
publicans tell us it is but naked magnanimity to allow us to enjoy the
blessings of liberty. With the hearty wish that we may have triumphant
success on the 20th of April, 1 now take my seat.


Washington Evening Star, 30 May 1871. Other texts in Washington Daily Morning Chroni-
cle, 31 May 1871; New National Era, 1 June 1871; Douglass, Life and Times, 456—58.

Washington, D.C., and environs “presented a holiday look” on 30 May 1871,
the third national celebration of Memorial Day. As in years past, at Arlington
National Cemetery, where the Grand Army of the Republic conducted cere-
monies, the decorations were “of the most elaborate character and surpassed
those of any former year.” Arlington House was “festooned with evergreens”
and the grave of each soldier was “adorned with a wreath and . . . various
corp badges.” The main stand, which was large enough to “accommodate
about three hundred persons” including the president and cabinet, stood “in a
grove of oak trees” in the rear of Arlington House. A canopy of American
flags covered the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which itself was largely
concealed by wreaths and baskets of flowers. The ceremonies began at 12:30
P.M. with a procession from Arlington House to the burial ground. There the
Reverend Jeremiah E. Rankin offered a prayer, after which the graves were
decorated as a battery of four twelve-pounders fired a salute. From the burial
ground the procession moved to the main platform. Major Timothy Lubey,
department commander, called the assembly to order and delivered the first
address, succeeded by John Tweedle, who read a poem composed for the
occasion by O. E. L. Holmes. After Stuart L. Woodford’s address concluded
the ceremonies at the main stand, the assembly proceeded to the Tomb of the
Unknown Soldier, where the Reverend Frederick W. Hinckley offered a
prayer. Though Douglass, the last speaker, delivered only brief remarks, the
New National Era described his address as a “masterful effort.” The Marine
Band and the Beethoven Octette performed the music for the occasion.

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