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496 BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

dangerous, even to itself, when secured by disfranchising freemen. It will,
I believe, after learning the lesson, be ready to grant equal rights to all.”

THE SOUTH KNOWS US: AN ADDRESS DELIVERED
IN BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, ON 4 MAY 1879

Baltimore American, 5 May 1879, and Baltimore Sun, 5 May 1879.

On the evening of 4 May 1879 Douglass addressed the issue of black emigra-
tion to Kansas at a gathering in Baltimore’s Centennial African Methodist
Episcopal Church. As reported in the New York Times, the “large and mixed
audience” frequently applauded during the course of his three-hour remarks.
Although that newspaper refrained from criticizing Douglass’s speech, other
journals were far from reticent. The Topeka (Kans.) Colored Citizen asserted
that Douglass, in condemning the emigration to Kansas, “does not represent
the views of the best thinkers of his race to-day.” The Washington National
Republican chastised Douglass for his failure to appreciate fully the “real
causes” for the Exodus and reminded him that in 1838 he too made a “manly
effort to be free, and so does his race in the South.” By far the angriest
response to Douglass’s address came from the Virginia Star: “Men some-
times live just long enough, after winning honor and distinction to commit
some unbecoming act which throws all their former greatness and renown into
the shade.” Washington National Republican, 5 May 1879; New York Times,
5 May 1879; Topeka (Kans.) Colored Citizen, 10 May 1879.

Friends—I regret that I have to begin the few remarks which I shall make
with an apology, but in my haste in leaving home I was so unfortunate as to
leave my satchel which contained the manuscript of my lecture. I was far
from the railroad station when I found out my mistake only too late to
remedy it. I thought, which you may place to my vanity, that it would be
better for me to lecture without my manuscript than not to lecture at all.

The relations existing between the white and colored people of the
country, notwithstanding all that has been said and done respecting them,
are not what I would wish them to be. It is a question for this age and nation
to solve. Thoughtful men of both races are giving more or less attention to
this subject, and very properly so, for we are here in the same country,
under the same government, filling the places of citizens, and yet we are,
as a race, held in question, and our relations are not such as are desirable
and not such as they can continue to be. We shall either rise higher in the

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