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Category: History

What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?

The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, 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.

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The Freedmen’s Bureau Bill Proposal​

Congressman Thaddeus Stevens offered an amendment to Freedmen’s Bureau bill authorizing the distribution of public land and confiscated land and to freedmen and loyal refugees in forty-acre lots. The measure was defeated in the House by a vote of 126 to 37. A black delegation, led by Frederick Douglas called on President Johnson and urged ballots for former slaves. Meeting ended in disagreement and controversy after Johnson reiterated his opposition to black suffrage.