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[196]

Response

to the celebration of my Eightieth Birthday by the colored citizens of Washington D. C.

gentlemen,—Among the great number of tokens of interest and good — will which reached me on my birthday, none have touched me more deeply than the proceedings of the great meeting of the colored citizens of the nation's capital, of which you are the representatives. The resolutions of that meeting came to me as the voice of millions of my fellow-countrymen. That voice was dumb in slavery when, more than half a century ago, I put forth my plea for the freedom of the slave.

It could not answer me from the rice swamp and cotton field, but now, God be praised, it speaks from your great meeting in Washington and from all the colleges and schools where the youth of your race are taught. I scarcely expected then that the people for whom I pleaded would ever know of my efforts in their behalf. I cannot be too thankful to the Divine Providence that I have lived to hear their grateful response.

I stand amazed at the rapid strides which your people have made since emancipation, at your industry, your acquisition of property and land, your


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George W. Williams (1)
R. H. Terrell (1)
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