Portraits of American History: A Vote that Mattered & The Rev. Henry Highland Garnet

At the close of the American Civil War, both exhaustion and tension rose high and traveled deep into the hearts of men. Yet for some, exuberant expectations ran just as high and deep!

To bring the Emancipation Proclamation into it’s full strength and power, the people knew that more change was necessary. In order to keep slavery out of our country, we needed an Amendment to the Constitution to clearly spell out plainly that it’s evils will no longer prevail – more intentional spilling of ink rather than blood. Thus, the 13th Amendment was drafted, refined and it was proposed in 1863 – the same year the Emancipation Proclamation came into effect. It was subsequently voted on in 1865. Let’s go to that moment:

Returning to 1865, while there were numerous celebrations by black Americans and others at the end of the Civil War, even before the war had come to an end, a vote had been held in Congress on the constitutional amendment and a poster was quickly issued to honor the 137 members of Congress who had voted to end slavery. 

At the time of the vote, there were 118 Republicans in Congress and 82 northern Democrats. Of the 118 Republicans, all 118 voted to abolish slavery; of the 82 Democrats, only 19 voted to end slavery – only 23 percent of Democrats – and those were the northern Democrats! … 

When the vote was taken in Congress on the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery, the chambers were packed from wall to wall with expectant observers. After the numbers were counted and it was announced that the amendment passed, a roar erupted from the thousands in the chamber; hats were thrown and voices were raised in exuberant cheers. Congress had voted to end slavery! How should something that profound be celebrated? 

Members of the House asked that a sermon be preached to commemorate the event. And whom did they ask to preach the sermon? The Rev. Henry Highland Garnet, who became the first African American to speak in the halls of Congress.

Barton, David, Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White, WallBuilders Press: Aledo, 2004, pgs. 37-39

This is the account from Wikipedia:

In mid-January 1865, Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax estimated the amendment to be five votes short of passage. Ashley postponed the vote.[57] At this point, Lincoln intensified his push for the amendment, making direct emotional appeals to particular members of Congress.[58] On January 31, 1865, the House called another vote on the amendment, with neither side being certain of the outcome. With 183 House members present, 122 would have to vote “aye” to secure passage of the resolution; however, eight Democrats abstained, reducing the number to 117. Every Republican (84), Independent Republican (2), and Unconditional Unionist (16) supported the measure, as well as fourteen Democrats, almost all of them lame ducks, and three Unionists. The amendment finally passed by a vote of 119 to 56,[59] narrowly reaching the required two-thirds majority.[60] The House exploded into celebration, with some members openly weeping.[61] Black onlookers, who had only been allowed to attend Congressional sessions since the previous year, cheered from the galleries.[62]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitutio
Barton, David, Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White, WallBuilders Press: Aledo, 2004, pgs. 42

You can read the original sermon here.

Published in: on 7 AMpMon, 17 Aug 2020 11:08:12 -040008Monday 2016 at 11:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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Book Quotes | 13 August 2020

Okay, so I have been reading a lot lately – well, a lot for a husband and father of three who works way too much…so probably not that much, but for me it’s been much more than recent history… Not that we have that cleared up, this is probably going to be pretty extensive, so here we go:

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Up From Slavery: An Autobiography by Booker T. Washington

Edition I am reading | image taken from: http://www.randomhousebooks.com/books/185981/

Of my father I know even less than of my mother. I do not even know his name. I have heard reports to the effect that he was a white man who lived on one of the near-by plantations. Whoever he was, I never heard of his taking the least interest in me or providing in any way for my rearing. But I do not find especial fault with him. He was simply another unfortunate victim of the institution which the Nation unhappily had engrafted upon it at that time.

Washington, Booker T., Up From Slavery: An Autobiography, New York, NY: Modern Library, Random House 1999, pg. 4 [fyi, this was originally published in 1901]

So far as I can now recall, the first knowledge that I got of the fact that we were slaves, and that freedom of the slaves was being discussed, was early one morning before day, when I was awakened by my mother kneeling over her children and fervently praying that Lincoln and his armies might be successful, and that one day she and her children might be free. In this connection I have never been able to understand how the slaves throughout the South, completely ignorant as were the masses so far as books or newspapers were concerned, were able to keep themselves so accurately and completely informed about the great National questions that were agitating the country. From the time that Garrison, Lovejoy, and others began to agitate for freedom, the slaves throughout the South kept in close touch with the progress of the movement. Though I was a mere child during the preparation for the Civil War and during the war itself, I now recall the many late-at-night whispered discussions that I heard my mother and the other slaves on the plantation indulge in. These discussions showed that they understood the situation, and that they kept themselves informed of events by what was termed the ‘grape-vine’ telegraph.

Ibid, pgs. 6-7

One may get the idea, from what I have said, that there was bitter feeling toward the white people on the part of my race, because of the fact that most of the white population was away fighting in a war which would result in keeping Negro in slavery if the South was successful. In the case of the slaves on our place this was not true, and it was not true of any large portion of the slave population in the South where the Negro was treated with anything like decency. … I know of a case on a large plantation in the South in which a young white man, the son of the former owner of the estate, has become so reduced in purse and self-control by reason of drink that he is a pitiable creature; and yet, notwithstanding the poverty of the coloured people themselves on this plantation, they have for years supplied this young white man with the necessities of life. One sends him a little coffee or sugar, another a little meat, and so on.

Ibid, pgs. 10-11

Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe. This is so to such an extent that Negroes in this country, who themselves or whose forefathers went through the school of slavery, are constantly returning to Africa as missionaries to enlighten those who remained in the fatherland. This I say, not to justify slavery – on the other hand, I condemn it as an institution, as we all know that in America it was established for selfish and financial reasons, and not from a missionary motive – but to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose.

Ibid, pg. 12

And that’s just in the first chapter of this amazing book…

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Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message by Ravi Zacharias

All-inclusive philosophies can only come at the cost of truth. And no religion denies its core beliefs. Within such systemic relativism …

Zacharias, Ravi, Jesus Among Other Gods, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2000, pg. 7

Unsuspecting people make a fatal mistake when they give their allegiance to a system of thought by focusing on its benefits while they ignore its systemic contradictions. The entire life of anyone making prophetic or divine claims must be observed in concert with the teaching offered. Numerous historical and philosophical matters come into play when one seriously evaluates such claims.

Ibid, pg. 55

You see, that is the way God has designed us. One of the most startling things about life is that it does not start with reason and end with faith. It starts in childhood with faith and is sustained either by reasoning through that faith or by blindly leaving the reason for faith unaddressed. The child’s mind has a very limited capacity to inform if of the reason for its trust. But whether she nestles on her mother’s shoulder, nurses at her mother’s breast, or runs into her father’s arms, she does so because of an implicit trust that those shoulders will bear her, that her food will sustain her, and that those arms will hold her. If over time that trust is tested, it will be the character of the parent that will either prove that trust wise or foolish. Faith is not bereft of reason.

Ibid, pg. 60

Do you see what has happened? The skeptic started by presenting a long list of horrific things, saying, ‘These are immoral, therefore there is no God.’ But to raise these issues as moral issues is to assume a state of affairs that evolution cannot afford. There is just no way to arrive at a morally compelling ought, given the assumption of naturalism. What then does the skeptic do? He denies objective moral values because to accept such a reality would be to allow for the possibility of God’s existence. He concludes then that there really isn’t such a thing as evil after all.

Ibid, pg. 114

When evil justifies itself by posturing as morality, God becomes the devil and the devil, God. That exchange makes one impervious to reason.

Ibid, pg. 154

That last quote is a great description of American culture currently…

I have been reading some other things too, but this will suffice for now. More to come, but this is waxing long enough. Blessings on your readings.

What do you think?! Do any of these quotes strike a chord with you? Let me know in the comments!

Published in: on 7 AMpThu, 13 Aug 2020 06:34:00 -040034Thursday 2016 at 6:34 am  Comments (6)  
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