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I Denounce the So-Called Emancipation as a Stupendous Fraud

By Douglass, Frederick

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Book Id: WPLBN0100002655
Format Type: PDF (eBook)
File Size: 138.24 KB.
Reproduction Date: 04/17/1888

Title: I Denounce the So-Called Emancipation as a Stupendous Fraud  
Author: Douglass, Frederick
Language: English
Subject: Non Fiction, History of America, Emancipation
Collections: Politics, Authors Community
Publication Date:
Publisher: Washington National Republican
Member Page: History Is A Weapon .org


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Douglass, F. (1888). I Denounce the So-Called Emancipation as a Stupendous Fraud. Retrieved from

Speech by Frederick Douglass on the occasion of the Twenty-Sixth Anniversary of Emancipation in the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C., April 16, 1888.

In 1888, Douglass visited South Carolina and Georgia and realized how little he had known about the true conditions of his people in the South. On April 10, soon after his return, he wrote to one of the leaders of a movement for encouraging the emigration of southern Negroes to the northwest: "I had hoped that the relations subsisting between the former slaves and the old master class would gradually improve; but while I believed this, and still have some such weak faith, I have of late seen enough, heard enough, and learned enough of the condition of these people in South Carolina and Georgia, to make me welcome any movement which will take them out of the wretched condition in which I now know them to be. While I shall continue to labor for increased justice to those who stay in the South, I give you my hearty `God-speed' in your emigration scheme. I believe you are doing a good work." A few days later, he spoke in Washington at the celebration of the twenty-sixth anniversary of emancipation in the District of Columbia. His address revealed how deeply he had been moved by his southern tour. His voice quivered with rage as he described how the Negro was "nominally free" but actually a slave. In earnest tones, he told the nation: "I here and now denounce his so-called emancipation as a stupendous fraud — a fraud upon him, a fraud upon the world." He drew a terrifying picture of the exploitation of the southern Negro.... Here was the old Douglass, the forceful anti-slavery orator who had moved audiences on two continents, the man who could bring home more vividly than any other speaker the evils of slavery and the necessity to overthrow it. Here was the tribune of the Negro people presenting the most powerful indictment of the new slavery in the new South.


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