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Civil War and Reconstruction
The Freedmen
Call for the First Anniversary of the American Equal Rights Association

Many abolitionists were also active in the women's suffrage movement. After the Civil War, they argued for equal rights for black Americans. Below is a document from the American Equal Rights Association. Are any of the names in this document familiar to you? What does the participation of these people tell you about the American Equal Rights Association? What was the main purpose of the document? Do you think the authors had other purposes as well? Why or why not? What arguments do the authors use to make their points?

View the entire document from which this excerpt was taken from Votes for Women, 1848-1921. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.

The first Annual Meeting of the American Equal Rights Association will be held in the City of New York, at the Church of the Puritans, on Thursday and Friday, the 9th and 10th of May next, commencing on Thursday morning, at 10 o'clock.

The object of this Association is to "secure Equal Rights to all American citizens, especially the Right of Suffrage, irrespective of race, color or sex."

American Democracy has interpreted the Declaration of Independence in the interest of slavery, restricting suffrage and citizenship to a white male minority.

The black man is still denied the crowning right of citizenship, even in the nominally free States, though the fires of civil war have melted the chains of chattelism, and a hundred battle-fields attest his courage and patriotism.

Half our population are disfranchised on the ground of sex; and though compelled to obey the law and taxed to support the government, they have no voice in the legislation of the country.

This Association, then, has a mission to perform, the magnitude and importance of which cannot be over-estimated.

The recent war has unsettled all our governmental foundations. Let us see that in their restoration, all these unjust proscriptions are avoided. Let Democracy be defined anew, as the government of the people, AND THE WHOLE PEOPLE.

Let the gathering, then, at this anniversary be, in numbers and character, worthy, in some degree, the demands of the hour. The black man, even the black soldier, is yet but half emancipated, nor will he be, until full suffrage and citizenship, are secured to him in the Federal Constitution. Still more deplorable is the condition of the black woman; and legally, that of the white woman is no better!

Shall the sun of the nineteenth century go down on wrongs like these, in this nation, consecrated in its infancy to justice and freedom? Rather let out meeting be pledge as well as prophecy to the world of mankind, that the redemption of at least one great nation is near at hand.

There will be four sessions-Thursday, May 9th, at 10 o'clock a.m. and 8 o'clock p.m.; Friday, May 13th, at 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The speakers will be Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Gen. Rufus Saxton, Frances D. Gage, Parker Pillsbury, Robert Purvis, Mary Grew, Ernestine L. Rose, Charles Lenox Remond, Frederick Douglass, Lucy Stone, Henry B. Blackwell, Rev. Olympia Brown, Sojourner Truth (Mrs. Stowe's "Lybian Sybil"), Rev. Samuel J. May, and others.

In behalf of the American Equal Rights Association,


SUSAN B. ANTHONY, Cor. Secretary.

HENRY B. BLACKWELL, Rec. Secretary.

New York, 12th March, 1867.
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View the entire document from which this excerpt was taken from Votes for Women, 1848-1921. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.