Baltimore & the Fifteenth Amendment, May 19, 1870
An Interactive Historical Investigation by David Troy © 1996
made a speech as part of the celebration in Baltimore. It eloquently
addressed the blessings and the challenges that were inherent in the
passing of the 15th Amendment. However, we have no word-for-word record of
the speech. No notes have survived, and until these newspaper articles
were rediscovered, this speech was unknown to the papers of Frederick
Douglass. What was really said?
When Comparing the Speeches, Consider:
- Each newspaper refers to Douglass' oration differently.
Sun calls it "remarks" while the American calls it a "speech."
- The Sun mentions that Dr. Brown would be happy to have Mr.
Douglass back working with "them," while the American wishes to
have Mr. Douglass back with "us."
- The "remarks" in the Sun are longer than the "speech" in the
American. Why do you think this is?
- Which of the two accounts do you think is more poetic?
- Which of the two accounts do you think more accurately reflects what
was actually said?
- By reading these two accounts, do you think you could write a
composite speech that would closely approximate what was really said? Why
or why not?
Compare the Reporting in the Sun and the American