Civil War recruiting broadside, by Frederick Douglass

Internet editing copyright 2004 by Hugo S. Cunningham
Based on poster printed in the "New York Times," Monday 19 Jul 2004 p. B5,
from the Gilder Lehrman collection.
The original text by Frederick Douglass is in the public domain.

first posted 20040719
minor change 2008/1119




This is our golden moment! The government of the United States calls for every Able-bodied Colored Man to enter the Army for the

Three Years Service!

and join in fighting the Battles of Liberty and the Union. A new era is upon us. For generations we have suffered under the horrors of slavery, outrage and wrong; our manhood has been denied, our citzenship blotted out, our souls seared and burned, our spirits cowed and crushed, and the hopes of the future of our race involved in doubts and darkness. But now our relations to the white race are changed. Now therefore is our most precious moment. Let us Rush to Arms!


on this the soil of our birth. We must now awake, arise, or be forever fallen. If we value liberty, if we wish to be free in this land, if we love our country, if we love our families, our children, our home, we must strike now while the country calls; we must rise up in the dignity of our manhood, and show by our own right arms that we are worthy to be freemen. Our enemies have made the country believe that we are craven cowards, without soul, without manhood, without the spirit of soldiers. Shall we die with this stigma resting upon our graves? Shall we leave this inheritance of Shame to our Children? NO! We Will Rise! The alternative is upon us. Let us rather die freemen than live to be slaves. What is life without liberty? We say that we have manhood: now is the time to prove it. A nation or a people that cannot fight may be pitied, but cannot be respected. If we would be regarded men, if we would forever silence the tongue of Calumny, of Prejudice and Hate, let us Rise Now and Fly to Arms! We have seen what Valor and Heroism our Brothers displayed at Port Hudson and Milliken's Bend, though they are just from the galling, poisoning grasp of Slavery, they have startled the World by the most exalted heroism. If they have proved themselves heroes, cannot WE PROVE OURSELVES MEN?


More than a Million White Men have left Comfortable Homes and joined the Armies of the Union to save their Country. Cannot we leave ours and swell the Hosts of the Union, to save our liberties, vindicate our manhood, and deserve well of our Country. MEN OF COLOR! The Englishman, the Irishman, the Frenchman, the German, the American have been called to assert their claim to freedom and a manly character, by an appeal to the sword. The day that has seen an enslaved race in arms has, in all history, seen their last trial. We now see that our last opportunity has come. If we are not lower in the scale of humanity than Englishmen, Irishmen, White Americans and other Races, we can show it now. Men of Color, Brothers and Fathers, we appeal to you by all your concern for yourselves and your liberties, by all your regard for God and humanity, by all your desire for Citizenship and Equality before the law, by all your love for the Country, to stop at no subterfuge, listen to nothing that shall deter you from rallying for the Army. Come Forward, and at once Enroll your Names for the Three Years' Service. Strike now, and you are hence and forever Freemen!

E. D. Bassett,Rev. J. Underdue, P. J. Armstrong,Rev. J. C. Gibbs, Elijah J. Davis,
William D. Forten,John W. Price, J. W. Simpson,Daniel George, John P. Burr,
Frederick Douglass,Augustus Dorsey, Rev. J. H. Trusty,Robert M. Adger, Robert Jones,
Wm. Whipper,Rev. Stephen Smith, S. Morgan Smith,Henry M. Cropper, O. V. Catto,
D. D. Turner,N. W. Depee, William E. Gipson,Rev. J. B. Reeve, Thos. J. Dorsey,
Jas. McCrummell,Rev. J. H. Wilson, Rev. J. Boulden,Rev. J. A. Williams, I. D. Cliff,
A. S. Cassey,J. W. Cassey, Rev. J. Asher,Rev. A. L. Stanford, Jacob C. White,
A. M. Green,James Needham, Rev. Elisha Weaver,Thomas J. Bowers, Morris Hall,
J. W. Page,Ebenezer Black, David B. Bowser,J. C. White, Jr., J. P. Johnson,
L. R. Seymour,James R. Gordon, Henry Minton,Rev. J. P. Campbell, Franklin Turner,
Rev. William T. Catto,Samuel Stewart, Daniel ColleyRev. W. J. Alston, Jesse E. Glasgow.

A Meeting in furtherance of the above named object will be held

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