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Alfred J. Anderson to Frederick Douglass, February 3, 1849


Eaton, O., Feb. 3, 1849.

Frederick Douglass:ーYou have without a doubt ere this received the gratifying intelligence of the action on the 30th ult. of the Ohio Legislature on the Black Laws, which resulted in their unconditional repeal, by a vote of fifty-two to ten. The measure was unanimously supported by Whigs and Democrats, only six of the former and four of the latter voting in the negative. It will pass the Senate, though not without considerable resistance, by a strong minority. In this body there are several memebers holding their seats by pledges made before the election, to go against those laws. Some, however, already begin to show signs of recreancy. The other day, one of those so pledged remarked, in substance, that he did not believe his obligations to his constituents required him to support ALL, but that part only which relates to colored testimony in courts of law against white persons. As an act of justice he was willing to concede this, but he was not yet prepared to swallow a whole "nigger" wool and all.

A report amendatory to the common school law, making provisional arrangements for the education of colored children, was made, and I think will become a law.

These achievements of victory over the hitherto strong popular prejudices we have had to encounter on every hand, are such as should make us truly thankful to those who have so successfully advocated our rights and rendered us such signal aid in this our to be hoped great triumph. Five years ago, there could not have been found a dozen in either branch willing to have their names recorded in favor of repeal, such was its unpopularity at that time. Now there is a clear majority of forty-two in favor of it. True, certain influences, (and I am sorry to acknowledge the fact,) tended in some degree to produce this result, aside from that of mere considerations to extend the common protection of justice to the colored man. Notwithstanding this, the question has been made one of the issues during our last two gubernatorial canvasses; many of those most hostile at that time in their opposition, were found voting for it, I shall forbear expressing an opinion as to the motives of those so acting. Suffice it to say, that we at length have in part our rights recognized after the lapse of nearly half a century.

A. J. Anderson.


Anderson, Alfred J.




Alfred J. Anderson to Frederick Douglass. PLSr: NS, 16 February 1849. Expresses concern over repeal of Black Laws by Ohio legislature.


This document was calendared in the published volume and has not been published in full before.


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