Oration in memory of Abraham Lincoln by Frederick Douglas, given on April 14, 1876, the anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination and of the emancipation of the slaves in the District of Columbia.
All day long he could split heavy rails in the woods, and half the night long he could study his English grammar by the uncertain flare and glare of the light made by a pine knot. He was at home on the land with his ax, with his maul, with gluts, and his wedges, and he was equally at home on water, with his oars, with his poles, with his planks, with his boat hooks.And whether in his flat boat on the Mississippi river or at the fireside of his frontier cabin, he was a man of work. A son of toil himself, he was linked in brotherly sympathy with the sons of toil in every loyal part of the Republic. This very fact gave him tremendous power with the American people, and materially contributed not only to selecting him to the Presidency, but in sustaining his administration of the government.