[In Pursuit of Freedom for Three Hundred and Forty Four Years: Emancipation Anniversary by Dr. Benjamin E. Mays]

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Isaac R. Clark Memorial Collection

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Dr. Benjamin E. Mays celebrates the emancipation proclamation anniversary by giving a speech on the history of the Negros pursuit for freedom at the Interdenominational Theological Center. In the speech he discusses various Negro movements. Those movements include early rebellions on slave ships and later rebellions led by Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner in Virginia and South Carolina. Dr. Mays also recognizes later movement leaders and organizations including Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, NAACP, National Urban League, Marcus Garvey, Nation of Islam, and Martin Luther King Jr.

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00:00:06 Benjamin E. Mays greets members gathered at the Interdenominational Theological Center.

00:01:20 Introduces his subject “In Pursuit of Freedom for Three Hundred and Forty Four Years.” Talks about Negros pursuing freedom.

00:01:54 Talks about the untruth of Negros being satisfied with bondage and they put forth no efforts to free themselves. Talks about instances of rebellions on slave ships before they reached America.

00:02:56 Talks about Negro slaves beginning to register their disapproval of being held in bondage as early as 1663.

00:04:31 Talks about how by 1694 lawlessness among the slaves had become so widespread that governor Andrews had complained that there was “insufficient enforcement of the code.”

00:06:53 Talks about how perhaps the most widely known attempts to free the slaves were the insurrection of Denmark Vesey of South Carolina and Nat Turner of Virginia.

00:13:51 Talks about the Negro pursuit of freedom since 1865. The first method was work of Negros in the legislatures of the southern states. Talks about lynching was respected and revered in the South.

00:16:53 Talks about how no Negro up until Booker T. Washington’s time had impressed American mind as he did.

00:18:29 Talks about how Booker T. Washington laid greater emphasis on training the hands to the skill work.

00:21:27 Talks about how Washington’s pursuit of freedom was modified by W.E.B. DuBois and NAACP.

00:24:29 Talks about another path toward freedom utilized by Negroes is the National Urban League.

00:25:17 Talks about how Marcus Garvey came to New York in the second decade of the 20th century.

00:31:02 Talks about the Black Muslims and similarities to Marcus Garvey movement.

00:37:37 Talks about how the non-violent protest movement led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a significant path in search of freedom.

00:42:32 Talks about how the political climate has changed and the universal availability of the ballot.

00:47:30 Presentation ends.

00:47:42 Dr. Harry V. Richardson asks out of appreciation for this message all stand and give thanks.


The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library acknowledges the generous support of the National Endowment for Humanities - Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Implementation Project Grant in supporting the processing and digitization of a number of its major archival collections as part of the project: Spreading the Word: Expanding Access to African American Religious Archival Collections at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library.


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