Tracing the struggle for freedom and civil rights across two centuries, this anthology comprises speeches by Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other influential figures in the history of African-American culture and politics.
The collection begins with Henry Highland Garnet's 1843 "An Address to the Slaves of the United States of America," followed by Jermain Wesley Loguen's "I Am a Fugitive Slave," the famous "Ain't I a Woman?" speech by Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglass's immortal "What, to the Slave, Is the Fourth of July?" Subsequent orators include John Sweat Rock, John M. Langston, James T. Rapier, Alexander Crummell, Booker T. Washington, Mary Church Terrell, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Francis J. Grimké, Marcus Garvey, and Mary McLeod Bethune. Martin Luther King, Jr.,'s "I Have a Dream" speech appears here, along with Malcolm X's "The Ballot or The Bullet," Shirley Chisholm's "The Black Woman in Contemporary America," "The Constitution: A Living Document" by Thurgood Marshall, and Barack Obama's "Knox College Commencement Address."