Narrative of Sojourner Truth
"REMARKS BY REV. GILBERT HAVEN.
"A collection was then taken up, a hymn sung by the choir, and Rev. Gilbert Haven introduced. He had the misfortune, he said, of coming after the king (referring to Mr. Fulton) and before the queen (referring to Sojourner Truth), and of course a person in that position was of very little account except to get out of the way. But such things were matters of necessity, and he would endeavor to do his best. He dwelt at some length upon the emancipation proclamation and spoke particularly of the happiness manifested by Frederick Douglass upon the occasion of its declaration. The time of this anniversary meeting had been most appropriately chosen. It was fitting that we celebrate this great event upon a Sabbath evening, for in the Bible itself we find that the most sacred festival was on account of the deliverance from
212the land of bondage. The present situation of affairs must be accepted with all our hearts. If we do not so accept it, there is more danger in ourselves than we are aware of. As to our duty to the South and to the colored people, Mr. Haven said there must be a brotherly feeling everywhere. First, we must assist in Christianizing our emancipated brethren, both white and black, in the South. By so doing we shall be disarmed of our prejudice and hostility. Secondly, we must give them education. There is a passion of thirst for it there, and there are a great many ways of working it out. There's the Institute of Instruction in Washington, and freedmen's societies. But, some way or other, we must put ourselves in connection with the teacher of the South. We need the school system. Thirdly, we must add to churches and schools prohibition. Mr. Haven spoke of the terrible system of intemperance which prevails, and called for the immediate and unconditional extirpation of it by a rigid prohibitory law. They have got to have prohibition down South. The black men are becoming terribly demoralized by rum; and America has got to meet this issue or America goes to ruin. Boston is fast becoming a Sodom and a hell; on every side this demoralization is occurring. There is also work to be done in Boston. We must have a national education and a national prohibition; and one thing more we need, and that is homes, lands for the freedmen. That I shall let my good friend chiefly dwell upon.
"Thus introduced, Sojourner Truth took the stand. She spoke about half an hour, substantially as follows,
213the piquancy of her remarks being greatly hightened by the inimitable patois, if it may be so called, of her expression:--