BY GUEST BLOGGER, YAHTZEEBUTTERFLY
On January 1, 1900 The Rev. Dr. A. L. DeMond welcomed the new year and the new century with a speech which he delivered at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church (later to become pastored by Dr. Martin Luther King) in Montgomery, Alabama. Were it not for the Emancipation Proclamation Association publishing his speech pamphlet form, we might never have learned of Rev. DeMond or of his speech titled “The Negro Element in American Life, An Oration.”
Those members of the Dexter Avenue Baptist congregation in attendance on New Year’s Day in 1900 were treated to an oration which honored past and contemporary African Americans who championed freedom for slaves and civil rights for freedmen, as well as those African Americans who served in the U.S. Congress and in state legislatures, who advanced the education of African Americans, and who were great lawyers, doctors, military officers, writers, and artists.
Rev. DeMond asserted:
“There has never been a time since this nation was founded, so terrible in its oppression, so awful in its conditions, so cruel in its prejudices, but that Negro manhood, genius or bravery has been able to assert itself.”