The Fifteenth Amendment. Celebrated May 19th, 1870 / from an original design by James C. Beard.
Another of several large commemorative prints marking the enactment, on March 30, 1870, of the Fifteenth Amendment and showing the grand May 19 celebratory parade in Baltimore. (See also nos. 1870-2 and 1870-3). Here the central image shows the parade crossing a green in sight of Baltimore's Washington Monument. A float carrying four young women wearing crowns and sheltered by a canopy, drawn by four white horses, leads the parade. The float is followed by a troop of Zouave drummers, two rows of men in top hats (some wearing sashes), as well as ranks of troops and other floats. The parade scene is surrounded by several vignettes. In the upper corners appear bust portraits of President Ulysses S. Grant (left corner) and Vice President Schuyler S. Colfax. In the top center are three black leaders: Martin Robinson Delany, author and the first black major in the U.S. Army; abolitionist and U.S. marshal for the District of Columbia Frederick Douglass; and Mississippi senator Hiram Rhoades Revels. At the sides are (left, top to bottom) a young black man reading the Emancipation Proclamation, three black men with Masonic sashes and banners ("We Unite in the Bonds of Fellowship with the Whole Human Race"), an open Bible ("Our Charter of Rights"), and a bust portrait of Abraham Lincoln. In the lower left corner is a classroom scene in a black school, labeled "Education Will Prove the Equality of the Races." In the lower right corner a black pastor preaches to his congregation, with the motto "The Holy Ordinances of Religion Are Free" below. To the right of the central scene are (top to bottom): two free blacks who "till our own fields;" a black officer commanding his troops ("We Will Protect Our Country as It Defends Our Rights"); a bust portrait of John Brown; and a black man reading to his family ("Freedom Unites the Family Circle"). The bottom row shows three more scenes (left to right): a black wedding ceremony ("Liberty Protects the Marriage Alter"); a black man voting ("The Ballot Box Is Open To Us"); and Senator Revels in the House of Representatives ("Our Representative Sits in the National Legislature"). Kelly, the publisher, also issued a much smaller version of the print (no. 1870-5).
B3159 U.S. Copyright Office.
Title from item.
Entered accord. to Act of Congress in the year 1871 by Thomas Kelly in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.
Copyright number inscribed in pencil on lower right corner.
Published in: American political prints, 1766-1876 / Bernard F. Reilly. Boston : G.K. Hall, 1991, entry 1870-4.
Exhibited: "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 : A Long Struggle for Freedom" at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., March 2015 - January 2016.
Freemasonry's impact on America is more significant than anything that speculation would hold. A movement that emerged from the Reformation, Freemasonry was the widespread and well-connected organization. It may seem strange for liberal principles to coexist with a secretive society but masonry embraced religious toleration and liberty principles, helping to spread them through the American colonies. In a young America, Masonic ideals flourished. In Boston in 1775, Freemasonic officials who were part of a British garrison granted local freemen of color the right to affiliate as Masons. The African Lodge No. 1. was named after the order's founder, Prince Hall, a freed slave. It represented the first black-led abolitionist movement in American history. One of the greatest symbols of Freemasonry, the eye-and-pyramid of the Great Seal of the United States, is still on the back of the dollar bill. The Great Seal's design was created under the direction of Benjamin Franklin (another Freemason), Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. Freemasonry principles strengthened America's founding commitment to the individual's pursuit of meaning. Beyond fascination with symbolism and secrecy, this ideal represents Freemasonry's highest contribution to U.S. life. Freemasons rejected a European past in which one overarching authority regulated the exchange of ideas. Washington, a freemason, in a letter to the congregation of a Rhode Island synagogue wrote: "It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it was the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily, the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens..." Freemasonry's most radical idea was the coexistence of different faiths within a single nation.