In January 1856, Sara G. Stanley, representing the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society of Delaware, Ohio, addressed the all-male Convention of Disfranchised Citizens of Ohio who met at the Columbus City Hall. She called upon the forty delegates who included among their ranks John Mercer Langston, Peter H. Clarke and Charles H. Langston, to relentlessly pursue full citizenship rights. Her address appears below.
To the Convention of Disfranchised Citizens of Ohio:
Gentlemen:—Convened as you are in the Capital City of our State—A State great in wealth, power, and political influence, an avowed devotee of Freedom, and a constituent part of a Christian Democratic Confederacy—to concoct measures for obtaining those rights and immunities of which unjust legislation has deprived you, we offer this testimonial of our sympathy and interest in the cause in which you are engaged—a cause fraught with infinite importance—and also express our earnest hope that such determination and invincible courage may be evinced by you in assembly as are requisite to meet the exigencies of the times.
Truth, Justice and Mercy, marshaling their forces, sounds the tocsin which summon the warrior in his burnished armor to the conflict against Error and Oppression. On earth’s broad arena—through Time’s revolving cycles—this warfare has been continuous; and now here, in this most brilliant star in the galaxy of nations, where Christianity and civilization, with their inestimable accompaniments and proclivities, have taken their abode and add their benign light to her stellate brightness—bands of her offspring, in very truth her own, despised, persecuted and crushed, assemble in scattered fragments to take the oath of fealty to Freedom, and swear eternal enmity to Oppression; to enter into a bond sacred and inviolable, ever to wage interminable intellectual and moral war against the demon,, and to demand the restoration of their birthright, Liberty—kindred of Deity. Nor is the path to victory strewn with flowers; obstacles formidable, and apparently