SPEECH TO THE AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH MEMBERS

 

March 23, 1877

 Washington, DC

 

GENTLEMEN:  I thank you for this call and for the kindly sentiments which you entertain.  I did express anxiety with regard to the future condition of the colored people of our country, especially in the South; and I may add that I was anxious with regard to the condition of all our people.  I felt especially with regard to the former class that they could not be so well cared for, protected, and their best interests advanced under a Democratic Administration, however well-disposed toward them.  It shall be my purpose in the discharge of my official duties to care equally for all our people, and I assure you that the race represented by you will never be neglected by my Administration.  It should be understood that the appointment of Mr. Douglass, to which you refer, has more significance than a personal remembrance of that distinguished gentleman.  It should be accepted as an indication of a purpose to advance the equal rights of the people of the entire country.  I thank you for your call and kind expressions with regard to me and the policy of peace which I intend to pursue.