In this 1863 recruitment broadside written by Frederick Douglass and published in Philadelphia, African Americans were urged to volunteer for the Union army to secure liberty and prove their worth to society as both men and citizens. Douglass warned through the broadside that should African Americans fail to act in the "golden moment" waiting to be taken advantage of, their families, homes, race and country would be doomed. Fifty-five leaders in the Philadelphia African-American community endorsed this call for volunteers.
- For what reasons should African Americans have volunteered to enlist in the Union army according to Frederick Douglass, the author of this broadside?
- Why did Douglass paint that particular time in history as a "golden" and "most precious moment" for African Americans?
- Would you consider this to be an effective recruitment message? Explain why or why not using evidence from the document itself.
- According to Douglass, how could the future change for African Americans if they helped defeat the Confederacy by serving in the Union army?
"Men of Color to Arms! Now or Never!" 1863. Courtesy of Library of Congress