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William Cooper Nell (1816 – 1874) was an African-American abolitionist, journalist, publisher, author, and civil servant of Boston, Massachusetts, who worked for integration of schools and public facilities in the state. Writing for abolitionist newspapers The Liberator and The North Star, he helped publicize the anti-slavery cause.
Nell's short histories, Services of Colored Americans in the Wars of 1776 and 1812 (1851) and The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution (1855), were the first studies published about African Americans. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Nell worked to have blacks accepted as soldiers in the Union Army.
In Nell's book "Services of Colored Americans in the Wars of 1776 and 1812" he writes:
"Some things set down here go to prove colored men patriotic — though denied a country; and all show a wish, on their part, to prove themselves men. The colored people, therefore, owe it to each other and to their race to extend liberal encouragement to colored lawyers, physicians and teachers, as well as to mechanics and artisans of all kinds. Let no individual despair. Not to name the living, let me hold up the example of one whose career deserves to be often spoken of, as complete proof that a colored man can rise to social respect and the highest employment and usefulness, in spite not only of the prejudice that crushes his race, but of the heaviest personal burdens.
"There is touching eloquence, as well as Spartan brevity, in the appeal of a well known colored man, Rev. Peter Williams, of New York:
'We are natives of this country; we ask only to be treated as well as foreigners. Not a few of our fathers suffered and bled to purchase its independence; we ask only to be treated as well as those who fought against it. We have toiled to cultivate it, and to raise it to its present prosperous condition; we ask only to share equal privileges with those who come from distant lands to enjoy the fruits of our labor.'"
Kosciusko's tribute to colored man.
A TRIBUTE FROM THE EMANCIPATION,
A TRIBUTE FROM THE EMANCIPATION