The state and the citizen of the state, by Reverend Jeremiah Eames Rankin, 1883
Prominent Congregational minister Jeremiah E. Rankin made the U.S. Constitution and the law the topic of his 1883 Thanksgiving Day sermon. In his address, he criticized both Congress and the Supreme Court for failing to protect the civil rights of African Americans. Rankin, who was white, later served as president of Howard University.
Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress
Preserving African American History
The Library of Congress has a broad approach to collecting materials, based on Thomas Jefferson’s belief that that “there is . . . no subject to which a Member of Congress may not have occasion to refer.” Assistant Librarian Daniel P. Murray (1852-1925) assembled a rich collection of rare books and pamphlets in the field of African American history. The items constitute an invaluable resource for Congress and the nation relating to issues such as black culture, politics, and civil rights from the 1850s to the 1920s.