An excerpt from a speech in which former slave, Bayley Wyat, protests the eviction of blacks from confiscated Virginia plantations.
We has a right to the land here we are located. For why? I tell you. Our wives, our children, our husbands, have been sold over and over again to purchase the lands we now locate upon; for that reason we have a divine right to the land. … And then didn’t we clear the land and raise the crops of corn, of cotton, of tobacco, of rice, of sugar, of everything? And then didn’t large cities in the North grow up on the cotton and the sugars and the rice that we made! … I say they have grown rich, and my people are poor.
Bayley Wyat, A Freedman’s speech. Philadelphia: Published by Friends’ association of Philadelphia and its vicinity for the relief of colored freedmen, circa 1866, Library of Congress, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.rbc/rbpe.1590140b.