ALS signed “Fred'k Douglass,” one page, 5 x 8, March 31, 1877. Letter to attorney and pioneering civil rights activist Albion Tourgee, who would later litigate the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson case. In full: "I am thankful for your kind congratulations. I would write you a long letter if the pressure upon me during these final hours of my office were removed. You will take the will for the deed. My appointment is another step in the upward course of my race and I rejoice to be identified with it." In fine condition, with old mounting remnants on the back of the blank integral page.
At this time, President Rutherford B. Hayes had just assumed office and appointed Douglass as United States Marshal for the District of Columbia—the highest political office to be held by an African American at that point. Douglass accepted the commission and became the first African American confirmed for a presidential appointment by the US Senate. Recognizing it not just as a personal achievement, but "another step in the upward course of my race," Douglass remained in the position until 1881, when he was made recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia.
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