Men of Color, To Arms!

Creator: Frederick Douglass

Context: This March 1863 editorial appeared while the Civil War was still very much in doubt, just a few months before the war's crucial turning points occurred at Gettysburg and Vicksburg.

Audience: African-American men.

Purpose: To convince its audience to join the Union Army.

Historical Significance: Douglass believed that if free blacks and escaped slaves fought for the Union, they could not be denied full citizenship after the war. Blacks were not allowed to enlist until January 1863, so by enlisting they were seizing a new position of equality.