That is what I ask to be recorded of me.
The angel wrote and vanished. The next night
It came again, with a great awakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed.
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
I desire that the book shall be a help to students, male
and female, in the way of information concerning our
I have noticed in my long experience as a teacher, that
many of my students were wofully ignorant of the work
of our great colored men—even ignorant of their names.
If they knew their names, it was some indefinable some¬
thing they had done—just what, they could not tell. If in
a slight degree I shall here furnish the data for that class
of rising men and women, I shall feel much pleased. Here¬
in will be found many who had severe trials in making
their way through schools of different grades. It is a
suitable book, it is hoped, to be put into the hands of intel¬
ligent, aspiring young people everywhere, that they might
see the means and manners of men's elevation, and by this
be led to undertake the task of going through high schools
and colleges. If the persons herein mentioned could rise
to the exalted stations which they have and do now hold,
what is there to prevent any young man or woman from
achieving greatness? Many, yea, nearly all these came
from the loins of slave fathers, and were the babes of
women in bondage, and themselves felt the leaden hand of
slavery on their own bodies; but whether slaves or not,
they suffered with their brethren because of color. That
"sum of human villainies" did not crush out the life and