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freedom―that South, thank God, is
living, breathing, and growing every
hour.” He continued with the follow-
ing: he South has nothing for which
to apologize. She believes that
the late struggle between the States
was war and not rebellion, revolution
and not conspiracy, and that her con-
victions were as honest as yours….

T the conquerors, when it has died in
the hearts of the conquered? [Cries
of “No! No!”] Will she transmit this
prejudice to the next generation,
that in their hearts, which never
felt the generous ardor of conflict, it
may perpetuate itself? [Again shouts
of “No! No!”] . . . The prophecy of
Webster, delivered in this very Soci-
ety forty years ago amid tremendous
1886, was published nationwide. The
New South had spoken and the nation
once again “embraced.” In 20 min-
utes, Henry W. Grady accomplished
what the blood of two armies could
not—bridging the North and the South
into one. Henry was without question
an orator. However, beyond that gift,
he came across as believable, genuine,
and real.

rady gave God the
credit. Later Grady
said, “When I found myself
upon my feet, I knew then
God had given me a message
for that assembly. As soon as
I opened my mouth, it came
rushing forth.” As spokes-
man for the New South,
Grady traveled extensively
speaking to America.

It was December 1889, a
rainy, cold day when Grady
left Boston for home in At-
lanta. He was ill. He had
developed pneumonia. As
the train made its way south-
ward, Grady’s health dete-
riorated. A grand reception
had been planned for him
in Atlanta and great crowds
awaited his arrival. Avoiding
the crowds, his physician accompanied
him home.

It was written of his last hours:
“During his last days, when delirious,
he was often talking of helping some
poor fellow to get a start. He would say,
‘I’ll give twenty-five dollars, and this
one will give so much, and thus we will
get him on his feet again.” 2 He had a
deeply religious nature and strong faith
in God. It is not written but without
doubt in those last hours he remem-
bered his visit home―his mother—his
attending Sunday school with her and
G We understand that when Lincoln
signed the Emancipation Proclama-
tion, your victory was assured; for
he then committed you to the cause
of human liberty, against which the
arms of man cannot prevail.

Now, what answer has New Eng-
land to this message?... Will she with-
hold the hand which straight from
his soldier’s heart Grant offered to
Lee at Appomattox? [Some in the
audience shouted “No, No.”]
Will she permit the prejudices
of war to remain in the hearts of
10 • NATIONS
applause stated: “Standing hand to
hand and clasping hands, we should
remain united as we have been for
sixty years, citizens of the same coun-
try, members of the same government,
united, all united now and united for-
ever.” [To this, the audience applauded
and continued applauding.] 2
The atmosphere was electric. That
event propelled Grady into the nation-
al spotlight as a Southern leader and
business trailblazer. The New South
speech, delivered before the New Eng-
land Club, New York, December 22,
2 Life and Labors of Henry W. Grady, (Philadelphia PA:
H.C. Hudgins & Company, 1890) pp 99-116.




hearing the children sing “Shall We
Gather at the River?”―a song that
brought him to tears.

His mother, hearing of her son’s
grave illness, made her way to his
side. As she entered the sick room,
their eyes met and glances mingled
with love. The first words he said to
her were, “Mother, my feet are in the
river!” At age 39, the man who pulled
the South out of her ashes, the man
who, more than any other, healed the
wounds between North and South, the
Spokesman of the New South, closed
his eyes in death. He was buried on
Christmas Day. His death was report-
ed nationally―The New York Times
described him as…
“One of the South’s most brilliant sons”
Henry W. Grady’s name is prominent
today. There is Grady County, created
in 1905; the Grady High School; and
in 1890, a year after his early death, the
city council passed a resolution to build
a hospital in his honor―Grady Memo-
rial Hospital. The hospital was intended
to provide health care for low income
families in Atlanta. Thus, even after his
death, he continued to touch people with
his influence and love for the South.

There followed the now-demolished
Henry Grady Hotel, the Henry W.

Grady College of Journalism and
Mass Communication at the University
of Georgia. The city erected a statue in
his honor in 1891, which is still located
in the heart of downtown Atlanta on
Marietta Street.

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NATIONS • 11