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where I am. Don’t worry about me. I shall be here when
I get back,” and he departed.
The man took the train to Athens where his mother
still lived. With every bump of the track, he relived im-
ages of his childhood—of his mother—of his father—of
the scenes of home. Departing the train station, he made
his way back to the grand old house where his mother
waited. After the initial embrace and loving greeting, he
told his mother that he wanted to be home with her for a
few days. He wanted to just be her little boy again.
During those days, Henry’s mother, with loving
hands, cooked his favorite foods. At night she came to his
bedside and tucked him in and prayed for him as she had
over her little boy in the years departed. Again, Henry
Grady prayed by his bedside as he had learned as a boy.
On Sunday he went with her to Sunday school. The chil-
dren sang “Shall We Gather at the River?”
Henry Grady covered his face with both hands and
cried like a child. 1 He needed this visit. In those two
weeks, Henry Grady went back to his mother—and to his
God. He needed to be back where he could be himself
and would be judged by no one―to the place of begin-
nings. Retracing those steps of early years refreshed his
spirit and soul.
General William T. Sherman
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1 James Wideman Lee, Henry W. Grady, the Editor, the
Orator, the Man (Chicago, New York, Toronto:
Fleming H. Revel Co, 1896) pp 100-101.
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Add $3.50 for 2 or more items.)
NATIONS • 15
the nation was still divided. The task
before Grady was to move hearts
from the past to a new day under one
flag, over one nation―America. For
a man from the South to be invited to
address such an assembly as this in
such a time as this was an honor but
also extremely delicate. Grady faced
an incredible challenge.
Henry Grady rose to speak.
Present in the audience were such
industrial leaders as J.P. Morgan and
H.M. Flagler, a founder of Standard
Oil. Those present waited with abat-
ed breath to see what this man from
the former slave states would have
to say. For 20 minutes Henry Grady
held the audience spellbound with
his speech titled “The Old South
and the New.” He gave tribute to
America’s great president, Abraham
Lincoln. He drew tight the bands
that once again tightened the North
and the South together. With great
eloquence he quoted Benjamin H.
Hill, “There was a South of slavery
and secession―that South is dead.
There is now a South of union and
When Grady arrived at his office,
he found waiting for him an invitation
from the New England Society of New
York to be the principal speaker at the
Society’s next dinner. He accepted the
invitation and went to New York and
spoke. The national atmosphere was
complicated. Thousands of lives, Northern and
Southern, had been snuffed out by the
war just 20 years earlier. The tears of
that awful conflict were barely dry. Still,
in some quarters there were demonstra-
tions in honor of Jefferson Davis. Al-
though the North had been victorious,
Homeplace of the Grady Fanily
in Athens, Georgia
NATIONS • 9