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Minutes and address of the State Convention of the Colored Citizens of Ohio, convened at Columbus, January 10th, 11th, 12th, & 13th, 1849.
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Minutes and address of the State Convention of the Colored Citizens of Ohio, convened at Columbus, January 10th, 11th, 12th, & 13th, 1849.
Pamphlet (28 p. ; 23 cm.)
Foner, Philip S. and George E. Walker, eds. (1979) The Proceedings of the Black State Conventions, 1840-1865. Volume 1.
MINUTES AND ADDRESS OF THE STATE CONVENTION OF THE COLORED CITIZENS
OF OHIO, CONVENED AT COLUMBUS,
JANUARY 10th, 11th, 12th, & 13th, 1849
Call for the Convention as Reported in the North Star,
December 8, 1848
Cleveland, Sept. 11, 1848
At a meeting of the Ohio Delegation attending the National Convention of Colored Freemen at Cleveland, Ohio, September 6th, Rev. S. P. Lewis of Zanesville, was called to the Chair, and W. H. Burnham appointed Secretary. J. L. Watson stated the objects of the meeting, after which, C. H. Langston, J. L. Watson and John Malvin were appointed to bring forward business for said meeting, when the committee reported as follows:
Whereas, The peculiar circumstances under which the colored people the United States are placed, demands immediate, constant and energetic action on our part, and
Whereas, We believe that Conventions are pre-eminently calculated to enhance that action, Therefore,
Resolved, That we, a portion of the Ohio Delegation to the National Convention, do earnestly call upon the State Central Committee to call a State Convention to assemble in the city of Columbus· some time in January, 1849.
Resolved, That we individually pledge ourselves to do all in our power to secure a full representation to said Convention.
Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be published in the True Democrat and Herald, Cleveland, the North Star, N.Y., and Ohio Standard, Columbus, and the Globe, of Cincinnati, and all other papers friendly to the elevation and improvement of the colored people in Ohio.
On motion, J. L. Watson was appointed a Committee of one to secure and furnish each paper named a copy of the proceedings of the meeting.
Rev. S. P. Lewis, Pres't.
W. H. Burham, Sec'y.
In accordance with the recommendation of the resolution adopted at this meeting, the State Central Committee have issued the following call:
CONVENTION OF COLORED CITIZENS
A Mass Convention of the Colored Citizens of Ohio, will be held in Columbus, commencing January 10th, 1840. The object of this Convention is our elevation, moral, intellectual, and political. Encountering us in the first step of march, stand Ohio's "Black Laws. They must be repealed. It is true, stripped as we are of all political power, we have only a moral power over them, but it is only necessary to wield this power aright, and it is mighty to the pulling down of the strongholds of oppression and wrong.
Therefore, let us not be slothful, but diligent, doing all we have the ability to do; so that if we must be made longer to bleed beneath the cruel infliction of ignorance, prejudice, and heathenish proscription, we may at least, amidst our sufferings, have this consolation--"That we have exerted ourselves to the uttermost to escape the bloody scourge."
TO THE COUNTY COMMITTEE.--You, gentlemen, are expected to co-operate with the Central Committee in bringing together, to form this Convention, a body of independent, fearless and talented men--men in whose hearts burns unquenchably the love of liberty; and who will permit no surmountable obstacle to work any intermission in their efforts to come at once into the most complete enjoyment of that liberty which they love. There are such men; and reasonable exertion will suffice to assemble them together. Hitherto, our Conventions have been made up of men who had received the suffrages, and been sent up by the authority of their constituents. Under that arrangement, there is reason to suspect that in very many instances those most thoroughly acquainted with our grievances, and the best qualified to remedy them, have from their faithfulness in reproving whatever evil they have seen prevailing in their respective communities, incurred the displeasure of their fellow-citizens, and been repudiated by them as busy-bodies, meddlers in other men's matters; while those who have stood by, cordially assenting to the shouts of the multitudes, knowing nothing about the interest of the people, and caring less, are sent up to do business for our oppressed people. In order that this, as well as other evils resulting from the old order of things, may be averted, we have proclaimed a Mass Convention, thus affording every man who feels the weight of the yoke, and is tired of wearing it, and has sufficient intelligence to contribute aught to remove it, a fair opportunity to do so.
N. M. Copeland,
State Central Com.
The North Star, December 8, 1848.
NAMES OF DELEGATES ENROLLED
Elder Wallace Shelton, James McGowan,
Charles M. Wilson, Joseph Bennett
Dr. C. Henry Langston, George R. Williams
J. Mercer Langston, John T. Ward
Wm. Copeland, T. Jefferson Goode,
David Jenkins, Robert B. Goode,
J. Monroe Cardozo, Emanuel Butler,
Rev. John M. Brown, Moses Redman,
John Booker, J. William Lyons,
Frank Boyd, Wm. Lyles,
W. Hurst Burnham.
Lawrence W. Minor.
John L. Watson.
James S. Thompson.
T. J. Merritt.
McPherson Turner, Luke Matthews.
First Session, Wednesday Morning.
Pursuant to a call of the State Central Committee, for holding a Mass State Convention, the delegates to said Convention met in the "Bethel Church" in the city of Columbus, On Wednesday, Jan. 10th, at 9 o'clock, A.M.
The Convention was called to order by D. Jenkins, of Franklin, and was organized by appointing John T. Ward, of Ross county, Chairman pro tern., an W. Hurst Burnham of Muskingum county, Secretary pro tem.
On motion, a committee of eleven were appointed to nominate permanent officers for the Convention. During their absence the Convention was very agreeably entertained by eloquent and soul-stirring speeches from Messrs. J. M. Langston, Day, Depp, Brown, and Dr. C. H. Langston. The committee returned and reported the names of the following gentlemen as officers of Convention: Dr. Charles H. Langston of Ross, President; John L. Watson of Cuyahoga, Thomas Brown of Lorain, J. S. Thompson of Richland, and N. Nooks of Jackson, Vice Presidents; Lawrence W. Minor of Lorain, Charles M. Wilson of Hamilton, and J. Monroe Cardozo of Franklin, Secretaries. The President elect was then escorted to the chair by the President pro tem., and on taking the chair made an appropriate address which was received with deafening shouts of applause.
On motion, a committee of nine were appointed to prepare the consideration of the Convention. The committee consisted of Messrs.
William H. Day, chairman, J. Mercer Langston, George R. Williams, David Jenkins, W. H. Burnham, Wallace Shelton, J., M. Brown, T. J. Merritt, and L. D. Taylor.
On motion, Rev. John M. Brown was appointed chaplain to the Convention.
A committee of three was appointed to prepare rules for the government of the convention. The committee consisted of Messrs. Ward, Booker, and McGowan.
A committee on finance were then appointed consisting of Messrs. J. M. Cardozo, Wm. Copeland, and John L. Watson.
It was moved by D. Jenkins that a committee of seven be appointed to draft an address to the citizens of Ohio, which motion was laid on the table.
The Convention then adjourned until 2 o' clock, P.M.
Second Session, Wednesday Afternoon.
Convention met according to adjournment. President in the chair. Convention opened with prayer by the Chaplain.
The committee on rules for the government of the Convention not being ready to report, by suggestion of W. H. Day, the meeting was laid open for an interchange of views relative to the objects of the convention. Elder Wallace Shelton was then called for. He came forward and expressed himself in a very pertinent and chaste speech.
The committee appointed for that purpose having arrived, reported rules for the government of the Convention.
Report was accepted, and adopted after striking out the hour of six and inserting five o'clock P.M. for adjournment. A motion was then made to insert 9 1/2 o'clock, A.M., for meeting. Motion lost.
The business committee not being ready to report, Mr. Poindexter was called upon to address the Convention. He, excusing himself, moved that Mr. L. Watson address the Convention. After some reluctance, Mr. Watson came forward, and eloquently dwelt on the capacities of the colored freemen to elevate themselves. What a triumph they might achieve if their energies were but directed aright. Adverted to the so called Black Laws of this State. He spoke of the advantages that Some sections of the State possessed over every other--the feeling of the whites towards their colored fellow citizens. Referred to the act of the Legislature last winter, making provisions for establishing schools wherever twenty colored children could be found. Condemned in, strong terms the vote of Mr. Backus, the Senator from his district, because he voted in favor of the "Bill." He wanted to know why there were so few of the Central Committee present. He thought that there was something wrong in the matter.
After taking his seat a song was called for, whereupon Messrs. Day, Watson of Cuyahoga, Watson of Lorain, and Minor came forward and sang "Freedom's Gathering," after which the chairman of the business committee reported a platform and resolutions.
On motion of L. Dow Taylor, it was determined to lay the platform on the table, and take up the resolutions one by one. The 1st resolution was taken up, discussed and adopted.
On motion a committee of three were appointed to secure the Hall of the House of Representatives, or some other suitable place for holding a public meeting. Committee consisted of Eli Nichols, Thomas Brown, and David Jenkins.
A motion was made by Elder Shelton that the committee be instructed to apply for the Hall on Thursday evening. Carried.
The 2d resolution was then taken up and adopted.
On motion of Mr. Jenkins, a committee of five were appointed to draft a petition to the Legislature for the repeal of the Black Laws. Committee cosisted of Messrs. Poindexter, L. D. Taylor, T. J. Merritt, David Jenkins, and J.M. Brown.
The 3d resolution was then taken up, and after some discussion, it was moved that it be referred to a committee of three, consisting of Messrs. Watson of Cuyahoga, J. Mercer Langston, and Elder Shelton. Carried.
The 4th resolution was then taken up, and on motion of Mr. Copeland, was laid on the table.
Mr. Taylor, from the committee on drafting a petition for the repeal of the black laws, reported the petition framed.
Mr. Copeland moved for an adjournment, which being waived,
Mr. Watson of Lorain, in accordance with the resolution passed by the Convention, "that the Convention hold public meetings every night during session" moved the Convention now appoint speakers. On motion, Messrs. Watson of Cuyahoga and Shelton were appointed.
Mr. Copeland renewing his motion, Convention adjourned.
Third Session. Thursday Morning, Nine o'clock.
Convention met according to adjournment, President in the chair. The Convention was opened with prayer by the chaplain. The Secretary in making his report begged the indulgence of the Convention for its imperfections owing to the unusual amount of business on hand.
During the reading of the report Mr. Jenkins moved that the report be amended by striking out the name of Eli Nichols from the committee on curing the Hall, which was objected to by Messrs. Watson of Lorain, Watson of Cuyahoga, and Nooks. Dr. C. H. Langston, thought it was contrary to the genius and spirit which ought to characterize the Convention; was opposed t the appointment at first, thought we ought to show to the world that we were capable of doing our own business. Mr. Depp was opposed to the amendment spoke fervently in favor of the Report as it was. After a discussion "in extenso," pro and con, by several gentlemen, the main question was put, which was, should Mr. Nichols' name be stricken off, which was carried. The Secretary finished reading the minutes of the last meeting, which were agreed to.
Third Resolution, which had been laid on the table from Wednesday afternoon, was taken up and after some discussion, adopted.
The fifth Resolution was then read and discussed by Messrs. Poindexter and Watson of Lorain.
Mr. Poindexter rather questioned the ability of the Convention to pass any measures which would really prove a benefit, thought it was better merely to recommend measures and not enforce them; he was apprehensive least the Convention should pass measures which were not practicable.
Mr. Watson replied to Mr. Poindexter, did not believe in persuasion, but in enforced action.
Mr. Poindexter moved that the fourth resolution be altered so as to read ,resolved, that the Convention make it obligatory on its members to persuade men to put in practice the acts passed in the Convention, which alteration was carried.
Mr. J.M. Langston, from the committee, to which was referred the third resolution, reported, which after an amendment by Dr. C.H. Langston, adding to it the third and fourth sections of the act of '93, was adopted. On motion of Mr. Jenkins, a committee of three were appointed to draft a memorial to Congress, setting forth some of the disabilities of the law, which was carried. Committee consisted of Messrs. Jenkins, Day, and Dr. Charles H. Langston. It was moved by Mr. Taylor, that the memorial to Congress be signed by the Officers of the Convention. The chairman of the business committee reported further, a platform in accordance with that read on the first day. It was moved that the report of the committee be laid on the table, which was lost. It was moved that resolution 8th, appointing a committee of seven to write an address to the people of the State, be taken up, which was carried. It was moved that the house appoint four of the committee. The committee were Messrs. Day, C.H. Langston, Shelton, Jenkins, Brown, of Franklin, Watson, of Cuyahoga, and Thompson. It was moved by Mr. Brown of Franklin, and seconded, that a committee of three be appointed, whose duty it shall be to report the opinion of this Convention in regard to the observance of one day out of seven as the Lord's day. On motion of Mr. Jenkins, it was referred to the business committee.
The 6th Resolution was then read, pending which resolution, the Convention adjourned.
Fourth Session, Thursday Afternoon.
The Convention met according to adjournment, President in the chair. The Convention opened with prayer by the Chaplain. It was moved and carried, that the resolution pending from the morning session be taken up. The Chairman of the business committee here begged leave to introduce several additions to the resolutions.
to the resolutions.
Mr. Jenkins was opposed to the resolution, thought there were circumstances under which it would be beneficial' to emigrate.
L. Dow Taylor rose to correct Mr. Jenkins, thought he did not understand the true import of the resolution. Mr. Jenkins did not stand corrected. He said he was in favor of a scheme whereby we all might move out of the United States. He said he thought "there was a great change going on in the minds of the people." He prayed God that it would go on faster. We never can be anything in the United States. Mr. J. said that, two years ago while in the State of New York, he always had the benefit of two seats. Why was it?" said he. So far as he was concerned, he would always be found battling for his people.
J. L. Watson of Cuyahoga, said he was in favor of the resolution, and he was ready and willing to contest every point with any and all of its friends. He said our "Pilgrim Fathers," who first came to this country, were not colonized. "But what was it sir, that brought them here? Their indomitable love of liberty. Their unabated hatred to tyranny, and firm resolve to be freemen." "Go to Liberia," said Mr. W., "become President, Senator, Judge or what not. Come to this country and see how the founders of this scheme will treat you. I hope the resolution will pass."
Mr. Williams thought the resolution ought to be discussed with great care, as it affected not only this State, but every State in the Union. He said that he did not want to look up to the white man for every thing. "We must have a nationality. I am for going any where, so we can be an independent people.
Mr. Depp said he never would favor any scheme of colonization, he believed that God created all men free and equal. We have come here for our rights and our rights we will have. His motto should be, "Fight on, fight ever."
Rev. J. S. Thompson said he was in favor of the resolution. The principle of it was correct. He hoped it would pass.
Mr. J. Mercer Langston, here addressed the Convention as follows:
"Mr. President, I regret exceedingly that this question has been forced upon the Convention. But trusting as we do, in the omnipotence of truth, we are willing and ready to 'battle on and battle ever.' The resolution goes against the emigration of the colored people, free and bond, of the United States. I for one, sir, am willing, dearly as I love my native, land, (a land which will not protect me however,) to leave it, and go wherever I can be free. We have already drank too long the cup of bitterness and woe, and do gentlemen want to drink it any longer? The spirit of our people must be aroused, they must feel and act as men. Let them proclaim from hill-top and alley, the memorable sentence given birth to by a Roman slave, 'Homo sum atque nihil humani a me alienum puto.'" The prejudices, he said, were strong in, this country, against the colored man, and he was fearful that they would remain so. He thought we must have a nationality, before we can become anybody. "Why sir, the very fact of our remaining in this country, is humiliating, virtually acknowledging our inferiority to the white man; I hope sir, that gentlemen, will vote down the Resolution."
Mr. Wilson and several others took part in the discussion, but the being obliged to leave, can not report, what they said.
It was moved by Mr. Williams that the resolution be referred to a committee of three, which was preceded by a motion to have it laid upon the table, which last motion was lost. Mr. Williams' motion then prevailed, and the resolution was referred to a committee consisting of the following gentlemen.' Watson of Cuyahoga, J. Mercer Langston, and William H. Burnham.
The 21st resolution was then read, and discussion was going on when on motion, it was laid on the table, for the purpose of hearing a report from the chairman of the committee on obtaining the Hall of the House of Representatives. Mr. Jenkins then announced that the Hall had been obtained. The was received with three hearty cheers. And on motion of Mr. Jenkins, Messrs J. L. Watson of Cuyahoga and Wm. H. Day were appointed to address the citizens in the Hall of the House, this evening. A resolution then presented and adopted, that the officers of the Convention meet at place at half past six o'clock and march in order to the State House.
The President then gave some instruction to the Financial Comittee. On motion of the 21st resolution was again taken up, pending which, the Convention adjourned.
A meeting was held in the Hall of the House of Representatives and addressed by the appointees for the evening. Messrs. W. H. Day and J. L. Watson.
At the close of the meeting with following resolutions were presented and passed:
Resolved, That we tender our thanks to the members o the House of Representatives for the use of this Hall.
Resolved, That we request our white fellow citizens to visit us in our Convention.
Fifth Session, Friday Morning.
Convention met according to adjournment. John L. Watson in the chair. Prayer by Rev. James S. Thompson.
The Secretary being absent, on motion the reading of the journal, was then taken up.
Mr. J. L. Watson of Cuyahoga took the stand. He remarked that he had said a great deal already. The resolution under consideration was of too much importance--had too much to do with the salvation, politically and morally, of his brethren in the South, to allow him to pass it by unnoticed. The Methodist denomination, as such, was opposed to us as a people. "Why sir, the brethren in whose house we now sit, dare not come out and defend their position."
Rev. J.M. Brown here arose to correct Mr. Watson. A dialogue took place between the two, much to the amusement of the Convention.
Mr. W. resumed his remarks. Said the Baptists were no better. He found them just as pro-slavery as the whites. He hoped the resolution would pass. Given as it was to rebuke them, he thought they would certainly profit by it.
Mr. Nooks followed him. Said he had heard a great deal said against the ministers. They had been severely handled, but not too much so. He himself and so much of prejudice against us, that when the white brethren came to preach to their colored brethren, they generally came like "Nicodemus" in the night, and we thought they did us a great favor when they called us "friends" instead of brethren.
Rev. J. M. Brown next came forward to clear his denomination from the charge of being pro-slavery. After speaking at some length, he read a long article from the minutes of the last Conference of the A.M.E. Church, to prove his point.
He was followed by Elder Wallace Shelton, who warmly advocated the passage of the resolution. He spoke of the pro-slavery character of both churches. Said that he had been silenced by his church on account of his anti-slavery views. He was in favor of excluding, not slaveholders only, but their apologists; nay, more, he was in favor of excluding those who would fellowship with slaveholders or their abettors.
Mr. Poindexter was also in favor of the passage of the resolution.
Dr. Langston next followed. He also was in favor of the resolution when amended. Dr. Langston's amendment was, on motion, adopted.
Mr. Poindexter moved an amendment, which was adopted.
Elder Shelton again came forward, and supported the resolution.
Mr. Williams also sustained the resolution. During the remarks of this gentleman, Rev. J. S. Thompson rose to a point of order. He claimed that the gentleman was not speaking to the resolution. Chair decided the point not sustained. Mr. Williams in the course of his remarks was eloquent and earnest, evincing a thorough knowledge of his subject, and the repeated cheers with which the gentleman was greeted, plainly told how much the effort was appreciated.
Rev. J. M. Brown rose to reply, when the select committee of three to which was referred the 5th resolution, through J. Mercer Langston, reported the following
Whereas, the question of colonization in the United States, is being greatly agitated, and whereas, certain colored men, together with whites, the United States, have taken a position relatively to the matter which deem incorrect, detrimental and destructive to our interest; and whereas, we deem it expedient for us to define our position on this point, determined at any hazard whatever, never to submit to any scheme of colonization, in any part of the world, in or out of the United States, while a vestige of slavery lasts; therefore,
Resolved, That in the event of universal emancipation, taking our freed brother as our coadjutor and helper in the work, prompted by the spirit of the fathers of '76, and following the light of liberty yet flickering in our minds, we are willing, it being optional, to draw out from the American government, and form a separate and independent one, enacting our own laws and regulations, trusting for success only in the God of Liberty and the Controller of human destiny.
All which is respectfully submitted.
J. Mercer Langston, W. Hurst Burnham, Committee.
Mr .J. L. Watson of Cuyahoga, dissenting from the report of the majority, begged leave to submit the following
Gentlemen of the Convention:
The undersigned, a minority of the committee to which was referred the following resolution, would respectfully recommend its adoption.
"Resolved, That we will never submit to the system of colonization to any part of the world, in or out of the United States; and we say, once for all, to those soliciting us, that all of their appeals to us are in vain. Our minds are made up to remain in the United States, and contend for our rights at all hazards."
All which is respectfully submitted.
J. L. Watson, Committee.
Rev. J. M. Brown resumed his remarks. Mr. Merritt here rose to a point of order. Point, violating the 11th of the standing rules of the Convention. Chair decided point not sustained.
The 21st resolution, then under consideration, was adopted.
On motion, W. H. Burnham and G. R. Williams were appointed to assist the Secretaries in making out reports of the proceedings of the Convention for publication in the Daily Standard.
On motion, the resolution relating to adjournment was then taken up. An amendment was offered by Mr. Williams that Convention adjourn to-morrow at two o'clock, P.M. Amendment lost.
Mr. Burnham moved that we adjourn to-morrow at two o'clock, A.M. Amendment adopted. The resolution as amended was then adopted.
The 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th were adopted.
The 13th resolution was then read, pending which Convention adjourned.
Sixth Session, Friday Afternoon.
Convention met, according to adjournment President in the chair. Convention opened with prayer by Elder Shelton. The journal was read, corrected, and approved.
13th resolution was then read and adopted.
25th resolution was passed, and the following gentlemen were appointed a State Central Committee: David Jenkins, James Poindexter, Lorenzo D. Taylor, Rev. John M. Brown of Franklin, Elder Wallace Shelton of Hamilton, Dr. C.Henry Langston of Ross, and John L. Watson of Cuyahoga.
The 7th resolution was read and adopted. After the nomination and declination of several gentlemen, Mr. D. Jenkins was appointed to canvass the State.
Mr. W. Howard Day moved that the subject be referred to a committee of three, to report at the evening session. Dr. C. Henry Langston, W. Howard Day, and J. Mercer Langston composed said committee.
28th resolution was read and adopted. In accordance therewith the following gentlemen were appointed Delegates to the next National Convention: Messrs. C. Henry Langston, W. Howard Day, John L. Watson, David Jenkins, Noah Nooks, Wallace Shelton, James S. Thompson, Thomas Brown, John M. Brown, J. Mercer Langston, James Poindexter, Charles M. Wilson, T. Jefferson Merritt, W. Hurst Burnham, Eli Moore, R. Hodge, John I. Gaines, John B. Lott, Mr. Bowles and George R. Williams.
14th, 15th and 16th resolutions were adopted. And W. H. Day, John L. Watson and David Jenkins were appointed a committee to raise funds, to fee lawyers for testing the validity of the School law.
On motion of Mr. Day, the minority report on the 6th resolution, was taken up and adopted.
Mr. J. Mercer Langston hoped the report of the minority would not be adopted. The gentleman in his private opinion is with us, but he is afraid to express himself. "But sir, if I have a private opinion I will speak it out. If you ask a white man whether you may associate with his daughter, or whether you may marry her, he will tell you, no! I want to separate myself from such a government. Gentlemen, if you go to Oberlin, there you will find a colored school, brought into existence on account of prejudice even there. Will any gentleman deny this?"
Mr. Day arose and said, "I deny it." Mr. L. asked for the proof. Mr. Day called on Mr. Thomas Brown, Vice President of the Convention, and one of the trustees of the school in question, and who had in his possession the original papers for founding the school. Mr. Brown arose, and was about to speak in denial of Mr. Langston's assertion, when Pres. Langston decided the whole matter out of order.
Mr. Watson of Cuyahoga said that the gentleman, (Mr. J. M. Langston,) had misrepresented him. He was not with him. He was opposed to colonization. He was unwilling that a single sentiment should emanate from him in favor the scheme.
Elder Shelton said that there never was a nation situated like ourselves. "We are free-born Americans, but are robbed of our rights by our American-born brethren. A portion of us have the elective franchise, and exercising that right in common with others, love the soil upon which we were born. I would say to gentlemen, stay where you are, and never think of leaving this land as long as one chain is to be heard clanking, or the cry of millions to be heard floating on every breeze." He felt that he but reiterated the sentiments that burned in every bosom present. "And when Hallelujah! Hallelujah! shall resound from every hill-top and vale, when the shouts of the ransomed shall be heard reverberating louder than the roar and din of conflicting elements, then gentlemen, I feel assured that you will never that you have remained in this country.
Mr. J. L. Watson of Cuyahoga, made some remarks, condemning in strong terms, the course of Messrs. Douglass and Delany in publishing what they call a report of the National Convention, but which in reality was only a synopsis furnished for the papers by the Secretaries. He condemned Mr. Malvin, the treasurer, for paying the money without the order of the Secretaries. He said it behooved us to correct men in high places as readily as them that are least among us, from the king on his throne down to the meanest peasant. It seemed Mr. Douglass had made Cleveland the only post office in Ohio, so far as distributing the (so called) report was concerned. [Roars of laughter.]
[At this point, Mr. Jenkins came in with much haste, and said he had just come from the Auditor's office. He was told that the colored people were taxed for the support of schools, whether there were any colored children in them or not. He said that he had just paid for the support of white children.
Mr. Poindexter said that we were before exempt from paying taxes for school purposes, but now we were not permitted to reap the benefit of the school fund. He said that Mr. Jenkins and himself had sought an interview with Mr. Blake, and he told them that the law that had taken the school off of them had been re-enacted, and the law as it now stands, takes money out of our pockets to school the other class--it would be better if the law had stood as it had been, for then, sir, we did stand some chance.]
The 17th, 18th, 24th and 22d resolutions were adopted. 31st resolution was read and adopted. 15th resolution was read, and a motion to lay it on the table by J. Mercer Langston, was lost. Resolution was adopted.
Convention adjourned to meet at half past six of the clock.
Convention met according to adjournment. J. L. Watson of Cuyahoga in chair. Convention opened with prayer by the Chaplain. Minutes read, corrected and approved. 19th resolution was, on motion, laid on the table. 20th resolution was read and adopted. Resolution was spoken to by Messrs. Poindexter, Brown of Lorain, and Shelton. The Chairman of the Business Committee reported the following resolution, submitted by Mrs. Jane P. Merritt.
Whereas we the ladies have been invited to attend the Convention, and have been deprived of a voice, which we the ladies deem wrong and shameful. Therefore,
Resolved, That we will attend no more after to-night, unless the privilege is granted.
Mr. Watson of Lorain advocated a resolution inviting the ladies to participate. Messrs. Burnham and Reynolds opposed. Resolution was finally adopted inviting the ladies to share in the doings of the Convention. Resolutions 23rd, 27th, were then adopted.
On motion the declaration of sentiments was taken up, and the repeated calls for Mr. Day to speak thereto, brought this gentleman to the stand. If we could paint a sun-beam or picture the glowing colors of the rain-bow, then we might do justice to the gentleman's brilliant effort.
Mr. Eli Nichols, a white friend, rose to speak to the platform--he was opposed to it. Mr. Day answered him. On motion the resolution fixing the time of adjournment, was reconsidered, and the motion fixing the time for adjournment at one o'clock Saturday 13th was carried. On motion the treasurer of the Financial Committee was ordered to pay one dollar to Mr. Jenkins for publishing notices of the Convention, and also that to the Sexton of the church for fuel, lights, &c. Whereupon Day, Minor and Watson were called upon for a song. After singing "I dream of all things free," the Convention adjourned.
Sixth Session. Saturday, Forenoon.
Convention met according to adjournment. President in the chair. Convention opened with prayer by the Chaplain. Minutes read, corrected and approved. 30th resolution was read and after some discussion, pro and con, it was moved to strike out the names of Messrs. Hale and Root, and leave only Mr. Giddings. Lost. On motion of Mr. Day, the name of the Hon. John G. Palfrey was added. The 30th Resolution was carried. Messrs. Dr. Langston, J. Mercer Langston, John Watson of Lorain, George R. Williams, W. H. Burnham and Wm. H. Day, begged leave to enter their protests against the resolution. On motion the 30th was reconsidered and indefinitely postponed. The 26th, 28th, 29th, and 33rd, resolutions were severally read and adopted.
On motion, Messrs. Minor, Watson of Cuyahoga and Brown of Lorain, were appointed a committee to prepare a Constitution and By-Laws for the government of the Parent Anti-slavery Society to be organized at the next State Convention.
On motion, the Convention resolved itself into a committee of the whole, on the condition of the colored people in the state. W. Howard Day in the chair. The committee after spending some time in session, gathering statistics, etc. rose and Mr. Day reported to the Convention as follows:
That he had found that the Convention was composed of pastors of churches, school teachers, students, farmers, plasterers, house painters, sign and ornamental painters, glaziers, paper hangers, wheel-wrights, joiners, printers, barbers, independent barbers, (shave anybody, white or colored,) and Black-smiths.
On motion the following resolutions were adopted:
Resolved, That it shall be the duty of the statistical committee to report at the next Convention the number of colored inhabitants, their occupation, amount of taxes they pay, &c.
Resolved, That we hereby present our thanks to the Trustees for the use of this house for the deliberations of the Convention.
Resolved, That the thanks of this Convention be tendered to the officers for the able manner in which they have discharged their duties.
On motion Mr. Day was appointed a committee in connection with the Secretary, to publish the proceedings of the Convention. The following resolution was then read and adopted:
Resolved, That the printing of 500 copies of the proceedings of this Convention be given to Wm. H. Day of Lorain, and that he be requested to state the probable cost of such printing.
A song was here sung by the Ladies, which elicited much applause.
After giving three hearty cheers for "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity," Convention adjourned.
The resolutions are not placed in the order in which they were acted upon, but more according to the subjects contemplated in each.
Declaration of Sentiments
Whereas, we the free colored people of the State of Ohio are cursed by the blighting influence of oppression in this professedly free State, to which many of us have fled for refuge and protection, and
Whereas, the history of the political world as well as the history of nations clearly shows that "who would be free, himself must strike the blow," and
Whereas, both the old and new worlds are shaken throughout their length and breadth, by the uprising of oppressed millions who are erecting firm foundations and stupendous platforms on which they may unitedly battle for that liberty which God has benignantly given to all his creatures, and which will be wrested from them only by vampire despots, therefore,
Resolved, That we adopt the following as our Declaration of Sentiments, as to State and National policy, and in harmony with these we will ever fight, until our rights are regained. It is our purpose,
I. To sternly resist, by all the means which the God of Nations has placed in our power, every form of oppression or proscription attempted to be imposed upon us, in consequence of our condition or color.
II. To acknowledge no enactment honored with the name of law, as binding upon us, the object of which is in any way to curtail the natural rights of man.
III. To give our earnest attention to the universal education of our people.
IV. To sustain the cause of Temperance in our midst, and advocate the formation of societies for its promotion.
V. To leave what are called menial occupations, and aspire to mechanical, agricultural and professional pursuits.
VI. To respect and love that as the religion of Jesus Christ, and that alone, which, in its practical bearings, is not excitement merely, but that which loves God, loves humanity, and thereby preaches deliverance to the captive, the opening of the prison-doors to them that are bound, and teaches us to do unto others as we would have them do to us.
1. Resolved, That the Convention appoint a committee of three to request the General Assembly of this State to allow a hearing from some of the Convention before their body, respecting the disabilities of the colored people of Ohio.
2. Resolved, That we the colored citizens of Ohio, in Convention assembled, petition the Legislature now in session, to repeal all laws making distinction on account of color, and that we urge the duty of petitioning upon our brethren throughout the State.
3. Resolved, That we petition Congress to repeal all laws of the United States making distinction on account of color.
4. That to elevate ourselves as a people--to toss from our shoulders dead weight in the way of our religious, political and social elevation, concerted action is necessary.
5. Resolved, That the Convention make it obligatory on its members to persuade men to put in practice the acts passed in the Convention.
6. Resolved, That we will never submit to the system of Colonization to any part of the world, in or out of the United States; and we say once for all to those soliciting us, that all of their appeals to us are in vain; our minds are made up to remain in the United States, and contend for our rights at all hazards.
7. Whereas, we believe it necessary to enlighten the public mind in this State as to our condition, and
Whereas, the colored people need to be aroused and encouraged, and
Whereas, the living speaker is a powerful enginery to accomplish these ends therefore
Resolved, That we recommend to the different towns and counties of the State, to create a fund to sustain and remunerate a colored man as Lecturer, to traverse the State for the purposes above named.
8. Resolved, That a committee of seven be appointed to prepare an Address to the People of this State, and report the same to this Convention as early as possible.
9. Resolved, That we the colored citizens of the State of Ohio, hereby declare that whereas the Constitution of our Common country gives us citizenship, we hereby, each to each pledge ourselves to support the other in claiming our rights under that Constitution, and in having the laws oppressing us tested.
10. Resolved, That we hereby, now and forever refuse to vote for or support any man for office, who will not go for us and ours in common with other
11. Whereas, we believe with the "Fathers of '76," that taxation and representation ought to go together.
Resolved, That we are very much in doubt about paying any tax upon which representation is based, until we are permitted to be represented.
12. Resolved, That we still adhere to the doctrine of urging the slave to leave immediately with his hoe on his shoulder, for a land of liberty, and would accordingly recommend that five hundred copies of Walker's Appeal, and Henry H. Garnet's Address to the Slaves, be obtained in the name of the Convention, and gratuitously circulated.
13. Resolved,That we urge all colored persons and their friends to keep a sharp look out for men thieves and their abettors, and warn them that no person claimed as a slave shall be taken from our midst without trouble.
14. Resolved, That we recommend to the colored inhabitants throughout this State, immediate and energetic action on their part, in aiding our brothers and sisters in fleeing from the prison-house of bondage to the land of freedom; and furthermore we declare that he who would not aid our brothers and sisters in this most glorious cause, should by every community be published to the world as a bitter enemy to the cause of justice and humanity.
15. Resolved,That the attempt to establish churches or schools for the benefit of colored persons EXCLUSIVELY, where we can enter either upon equal terms with the whites, is in our humble opinion reprehensible.
16. Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed to recommend a school system which may be used until school privileges are granted us in this State.
17. Resolved, That we hereby recommend to our people throughout the State to give their children mechanical trades, and encourage them to engage in the agricultural, professional and other elevating pursuits of the day. And furthermore,
Resolved, That every clergyman who feels the importance of this Resolution be hereby requested to read it or lecture upon it once to his congregation.
18. Resolved, That we establish a Parent Anti-Slavery Society at this Convention, and appoint State officers, and recommend County Societies as auxiliary to said Parent Society. [For want of time amended by appointing a committee of three to draft a Constitution for the government of a Parent Society--the committee to report at the Convention.]
19. Resolved, That this Convention take measures to establish a Newspaper, in some of the towns in this State, which paper shall be the the people.
20. Resolved, That the Conference of colored men or association that is afraid to speak out against the monster, SLAVERY, when they have an opportunity so to do, and while their own brethren are in bonds, is not only undeserving of our confidence, but deserving of our deepest reprobation. And we further believe that the man, be he white or colored, who wrapped in ecclesiastical dignity, shuts his pulpit against the claims of God's suffering poor, whether those claims be presented in the anti-slavery, temperance or other causes, is not unworthy.only of the name of minister, but of the honored appellation, MAN.
21. Resolved, That we regard the conduct of that portion of our people who fellowship those men who treat them as things and not as men, or those that do, and who will not encourage in their churches the elevation of the colored people, and who vote for men-stealers to fill the highest offices in the gift of the people, thereby tightening the chain upon three millions of our brethren in the South, as highly detrimental to our elevation, at war with the injunctions of the Bible, and contrary to the progressive light of the age.
22. Resolved, That we are determined to consider all colored men who do not treat other colored men on terms of perfect equality with the whites in all cases, as recreant to their dearest cause, and should be esteemed outcasts.
23. Resolved, That we consider the treatment of the "Ohio Stage Company" towards colored persons unjust--a species of slavery of the blackest die--emanating from the blackest hearts--therefore deserving the contempt and reprobation of every colored man and his true friend; and we further believe that the Stage Houses and other hotels in Ohio, that will not accommodate respectable colored persons, ought not to be patronized by our professed friends, where they know of other houses of different principles.
24. Whereas the ladies of England, Scotland, Ireland and France have made strenuous efforts in behalf of right, liberty and equality, in giving their burning rebuke to the God-defying institution of American Slavery, and protesting against the contemptible conduct of that miserable wretch, H. G. WARNER, in excluding from the Seminary in Rochester the child of the far-famed Frederick Douglass,13 therefore
Resolved, That the conduct of those ladies and gentlemen in this respect has our hearty approbation and united concurrence, and we hail it as an omen of the time when the world of mankind will be engaged on the side of outraged and oppressed humanity.
25. Resolved, That a Central Committee of [illegible] four of them in Franklin County, be appointed, to call a State Convention whenever they in their judgment may deem it expedient.
26. Resolved, That the Central Committee be hereby instructed to call a Delegated and not a Mass Convention.
27. Resolved, That we hereby recommend that the next National be held in Detroit, Mich., sometime in the year 1849.
28. Resolved, That the Convention elect twenty-three Delegates to attend the National Convention, provided that the National Convention be held the next State Convention.
29. Whereas we believe in the principle that who would be free, him self must strike the blow; and
Whereas Liberty is comparatively worth nothing to the oppressed, without effort on their part, therefore
Resolved, That we recommend to our brethren throughout the Union, that they thanking their white friends for all action put forth in our behalf, pursue an independent course, relying only on the right of their cause and the God of Freedom.
30. Resolved, That the course of Messrs. Hale, Giddings, Root who have advocated our claims in the U.S. Congress, merits our sincere and highest approbation.
31. Resolved, That we in our efforts for elevation, recognize no word as FAIL.
32. Resolved, That we contemplate with joy the successful career of the thus North Star thus far, and recommend that the colored people in particular and all friends of humanity in general, give it the best support in their power, until the ends for which it is designed shall have been accomplished.
33. Whereas there has been issued from the North star office, Rochester, N.Y., an edition of pamphlets as the Report of the proceedings of the National convention held at Cleveland, Sept. 6, 1848, but which is really merely a synopsis of those proceedings, and
Whereas twenty-five dollars has been demanded from and paid by Mr. of the Convention, for printing said Synopsis, and
Whereas said Synopsis was printed, and the money paid without any order from the Committee of Publication, therefore
Resolved, That we deem the publishing of said Synopsis under the circumstances as culpable, the Treasurer of the Convention responsible for the twenty-five dollars, and would recommend that the Secretaries of the National convention be requested to act with the Secretaries of this Convention, to publish the minutes of each Convention together, and of course to ask for money from the National Convention Treasurer sufficient to pay for printing the National Convention Minutes.
TO THE CITIZENS OF OHIO
In compliance with the vote of the above noticed Convention of your colored fellow citizens, the undersigned in their behalf essay to address you in brief upon the great topics in [which] we and you in this state are or ought to be interested.
The desire of universal man for liberty, you own acts when oppressed by Great Britain, the curse of the Black Laws in this State, and our appreciation of that curse, is our only apology for thus addressing you.
The intelligent and Christian among you admit that you and we have a common destiny. That we are children of the same great parent, and heirs of the same immortality. You admit that we are in the same government. That seventy-two years ago you helped to form it, announcing as its primal principle--all men are created equal--endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights--among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--and that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. You here asserted two important principles:--1st. That the object of legislation is to secure rights; and 2. That everyone governed, is in the sense of giving or refusing consent, a legislator, and as an inference from these, you say, the government which does not respect these two principles is not just.
In accordance with these principles you framed a United States Constitution. This you claimed as supreme law, and in accordance with it in 1802 framed a constitution for this State. To the principles thus we heartily subscirbe. We believe them just and equitable. We believe they ought to be enforced as well for us as for you. Our fathers helped to rear this temple of Liberty. Their sons, we claim, ought to be inheritors of its blessings. We therefore beg leave to state to you our and your principles, and contrasting the enactments in this state against us, with these, state what ought to be our and your conclusions.
We believe not only that "liberty is the birth-right of all, and law its defence," but we believe also that every human being has rights in common, and that the meanest of those rights is legitimately beyond the reach of legislation, and higher than the claims of political expediency. Do you admit our belief as true? We believe in the fact, the "fixed and unalterable" fact "that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." This you have taught us. Ohio law is a violation of this principle. Now for the proof.
1st. We are unrepresented. The elective franchise, one of the dearest priVileges of a free people, we are deprived of. For members of the Convention framing the Ohio Constitution, colored men voted without distinction. The question was raised in that Convention whether the colored man should still enjoy the elective franchise, and it was carried in the affirmative by a vote of 19 to 15. But ultimately, by a reconsideration, the casting vote of the
President decided it against us, and the illegitimate word "white" became a part of the Ohio State Constitution. We are thus by this one word, strange and inconsistent as it may seem, deprived of all the blessings which flow out from the "free consent of the governed." But,
2d. We are taxed, while we are unrepresented. You hire your Governor, Secretaries, Auditor and Treasurer, 108 Members of the General Assembly, together with the officers attached, and you filch our property to help pay them. You have built Asylums for the Blind, for the Deaf and Dumb, and for the Lunatic, together with Houses for the Poor, and you not only demand that we should help sustain them, equally with you, but deny us the benefits of them. Only last year Governor Bebb endeavored to place a colored child in the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, and the child was refused. Until within a short time, colored persons have not been permitted to enter the Lunatic Asylum, even as visitors, and yet colored persons are taxed for its support. We say then, these things are violations of the fundamental principles you yourselves, of your own accord, have laid down. Ohio law ought in this respect then to be a nullity.
Fellow Citizens--The 5th clause of 1st section of Article 2d, of the United States Constitution, recognizes the principle that natural birth gives citizenship. Article 4th, section 2d, and 1st clause, claims that the citizens of the each State, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens of the several States; and the Ohio Bill of Rights, Article 8th, of the Ohio State Constitution, Section 1st, declares, that all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain, natural, inherent, and inalienable rights, among which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety: therefore we claim that the colored citizens in the State of Ohio have rights equal with the rest of her citizens. And we claim in addition that he who solemnly swears to support her Bill of Rights--swears to give to "all men," irrespective of any accidental distinction, "the certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights" therein specified.
Article 8th, Section 7th, Ohio State Constitution, announces--That all courts shall be open, and every person; for any injury done him in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy, by the due course of law, and right and justice administered without denial or delay. We hold that the "testimony law," so called, is of this part of the Constitution, if of no other, a direct and shameful violation.
Article 4th, Section 1st, Articles of the Confederation, provides that "the better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States; and the people of each State shall have free ingress and regress, to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions and restrictions, as the inhabitants thereof respectively.
Says the law of Ohio, "No negro or mulatto person shall be permitted emigrate into and settle within this State, unless such negro or mulatto persons shall, within twenty days thereafter, enter into bond with two or freehold sureties, in the penal sum of five hundred dollars, before the clerk of the court of common pleas of the county in which such negro or mulatto may wish to reside, (to be approved by the clerk,) conditioned for the good behavior of such negro or mulatto, and moreover, to pay for the support such person, in case he, she, or they should thereafter be found within township in this State, unable to support themselves. And if any negro or mulatto person shall migrate into this state, and not comply with the provisions of this act, it shall be the duty of the overseers of the poor of the township where such negro or mulatto person may be found, to remove immediately such black or mulatto person, in the manner as required in the case of paupers."
We are neither "paupers, vagabonds, or fugitives from justice," therefore we hold this enactment to be in direct opposition to the spirit and principles of the Articles of Confederation of the thirty States of this Union.
Article 8, Section 25, State Constitution, says, that "no law shall be passed to prevent the poor in the several counties and townships within this
State, from an equal participation in the schools, academies, colleges, and universities within this -State, which are endowed, in whole or in part, from the revenue arising from the donations made by the United States for the support of schools and colleges; and the doors of schools, academies and universities shall be open for the reception of scholars, students and teachers of every grade, without any distinction or preference whatever, contrary to the intent for which the said donations were made." We hold that actual exclusion of colored inhabitants from the benefit of the school fund is a violation of the principle here announced.
Permit us here to say a word to you on the effect of such a law.
1st. It encourages ignorance in your communities. To encourage ignorance is to encourage The vicious character of uneducated communities, both in the direct and indirect influence, is seen the world over, and to prove it need not to cite you to all past history. Therefore, even if the colored people of Ohio were aliens, your own interest would demand the extending educational privileges to them all; but here we are, born on your soil, and unless your own professed principles be a lie, entitled to all the rights and privileges of all others. Consequently, you are doubly bound to act for us as for yourselves.
2d. In children thus divided by law, the most Satanic hate is likely to be engendered. This, no one who has studied human nature will deny. This hate "grows with the growth and strengthens with the strength." What children are in the school room, they are when manhood has come over them, and what feeling the school-room fosters appears in after life in the shape of a monster called law.
But another thing. We ask what was the "intent for which the said donations were made?" Was it merely for men called "white?" We say no. Nor was it left a bone for quibblers by saying "citizens"--nay, verily, but for the "INHABITANTS." With all deference, we ask, who are they?
We wish those in authority to be at least consistent, either by wiping the black laws, (aye black enough to merit a birthplace other than in the free soil of Ohio,) we say, either by wiping them from her statute book, or else by openly repudiating the free principles which she by agreement is bound to regard as her higher law.
But we appeal not to Constitutions alone. We convict you of inconsistencies by them. But we appeal in the name of Him who presides over the destinies of nations, to the principles of Right and Justice, existing and hoary in their age, long before Constitutions were known, or the United States nation born. We care not then, as far as the actual right is concerned, Whether the Constitutions be leagues with death and agreements with hell or no. We appeal from them, (if they be such,) to a higher judicature.
Our moral and social elevation we speak of last, but not because we deem them of the least consequence. We speak to you of political privileges first, for which you is the entire political power. Still you can assist us in attaining a true moral and social position. We ask not that you remove the disabilities under which we labor merely because you pity us. We ask for no such sympathy. We ask for equal privileges, not because we would consider it a condescension on your part to grant them--but because we are MEN, and therefore entitled to all the privileges of other men in the same circumstances.
We ask that the "negro pew" in your churches be removed, and that character and not color be the basis of your treatment of colored men, both in those churches and in your families.
We ask for school privileges in common with others, for we pay school taxes in the same proportion.
We ask permission to send our deaf and dumb, our lunatic, blind, and poor asylums prepared for each.
We ask for the repeal of the odious enactments, requiring us to declare ourselves "paupers, vagabonds, or fugitives from justice," because we can "lawfully" remain in the State.
We ask that colored men be not obliged to brand themselves liars, in every case of testimony in "courts of justice" where a white person is a party.
We ask that the word "white" in the State Constitution be stricken out at once and forever, 'and of course that the privileges growing out of such striking out be restored to us.
We ask that we may be one people, bound together by one sheltered by the same' impartial law.
Citizens of Ohio--We have had put into our hands copies of a memorial the General Assembly, signed by David Christy, Agent of the American Colonization Society, speaking of the increase of the colored people in the West, a especially in the State of Ohio. He urges their increase as a reason why the Legislature should furnish money to transport colored people from this Stat to "Ohio in Africa." We wish him 1st to show to candid minds, if he can, that the increase of the colored people in this State, is an evil. He basely hints that we are a nuisance in your midst, and gratuitously informs you that you thus consider us, and that therefore you do not intend to repeal your black enactments. We as gratuitously, and with abetter right, inform you, that we independently but humbly beg leave to differ with Mr. Christy and Colonization Society, and say, we believe you do.mean to repeal the enactments against us, and also, that whether they are repealed or we mean, in the spirit of our resolution, here to remain amid the broken columns of our of liberty, and cry, "Repeal, Repeal, Repeal," until that repeal is granted.
To those in this State who have labored in our behalf, we tender our , heartfelt thanks: we ask them still to labor; but while they labor we them not to despise us. In the spirit of the heathen slave, and we hope as intelligently, we each say, "Homo sum, atque humani nihil a me alienum puto"--"I am a man, and I think that nothing is estranged from me which pertains to humanity"--and therefore entitled to all the privileges--moral, mental, political and social, to which other men attain. We ask for no more--no less privileges than ye yourselves would desire to enjoy under the same circumstances.
To the Colored Citizens of Ohio, we would echo the voice of the Convention and say, come out, as soon as possible, from situations called degrading--encourage education--be temperance men and women---resist every species of oppression--serve God and humanity. Let us go to work. In our Platform the principles of action are laid down. Let us study them--Iet us practice them--humbly--independently, and, devising means for sustaining them, thus inform our opposers that we are coming--coming for our rights--coming through the Constitution of our common country--coming through the law--and relying upon God and the justice of our cause, pledge ourselves never to cease our resistance to tyranny, whether it be in the iron manacles of the slave, or in the unjust written manacles for the free.
In behalf of the Convention,
Yours in bonds,
William Howard Day,
Charles Henry Langston,
John M. Brown,
John L. Watson,
James S. Thompson,
Elder Wallace Shelton,
Charles M. Wilson,
John I. Gaines
George R. Williams.
Muskingum W. Hurst Burnham.
Jackson N, Nooks.
Champaign Lewis Adams.
Fayette Andrew Manly.
Shelby Enoch Shackler.
Lorain William H. Day.
Montgomery Thomas Jefferson.
Cuyahoga John L. Watson.
Summit William Bird.
Richland James S. Thompson.
Lake Isaac Stanton.
Pickway T. J. Merritt
Morgan Epping Brown.
Fairfield McPherson Turner.
Green Westley Roberts.
Union Madison Cunninghan.
Marion ________ Kinney.
Delaware Samuel White, Jr.
Gallia Thomas Scott.
Highland John Taylor.
Clark Harrison Little.
Stark J. J. Walls.
Pike Washington Evings.
Mercer J. Bowles.
Knox Otho Martin.
Erie J. B. Lott.
Wayne S. H. Brown
Logan Elisha Bird.
Scioto William Cook.
Belmont A. Harper.
Harrison Thomas Steward.
BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS
EXTRACTS FROM NEWSPAPERS
REFERRING TO THE PUBLIC MEETING IN THE HALL OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, JAN. 11th, 1849
From the "Ohio Daily Standard."
Convention of Colored People
A Delegate Convention of the colored Ohio is this City. The convention is respectable in numbers and in talents and their proceedings are conducted with ability, order, and decorum. Their object to devise means for the repeal of the Black Laws of this State, the abolition of slavery, and the adoption of means for the improvement of their race. On Thursday evening, on motion of Dr. Townshend, the hall of the State House was opened for their accommodation. A large audience of both colored and white citizens were present. They were addressed by Mr. Day, a colored graduate from Oberlin, and by J. L. Watson of Cleveland. The speeches of both gentlemen exhibited much thought, and patriotic devotion to their country and race, and were listened to with perfect attention. Several songs were sung, and in good taste. We can not, and would not if we could, refrain from bidding God speed to the efforts of these oppressed people to elevate themselves and race. The yielding of the use of the State House, and the attention of the audience, and their perfect good behavior, show a most cheering state of progress in the public mind.
Colored Men's Convention in Columbus
We can not fail to take a strong and lively interest in the series of Colored People's Conventions now being holden. The one at Cleveland, last September, was an era in the intellectual, social, and educational elevation of the colored people of our nation. Grave in its deliberations, prudent in its suggestions, animating and inspiring in its resolutions, dignified in its whole bearing, it served to give impulse to a mass of mind too long and too cruelly crushed, and also to give character before the world to their determined efforts for real improvement.
Another Convention has recently been called in Columbus, a brief of which we transfer from the Columbus State Journal, of Jan. 13th.
"A Convention of the colored Freemen of the State of Ohio has been in session in this city for several days, and is numerously attended by intelligent, respectable men from all parts of tbe State. It was organized by the appointment of Charles H. Langston Esq. of Chillicothe, as President, with the usual number of Vice Presidents and Secretaries.
"On Thursday evening, pursuant to permission obtained for that purpose, the Convention met in the Hall of the House of Representatives. The meeting itself, aside from the unusually interesting nature of the exercises, is an incident in our history well worthy of reflection and remark. The colored man has been allowed to come up, without insult and without reproach--to en into a place hitherto deemed sacred to the white man alone, and standing to plead his right to be deemed a man and a brother, and to claim a community of interest in all that appertains to humanity--to say 'our God,' and to beg permission to say 'our country.'
"A prepared address was delivered by William H. Day, a young man from Oberlin, upon the subject of the grievances which the colored people of the United States--both in slavery and emancipation--suffer in comparison to those borne by the fathers of this Republic, under the rule of Great Britain, before the Revolution. The parallels drawn between the two cases were extremely striking and forcible, and for beauty of composition and propriety of delivery, the oration would bear a comparison with the labored efforts of men of far greater fame and far higher pretensions.
"After the close of Mr. Day's address the audience was agreeably entertained by a speech by John L. Watson of Cleveland. Mr. Watson announced himself a native-born citizen of Virginia--the land of Washington, and a 'self-
emancipated slave.' He thought that he might recommend himself and his remarks to the Democrats present by the fact that he was born upon the same soil, and had breathed the same air that blew over the same hills with Thomas Jefferson. An emigrant from a sister State, he came hereto beg as a boon the bestowal upon him and those who were in his situation, of those privileges which were freely granted as a right to the emigrant from Ireland or from Germany. He went into an examination of the Black Laws--their constitutionality, and their legal and moral effect. They work, he said, degradation to the black and disgrace to the white man. If they are a ,dead letter, why leave them as monuments of the barbarism of the past? If they are living law, interpose to prevent the horrid injustice of which they may be the instruments in future.
The address was a strong and a good one, and was enlivened by sparks of genuine wit, which elicited frequent and tumultuous applause. The speaker himself was an evidence of what a soul can do, even under the pressure of difficulties. In his case it has made a man.
The meeting was enlivened by some fine singing, and was a model of all that twas decorous and respectable."
Let the gall's jade wince!
For the following precious bit, we are indebted to our friend, W. P. N.
From the Cincinnati Gazette, of February 2d.
"Even in the Capital the blacks have already assumed high airs. A friend visited a meeting lately held in the Hall of Representatives, before the laws repealed in the House. He handed me the following:
Mr. Day, a black from the 'Reserve', addressed the audience. In the course of his remarks he arraigned the Governor and the people of the United States upon charges of the grossest tyranny and usurpation--comparing them to the English previous to the Revolution. He found the white folks guilty,and then enumerated the number of rebels (meaning the blacks) in the United States, and what they could accomplish. They demanded their rights as did our forefathers in the Declaration of Independence, and threatened rebellion ultimately if it did not come.'
"In confirmation of this movement, your attention is invited to the following circular, [what the circular is he does not say,] which was placed on the desk of every member of both Houses. Sitting by an honorable Senator yesterday afternoon, several of my Democratic friends had the kindness to send me a copy with their compliments--I could not do less than pass them round.
"Observe with what arrogance a noble philanthropist is treated, Mr. Christy, laboring only for the elevation of their race in the region allotted to them by Providence--from which they were taken, and to which they must be restored! Let them be kindly treated, well educated, and prepared for the mission of civilizing those once as degraded as themselves. T."
Copy in the Pennsylvania State University Library.
STATE CONVENTION OF THE COLORED CITIZENS OF OHIO
As Reported in the North Star, January 26, 1849
We have received a letter from our friend Geo. B. Williams, enclosing the .following account from the Ohio Standard of the Convention recently held in Columbus, O. Agitate! agitate! agitate!
A Convention of the Colored Freemen of the State of Ohio has been in session in this city for several days, and is [sic] attended by intelligent and respectable men from all parts of the State. It was organized on Wednesday, in the Methodist Episcopal Church on Long street, by [illegible] of Charles Langston Esq., of Chillocothe, as President, with the usual [number] of Vice Presidents and Secretaries.
On Thursday pursuant to permission obtained for the purpose, the Convention met in the Hall of Representatives. The meeting itself, aside the unusually interesting nature of the exercises, is an incident well
worthy of reflection and remark. The colored man has been allowed to come up, without insult and without reproach--to enter into a place hitherto deemed sacred to the white alone, and standing there, to plead the right to be deemed a man and a brother, and to claim a community of interest in ask that appertains to humanity--to say "our God", and to beg permission to say "our country,"
A prepared address was delivered by Wm. H. Day, a young man from Oberlin, upon the subject of grievances which the colored people of the United States, both in slavery and emancipated,suffer in with those borne by the fathers of the Republic under the rule of Great Britain, before the Revolution. The parallels drawn between the two cases were extremely striking and forcible, and for beauty of composition and propriety of delivery, the oration could bear a comparison with the labored efforts of men of far greater and far higher pretensions.
At the close of Mr. Day's address, the audience was agreeably entertained by a speech from John M, Watson, of Cleveland. Mr. Watson announced himself as a native born citizen of Virginia, the land of Washington, and a "self-emancipated slave." He thought he recommend himself and his and his remarks to the Democrats present, by the fact that he was born upon the same soil, and had breathed the air that blew over the hills, with Thomas Jefferson; An emigrant from a sister State, he came here to beg as a boon the bestowal upon him and those who were in his situation, of those privileges which were freely granted as a right to the emigrant from Ireland or from Germany. He went into an examination of the black laws, there constitutionality, and their legal and effect. "They work," he said, degradation to the black and disgrace to the white man. If they are a dead letter, why leave them as a monument of the of the past. If they are a living law, interpose prevent the horrid injustice of which they be made the instruments in future."
The address was a strong and a good one, and was enlivened by sparks of genuine wit, which elicited frequent and tumultuous applause. The speaker himself was an evidence of what a soul can do even under the pressure of extraordinary difficulties, In his case it has a man.
The meeting was enlivened by some fine singing, and was model of all that was decorous and respectable.
The North Star, January 26, 1849.
BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS
from his father, who had lived for a while in Louisiana.
11. David Walker (1785-1830) was the black author of a powerful tract, published in Boston at his own expense in 1829, called Walker's Appeal, in Four Articles, addressed to the "coloured citizens" of the world, but particularly to those of the United States. Walker called upon the Negro slaves to revolt and overthrow their oppressors.
12. In August 1843, Garnet attended the National Convention of Negro Citizens at Buffalo, New York, and delivered a militant speech calling for slave rebellions as the surest way to end slavery. It was the most radical speech by a black American during the antebellum period. The proposal stirred the delegates and failed by one vote of being adopted.
13. Refusing to accept Rochester, New York's, system of segregated public schools, Douglass in August 1848 arranged for his daughter Rosetta to attend Seward Seminary, a fashionable school for girls in that city. Shortly there after he left for a visit to Cleveland happy in the thought that his child "was about to enjoy advantages for improving her mind, and fitting her for a useful and honorable life." What was his rage to discover on his return that Rosetta had been isolated in a room by herself and was being taught separately. He promptly protested to the principal "against the cruelty and injustice of treating [my] child as a criminal on account of color." The principal weakly replied that the trustees of the school had objected to the admission of a Negro girl, and to overcome their prejudices by gradual stages had hit upon the idea of having the child taught separately until such time as she could be admitted to the regular classes.
Upon Douglass' protest, the principal of the school submitted the question of Rosetta's status to the pupils and then to their parents. None of the children objected to Rosetta sitting with them, but one parent, H. G. Warner, editor of the Rochester Courier, objected and the child was asked to leave the school. Douglass had already decided to withdraw his daughter from the seminary, but he did not permit the incident to pass over quietly. In a scathing letter to Warner, he promised that he would use all his powers to proclaim this "infamy" to the nation. The incident indeed attracted nationwide attention, for scores of newspapers reprinted his letter. See Philip S. Foner, The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass (New York, 1950), I, 371- 374.
Convention Minutes Item Type Metadata
Meeting Place Name
Bethel A.M.E. Church
Meeting Place Affiliation
State Convention of the Colored Citizens of Ohio (1849 : Columbus, OH), “Minutes and address of the State Convention of the Colored Citizens of Ohio, convened at Columbus, January 10th, 11th, 12th, & 13th, 1849.,” ColoredConventions.org, accessed October 18, 2018, http://coloredconventions.org/items/show/247.