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Proceedings of a Convention of the Colored Men of Ohio, held in Xenia, on the 10th, 11th and 12th days of January, 1865 : with the Constitution of Ohio Equal Rights League.

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Title

Proceedings of a Convention of the Colored Men of Ohio, held in Xenia, on the 10th, 11th and 12th days of January, 1865 : with the Constitution of Ohio Equal Rights League.

Description

Pamphlet (20 p. ; 22 cm.)

Date

Rights

Public Domain. No permission requested.

Relation

Foner, Philip S. and George E. Walker, eds. (1979) The Proceedings of the Black State Conventions, 1840-1865. Volume 1.

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PDF

Language

English

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Transcript

Identifier

1865.OH-01.10.XENI

Coverage

Xenia, OH

Scripto

Transcription

PROCEEDINGS

OF A

CONVENTION

OF THE

COLORED MEN OF OHIO

HELD IN XENIA,

ON THE 10th, 11th and 12th day of January, 1865;

WITH THE

Constitution of the Ohio Equal Rights League,

________________________________

PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE CONVENTION,

________________________________

CINCINNATI:

A. MOORE, Book, Newspaper and Job Printer.

Times' Building, 62 Third Street

1865.

PROCEEDINGS OF A CONVENTION OF THE COLORED MEN OF OHIO, HELD IN XENIA ON THE 10th, 11th AND 12th DAYS OF JANUARY, 1865; WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE OHIO EQUAL RIGHTS LEAGUE

PROCEEDINGS OF A CONVENTION OF THE COLORED MEN OF OHIO

Tuesday, January 10, 1865 -- 10 A.M.

The Convention met in the First Baptist Church.

David Jenkins, of Columbus, called the house to order.

On motion, Elder Jas. Poindexter, of Columbus, was chosen Chairman of the temporary organization, and J. A. Thompson, of the same place, Secretary.

Messrs. J. McSimpson, Rev. J. T. Ward, and J. M. Devine were appointed a Committee on Credentials.

During the absence of the committee, Messrs. Jenkins, Poindexter and others made brief speeches.

On motion, the following gentlemen were appointed to nominate officers for a permanent organization: J. T. Ward, Rev. J. A. Warren, Eld. G. W. Bryant, Wesley Gassoway, Henry Hurd, H. Ford, Rev. J. M. Devine, George W. Wilson, and Benjamin Hudson.

On motion of D. Jenkins, the rules of the National Convention, held at Syracuse, N.Y., October 4th, 1864, were adopted as the rules of order of this Convention.

By amendment, it was voted to hold night sessions from 7 to 10 each evening.

Afternoon session.

Rev. J. A. Warren opened the session with prayer. Elder James Poindexter in the chair. Minutes read and approved.

Committee on permanent organization reported as follows:

Elder James Poindexter, President; David Jenkins, Rev. J. A. Warren, Rev. E. Davis, F. D. Merritt, J. McSimpson, Vice Presidents; G. G. Collins, First Secretary; J. A. Thompson, Second Secretary; Rev. Jesse Devine, Chaplain.

On motion, the report of the committee was adopted and discharged.

On motion of Mr. David Jenkins, Messrs. Samuel Troy, Jr., J. D. Betts, and J. H. Johnson were appointed a Finance Committee.

On motion, it was resolved to appoint a Business Committee of nine; afterwards the number was increased to thirteen.

The following gentlemen were appointed that committee, viz: Messrs. A. J. Anderson, D. Jenkins, John Booker, E. C. Jackson, R. J. Robinson, Rev. H. J. Young, Rev. John A. Warren, H. Ford, Rev. J. Miller, Dr. J. McSimpson, Henry Hurd, A. N. Redman, J. C. Abney.

Mr. Robinson offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That the Convention will appoint a committee of one or more, to labor with the General Assembly, for the repeal of the laws which disfranchise the colored citizens of Ohio, and that the said committee be paid a

343

OHIO, 1865

salary of one dollar per day and expenses, and that the said services be rendered immediately on the adjournment of this Convention, and that the money to pay for the same be raised at once by subscription.

Referred to the Business Committee.

On motion of Mr. David Jenkins, gentlemen present from counties not otherwise represented, were invited to seats in the Convention.

On motion, it was further resolved that gentlemen present from other States be invited to participate in the proceedings as honorary members.

Prof. Murray, of Pennsylvania, returned thanks for the honor conferred upon him, and introduced Mr. Robert Hamilton, of the Anglo-African, who sung, "When Slavery dies there'll be Freedom, &c."

The Business Committee reported resolutions, reading:

"Resolved, That we are in favor of our government, against all its enemies," &c.

Another, recommending the Anglo-African, Christian Recorder and Colored Citizen1 to the patronage of the people, and a series of five, commencing:

"Resolved, That, in the opinion of this Convention, the day is at hand when that unmitigated horror; that crime against God and humanity; that sum of all villainies; that hell-born and heaven-defying institution, of American slavery, known and hated by all men, shall cease to exist in the United States," &c.

The first two resolutions were adopted, and the first three of the last series. Pending the consideration of the remainder, the Convention adjourned, by the arrival of the appointed hour.

Evening Session.

President Poindexter in the chair. Minutes read and approved.

The consideration of the resolutions introduced by the Business Committee was resumed. On motion, the remaining resolutions of the series were adopted.

On motion of Mr. A. J. Anderson, the Convention resolved itself into a committee of the whole, Mr. David Jenkins in the chair.

A portion of the address of the National Convention to the people of the United States, was read by Elder James Poindexter.

It was moved that so much of the address as had been read by Mr. Poindexter, be adopted as the sense of this Convention. Laid on the table.

Mr. Henry Hurd read the draft of a petition to the Legislature, praying for the removal of disabilities on account of color. Referred to the Business Committee.

Mr. John Booker offered the following:

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Convention that the colored man or woman who will not do for a colored person, the circumstances being the same, what they would do for a white person, is unworthy of our respect or confidence.

After considerable discussion the resolution was adopted.

Eld. Rufus Conrad and Mr. Peter H. Clark were, on motion, added to the Business Committee.

The motion to adopt a portion of the address of the National to the peopIe of the United States, was taken from the table. Pending its consideration, the hour for adjournment arrived.

Morning Session, January 11th, 1865.

Vice President Jenkins in the chair. Prayer by Rev. J. A. Warren. Minutes read and approved.

The committee of the whole arose and reported progress.

On motion of Mr. A. J. Anderson, all unsettled questions were referred to the Business Committee.

Mr. A. N. Redman moved that M. David Jenkins be appointed an agent to press the claims of the colored man upon the Legislature. Laid on the table.

The Business Committee reported the following:

Resolved, That we proceed to organize a League, auxilliary to the National Equal Rights League. Laid on the table.

On motion of Mr. J. A. Thompson, the Convention resolved itself into a committee of the whole.

Mr. Thompson offered a resolution requiring the government to retaliate

344

BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS

upon rebel prisoners the outrages inflicted upon colored soldiers.

The committee then arose and reported progress. The resolution offered by Mr. Thompson was then adopted. The resolution concerning the formation of a State League was taken from the table and adopted.

The Business Committee reported resolutions thanking Mr. David Jenkins for his services in procuring the passage of certain laws; declaring that the safety of the Republic demands that equal political rights be guaranteed to all in the territories and reorganized States; claiming promotion for colored troops; instructing the Executive Committee to prepare a digest of the Iaws of the State relating to colored schools, and publish them for the benefit of parties interested; recommending the printing of the address of the National Convention, &c.

On motion of Mr. P. H. Clark, the report was laid on the table until the afternoon session.

Adjourned.

Afternoon Session.

President in the chair. Minutes read and approved. Resolutions reported by the Business Committee were taken from the table. After some discussion they were adopted.

On motion of Mr. P. H. Clark, it was resolved to tax each member one dollar, to defray the expenses of the Convention. The total amount paid was $64.1 a portion being contributed by the audience.

Mr. Kinney, of Zanesville, presented his credentials. Messrs. J. McSimpson and W. Gassoway denied his right to a seat, he not having been elected by a general meeting of the citizens, at which they received their appointment. The Convention decided that, under the call, he was entitled to a seat.

Rev. J. A. Warren moved a resolution appointing a committee to arrange for a lecture by Hr. J. M. Langston on the evening of the 12th of January, the proceeds to be applied to sending papers to the colored soldiers. Adopted.

Messrs. J. A. Warren, E. Davis, and G. W. Bryant were appointed that committee.

Convention resolved into a committee of the whole, Mr. David Jenkins in the chair.

Elder James Poindexter read the draft of a preamble and constitution of an auxiliary Leage.

On motion of Mr. J. M. Langston the organization of a League was made the special order of the evening session.

Adjourned.

Evening Session.

M. David Jenkins in the chair. Minutes read and approved.

The special order being the consideration of the preamble and constitution of an auxiliary League, it was voted to consider the subject section by section.

Leave was granted Mr. J. M. Langston to read and explain the constitution of the National Equal Rights League.

On motion of Mr. P. H. Clark, the night session was extended one hour.

The committee then resumed the consideration of the special order. Article one and two were adopted. The blank in the third article was then filled by inserting Cincinnati. It was then adopted. The remaining articles and the preamble were then adopted seriatim, when the committee arose and reported the Preamble and Constitution of the Ohio State Auxiliary Equal Rights League, which was adopted by the Convention.

On motion of Mr. J. M. Langston, Messrs. P. H. Clark and Jackson M. Moore were appointed a Publishing and Revising Committee, and all monies remaining in the hands of the Financial Committee of the Convention were ordered to be placed in their hands, to defray the expense of publishing and distributing the minutes.

On motion of Mr. G. G. Collins, it was

Resolved, That the League, when organized, shall be incorporated.

On motion, article five of the Constitution was reconsidered.

On motion, it was resolved to insert in the article "and qualified" after the word "chosen." The article thus amended was adopted.

345

OHIO, 1865

President

Peter H. Clark..........................................Hamilton County.

Vice President

David Jenkins..........................................Franklin County.

Recording Secretary

John P. Sampson....................................Hamilton County.

Corresponding Secretary

John Booker............................................Franklin County.

Treasurer

Rufus Conrad..........................................Hamilton County.

Executive Committee

A. J. Anderson ...................................... Butler County.

J. T. Ward...............................................Franklin County.

J.M. Moore.............................................Hamilton County.

J. A. Shorter...........................................Hamilton County.

J. H. Scott..............................................Lorain County.

Adjourned.

Morning Session, January 12th, 1865.

Mr. David Jenkins in the chair. Prayer by Rev. H. J. Young. Minutes read and approved.

A motion was offered to adjourn at 11 o'clock -- amended by substituting 4 o'clock. The whole subject was then laid on the table.

The resolution reported from the Business Committee and adopted by the Convention, ordering the publication of the school law, was, on motion, reconsidered. Mr. J. M. Langston read, by request, the parts of the school law relating to colored schools.

The resolution was amended by striking out the words "all legal rights and privileges guaranteed by the State," and inserting "all laws and parts of laws referring to colored children." The resolution as amended was then adopted.

Dr. J. McSimpson offered a resolution for the appointment of a committee to ascertain the number of colored men from Ohio in regiments formed out of the State; the number of killed, wounded, captured, &c. The resolution was adopted, and Dr. J. McSimpson, Messrs. J. T. Ward and J. M. Langston were appointed that committee.

Mr. J. H. Williams, of Chillicothe, offered a resolution requesting each member of the Convention to procure signers to a petition praying the Legislature to remove all disabilities on account of color. Adopted.

Mr. E. C. Jackson here requested the permission of the Convention to read an important item of news just received. Leave was granted. He then proceeded to read the dispatch announcing the action of the Missouri State Convention by which slavery was forever abolished in that State. The Convention received the news with loud and prolonged cheering.

Rev. J. A. Warren moved that the Convention sing a doxology, which was amended, on motion of Mr. J. M. Langston, that after singing Rev. John A. Warren shall offer a prayer of thanksgiving to Almighty God. Adopted.

After singing the doxology, and the prayer by the Rev. John A. Warren, the Convention resumed the consideration of business.

It was then resolved that after Mr. Langston's lecture in the evening the meeting be turned into a celebration of the glorious event, the announcement of which had caused so much joy.

346

BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS

On motion, the Secretary was directed to record the manner in which the convention received the news of emancipation in Missouri, and that a copy of the proceedings of this body be sent to each colored church in St. Louis.

Mr. Williams, of Gallia, offered a resolution expressive of the feelings of the Convention concerning the auspicious event, which was unanimously adopted.

Mr. Charles A. Yancy offered a series of resolutions recognizing the Divine Power in the ordering of this war, asserting the duty of colored men to yield unwavering support to the government, and proposing petitions to the authorities for the confiscation of the property of all colored men who evade their duty in this crisis. The resolutions were adopted.

On motion, the Publishing Committee was instructed to suppress all conflicting or synonymous resolutions.

Mr. J. H. Williams, of Chillicothe, offered a resolution commending Wilberforce University,2 Albany Enterprise Academy, Oberlin College and Iberia College, which was adopted.

Mr. Ward moved that one thousand copies of the minutes be printed. Carried.

On motion, it was resolved to place the sum realized from Mr. Langston's lecture in the hands of Elder G. W. Bryant, to be held subject to the order of the editors of those papers for whose benefit it is intended.

On motion, it was resolved that the members of this Convention shall constitute the members of the Ohio State Auxiliary Equal Rights League for the first year.

Mr. Jackson, of Greene, moved that General Butler's farewell address to the colored soldiers in the army of the James be published with the minutes.

On motion of Dr. J. McSimpson, a resolution of thanks to General Butler was adopted.

Adjourned.

Afternoon Session.

President in the chair. Minutes read and approved.

Mr. Washington, of Franklin, offered a resolution condemning substitute brokers. Adopted.

On motion of Mr. Gassoway, of Muskingum County, the resolution offered by Mr. Yancy, concerning the confiscation of the property of colored men who evade their duty to the government, was reconsidered. The resolution was then indefinitely postponed.

Mr. Washington, of Franklin, offered a resolution recommending Mr. David Jenkins to the Executive Committee of the Equal Rights League as a suitable person to act as agent of the League. Adopted.

Rev. J. A. Warren offered a resolution of congratulation and advice to our brethren of the South, who are just emerging from the night of slavery. Adopted.

On motion of Rev. John A. Warren, the Convention adopted a resolution thanking the congregation of the Baptist Church, and the citizens of Xenia, for their kind treatment; also the officers of the Convention, for the manner in which they have performed their duties.

On motion, the Secretary was permitted to read the minutes of the entire day before the adjournment.

The Finance Committee reported the receipt of $22.99; expended $18.00; balance $4.99.

A vote of thanks to Messrs. Robert Hamilton and J. P. Sampson, editors of the Anglo-African and Colored Citizen, was adopted, when the Convention adjourned.

LIST OF DELEGATES

Champaigne County

Rev. Henry A. Jackson .....................Urbanna.

Henry Ford ..............................................."

347

OHIO, 1865

Clark County

Frank Boyd .................................................. Springfield.

Rev. Jesse M. Devine ............................................. "

B. K. Sampson ........................................................ "

J. J. Whetsell ........................................................... "

A. J. Gordon ................................................ Yellow Springs.

Greene County

John Cousins .............................................. Xenia.

Rev. E. D. Davis .............................................. "

Samuel Troy, Jr. .............................................. "

Elder G. W. Bryant .......................................... "

Cyrus Viney ..................................................... "

Thomas D. Tucker ........................................... "

Demby Roberts ........................ Xenia Wilberforce Institute.

E. C. Jackson ..........................................." "

Cuyahoga County

Rev. J. A. Warren ....................................... Cleveland.

Mercer County

H. Hurd .......................................Carthagena via Celina.

Pickaway County

Benjamin Hudson ....................................... Circleville.

Lorain County

J. M. Langston ............................................. Oberlin.

J. H. Scott ........................................................... "

G. G. Collins ....................................................... "

R. J. Robinson ............................................ Wellington.

Butler County

A. J. Anderson ........................................... Hamilton.

Warren County

J. C. Abney ................................................. Lebanon.

Lucas County

Rev. H. J. Young ........................................ Toledo.

Franklin County

D. Jenkins .................................................. Columbus.

Elder James Poindexter ............................."

John Booker ..............................................."

J. H. Roney ................................................"

J. A. Thompson .........................................."

T. J. Washington ........................................"

J. H. Johnson ............................................."

J. T. Ward ..................................................."

Montgomery County

S. Peters ....................................................Dayton.

348

BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS

Muskingum County

Wesley Gassoway ............................... Zanesville.

Dr. J. McSimpson ................................"

W. R. Kinney ....................................... Putnam

Shelby County

A. N. Redman ..................................... Dinsmore P. O.

J. D. Betts ........................................... Anna P. O.

Delaware County

F. D. Merrit ......................................... Delaware

E. R. Conrad ......................................"

Miami County

Joshua Smith ..................................... Troy.

Rev. J. P. Wilson ................................ Piqua.

G. W. Wilson ....................................... "

Rev. John Miller .................................. "

R. O. Smith ......................................... "

Ross County

John H. Williams ................................. Chillicothe.

Hamilton County

P. H. Clark .......................................... Cincinnati.

Jackson M. Moore .............................."

John P. Sampson ..............................."

Rev. Rufus Conrad ............................."

Rev. J. A. Shorter ..............................."

Athens County

John T. Berry ...................................... Lee P.O.

Gallia County

Elder Henry Williams .......................... Gallipolis.

Jackson County

Charles A. Yancy ................................ Berlin X. Roads.

Meigs County

H. Coles ............................................. Pomeroy.

Clinton County

Solomon Day ...................................... Martinsville.

Washington County

G. W. Harrison ................................... Harmar.

Honorary Members

Robert Hamilton ............ 184 Church Street, New York City.

349

OHIO, 1865

W. D. Jones .............................................. Chatham, C.W.

P. H. Murray ............................................. Reading, Pennsylvania.

RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY THE CONVENTION

1. Resolved, That we are in favor of our Government and the Union, against all enemies, at home or abroad, that our fathers fought to establish, and we will fight to maintain them; that we will not hesitate in the prompt performance of our duty to the nation in this, its dreadful hour of peril, but will prove with our blood that we deserve to be treated as American citizens.

2. Resolved, That in the opinion of this Convention the day is near at hand, when that unmitigated horror, that crime against God and humanity, that sum of all villainies, that hell-born, heaven-defying institution, American slavery, hated of men everywhere, will cease to exist in the United States.

3. Resolved, That we hail the event with joy and thanksgiving, as turning a bright page in the history of progressive civilization, a triumph of just principles, a practical assertion of the fundamental truths laid down in the great charter of Republican liberty, the Declaration of Independence.

4. Resolved, That while we rejoice in its overthrow as a system, there are serious reasons to fear that we will, in another form, remain its victims so long as we are helpless subjects of arbitrary legislation; and having been pronounced citizens by the judicial advisers of the Government; having been taxed for its support, required to hazard and sacrifice our lives in its defense, we do, therefore, solemnly ask, in the name of justice, that there shall remain no laws, State or National, making distinction on account of color.

5. Resolved, That the safety of the Republic demands that, in the Territories, in the rebel States, when reorganized, and throughout the entire nation, colored men shall exercise the elective franchise, and be otherwise fully clothed with the rights of American citizens.

6. Resolved, That there still remain upon the statute books of Ohio, laws unjustly making distinction on account of color, and we earnestly protest against them, and demand of our Legislature the laws be purified, and made to conform to the requirements of Republican justice.

7. Resolved, That we view with pride, the generous ardor of our fellow-citizens, men of color, who have rushed to the standard of their country, and have, in so many bloody fights, maintained the honor of their race, their State and their country.

8. Resolved, That justice demands that the path of promotion should be opened to them, and that they should have the same incentive to honorable exertion as are presented to the white soldier.

9. Resolved, That we extend to our newly emancipated brothers and sisters of the South, just emerging from their night of slavery, our right hand of fellowship and most cordial God-speed, and advise them to enter upon their new and free life with an earnest determination to cultivate among themselves education, temperance, frugality and morality, together with all other things "that pertain to a well ordered and dignified life," and we pledge to these, our brothers and sisters, a constant and manly endeavor, on our part, to secure to them, and ourselves, complete freedom and enfranchisement in this, our native land and under American laws.

10. Resolved, That we do also advise our newly emancipated brothers and sisters who have lived together as husbands and wives, according to slave-holding usages, while slaves, as soon as practicable to be married according to law, and thus legalize their marriage and legitimate their children.

Whereas, It is the opinion of the Convention that it is through the Divine Agency that the present war is thrust upon the American Government, as a just retribution for its insults to justice and its inhumanity to the colored people of the United States, and

Whereas, We believe it to be the duty of every colored man to yield a cheerful obedience to that Divine Agency, and

Whereas, We are convinced that it can be most effectually complied with by giving the Union Army service and support, therefore

350

BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS

11. Resolved, That in our petitions to the authorities of the Government, asking all the rights of American citizens, that we do not mean to include such as have illegally evaded, or refused in any way, to assist the Federal army to subdue the rebellion.

12. Resolved, That we hail with joy the emancipation of slaves in the State of Missouri and also the re-election of Abraham Lincoln,3 and the installation of S. P. Chase as the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.4

13. Resolved, That as fathers and brothers of the brave colored troops in the Army of the James, this Convention express our deepest gratitude to Major General Butler for his fatherly and impartial treatment of the colored soldiers under his command.

14. Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Convention that the colored man or woman who will not do for a colored person, the circumstances being the same, what they would do for a white person, is unworthy of our respect and confidence.

Whereas, Many of our rural districts are not thoroughly informed as to their rights and privileges under the State school laws, and

Whereas, In many cases said districts are deliberately deprived of said rights by Boards of Education; therefore be it

15. Resolved, That the executive Board shall compile, in a circular all laws and parts of laws bearing on the educational interests of the colored people of Ohio, and circulate the same where needed.

16. Resolved, That this Convention, in view of its very high appreciation of the conduct of our brothers in arms, feel called upon to inquire of the General Government what direct action, if any, has yet been taken to release our brave soldiers and sailors now prisoners in the hands of rebels. And that we ask of the authorities prompt retaliation for any wrongs done them.5

17. Resolved, That we appoint a committee of three persons, whose duty it shall be to ascertain the number of men from the State of Ohio who are filling regiments credited to other States; also the number of such men who have been killed, wounded or captured by the enemy, and for the sake of such killed, wounded or captured soldiers, or their families, seek to have the bounty pay or pension due them paid to them, and, if possible, to have such men credited to the State of Ohio.

18. Whereas, We believe great injustice has been done to colored recruits and substitutes by colored and white bounty brokers, acting as recruiting agents, who practice deception upon them, and take advantage of their ignorance, we feel that such men are not worthy of our confidence and respect, and they meet our most hearty disapprobation.

19. Resolved, That the delegates of this Convention be and they are hereby requested to use, in their several localities, their best endeavors to procure signatures to petitions asking the Legislature of this State to adopt such measures as will secure the repeal of all laws making distinctions on account of color; said petitions to be first forwarded to the President of the League at Cincinnati.

20. Resolved, That we view with pride and heartily indorse the efforts of the gentlemen composing the Faculties and Executive Boards of the Wilberforce University at Xenia, 0.; the Albany Enterprise at Albany, 0.; the Oberlin College at Oberlin, Lorain Co., 0.; and the Iberia College in Morrow Co., 0., to develop the intellectual powers of our youth, and for opening a field for the honorable employment of those powers.

21. Resolved, That we recommend to the patronage of the colored people of the State of Ohio, as the best family periodicals, the Anglo-African, Christian Recorder, and Colored Citizen.

22. Resolved, That this Convention return thanks to D. Jenkins, Esq., for his untiring efforts to effect the passage of the law securing to the families of our brave soldiers and sailors their rights, and also the passage of an amendment to the school law.

23. Resolved, That we do most respectfully recommend to the Executive Board of the State Equal Right's League, as a suitable person to act as an agent on behalf of the colored people of this State, with members of our State Legislature, to secure our rights according to law, David Jenkins, Esq., of Columbus, Ohio.

351

OHIO, 1865

24. Resolved, That we recommend the Executive Committee of the State Rights League to print, for general circulation, the address of the National Convention to the people of the United States, if their funds will permit.

25. Resolved, That the members of the Convention, who assembled in Xenia on the 10th of January, 1865, in the First Baptist Church, return their hearty and sincere thanks to the citizens of Xenia and the members of said Church, for the hospitable manner in which they have been entertained; also that we heartily thank the officers of our Convention for the manner in which they have performed their duties.

CONSTITUTION OF THE OHIO STATE AUXILIARY EQUAL RIGHTS LEAGUE

Preamble

Believing that by united action on our part, we can do much to encourage sound morality, education, temperance, frugality and industry among the people, and promote everything to a well-ordered and dignified life; that we can obtain, by appeals to the minds and consciences of the American people, or by legal process, when necessary, a recognition of the rights of the colored people of Ohio as American citizens; and believing, also, that such united action can be secured in our State, through the instrumentality of State organization; therefore, we hereby agree to form ourselves into a State Equal Rights League, and to be governed by the following

Constitution

Art. 1st. This Association shall be called The Ohio State Auxiliary Equal Rights League.

Art. 2nd. The object of this League shall be to secure, by political and moral means as far as may be, the repeal of all laws and parts of laws, State and National, that make distinctions on account of color.

Art. 3d. To accomplish this object the Society shall establish its head-quarters permanently in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio. There it shall have its office and business rooms. It shall also employ the press and such numbers of agents and lecturers as may be needed to carry out the objects of its creation.

Art. 4th. Any person may become a member of this League, by subscribing to its principles as above expressed, and by making such contributions to its funds as he or she may be able. Church organizations, societies and schools may become auxiliary on the same conditions, and shall be entitled to send delegates to the annual meetings of the League.

Art. 5th. The officers of the League shall be, a President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, and Treasurer, who shall hold their offices one year, or until their successors are chosen and qualified, and who, with five persons chosen from the remaining members of the League, shall constitute an Executive Board.

Art. 6th. It shall be the duty of the President to preside at all meetings of the League and the Executive Board. In his absence, these duties shall be performed by the Vice President. It shall be the duty of the Recording Secretary to keep a full and complete record of the doings of the League and of the Executive Board, which record shall be open to the inspection of the members of the League at all times. It shall be the further duty of the Recording Secretary to keep all the books and papers belonging to the League at the office in Cincinnati. And it shall further be the duty of the Recording Secretary to take charge of and keep in good order the offices and business rooms of the League. For the performance of these duties, the Recording Secretary shall receive such compensation as the Executive Board may determine.

The duties of the Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer shall be such as usually attach to such offices. The Treasurer shall give bonds in the sum of one thousand dollars ($1,000), as security for the proper disbursement of all funds that may come into his hands, and shall make a report to the Executive Board of all moneys received by him and expended under its order, at its quarterly meetings.

352 BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS

It shall be the duty of the Executive Board to take charge of the particular and general interests of the League, and make such needful rules and regulations for the accomplishment of the object of the League, as sound discretion and necessity shall dictate. It shall be the further duty of the Executive Board to make an annual report of its doings to the League at its annual meetings.

Art. 7th. The annual meetings of the League, for the election of officers, hearing the Annual Report of the Executive Board, and transactions of other business of the League, shall be held in such places as the Executive Board may determine on the first Monday of January in each year, after 1865.

Art. 8th. The Executive Board shall hold its first meeting at Cincinnati on the first Monday in February next, and quarterly meetings thereafter at said city, at each of which it shall receive reports from its agents and lecturers in regard to all they have done, and all moneys collected; which reports shall be preserved by the Recording Secretary. It shall also be the duty of the Executive Board at each quarterly meeting, to settle in full with its agents and lecturers.

Art. 9th. All agents and lecturers, and agents in the service of the League shall be employed and directed in their labors by the Executive Board, and to the Board alone shall be accountable.

Art. 10th. The Executive Board shall receive for their services at each quarterly meeting, said meetings not to consume more than three days in its sittings, one dollar per day, and necessary traveling expenses.

Art. 11th. A majority of the Executive Board shall constitute a quorum for doing business pertaining to the League.

Art. 12. This Constitution may be altered or amended by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the League, at any annual meeting.


OFFICERS OF THE LEAGUE

Peter H. Clark .............................. President.

David Jenkins ............................... Vice President.

John Booker ........... Corresponding Secretary.

John P. Sampson .......... Recording Secretary.

Rufus Conrad .............................. Treasurer.

Executive Committee

A. J. Anderson, J. M. Moore, J. T. Ward, J. A. Shorter, J. H. Scott.

FAREWELL ADDRESS

of Major-General Benjamin F. Butler to the Colored Troops of the Army of the James

In this army you have been treated not as laborers, but as soldiers.

You have shown yourselves worthy of the uniforms you wear.

The best officers of the Union seek to command you.

Your bravery has won the admiration even of those who would be your masters.

Your patriotism, fidelity, and courage have illustrated the best qualities of manhood.

With the bayonets you have unlocked the iron-gates of prejudice, opening new fields of freedom, liberty and equality--of right to yourselves and your race forever.

Comrades of the Army of the James, I bid you farewell, Farewell!

Benj. F. Butler, Major General.

Copy in the Harvard University Library.

353

OHIO, 1865

REFERENCE NOTES

1. The Colored Citizen was a weekly newspaper published in Cincinnati, Ohio, by the Reverend Thomas Woodson.

2. Wilberforce University, founded in 1856 at Xenia, Ohio, was an institution established for the education of black youth.

3. Lincoln was re-elected president in 1864.

4. Senator, governor of Ohio, secretary of the treasury in Lincoln's cabinet and chief justice of the U. S. Supreme Court (1864-1873), Salmon P. Chase (1808-1873) was a staunch defender of black rights. In May 1865, Chase began an extended Southern tour to investigate conditons in the states lately in rebellion. At Charleston, South Carolina, and elsewhere he addressed audiences of blacks, advocating Negro suffrage.

5. The statement that "we ask of the authorities prompt retaliation for any wrongs" done the black soldier while in rebel hands was probably a reaction to the Fort Pillow Massacre, which occurred on April 18, 1864. After the federal troops holding the fort, 262 of whom were colored soldiers of the 6th U.S. Heavy Artillery, surrendered to Confederate troops led by General N. B. Forrest, an indiscriminate massacre of the Negroes followed. Men were shot, pinioned to the ground with bayonets, clubbed to death while dying of wounds, and burned alive. The brutal massacre aroused tremendous indignation in the country and throughout the world.

Convention Minutes Item Type Metadata

Convention Type

State

Region

Midwest

Meeting Place Affiliation

Baptist Church

Citation

Convention of the Colored Men of Ohio (1865 : Xenia, OH), “Proceedings of a Convention of the Colored Men of Ohio, held in Xenia, on the 10th, 11th and 12th days of January, 1865 : with the Constitution of Ohio Equal Rights League.,” ColoredConventions.org, accessed March 25, 2017, http://coloredconventions.org/items/show/255.