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Proceedings of the first convention of colored men of Kentucky held in Lexington, March the 22d, 23d, 24th and 26th, 1866. With the constitution of the Kentucky State Benevolent Association. Printed by order of the convention.


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Proceedings of the first convention of colored men of Kentucky held in Lexington, March the 22d, 23d, 24th and 26th, 1866. With the constitution of the Kentucky State Benevolent Association. Printed by order of the convention.


Pamphlet (32 p. ; 22 cm.)











Lexington, KY









March the 22d, 23d, 24th and 26th, 1866.















March the 22d, 23d, 24th and 26th, 1866.













The Convention met in the "Ladies Hall." Henry King of Lexington, called the house to order. On motion, Mr. George Perry of Fayette was chosen Chairman of the temporary organization, and Henry Scroggins of the same place, Secretary.

The blessing of Almighty God was invoked for the Convention by Rev. Geo. W. Dupee.

Messrs. S. Straws of Franklin ; E. B. Cheatham of Marion ; J. Madison Harris of Mercer; J. H. Campbell of Kenton and Geo. W. Dupee of McCracken; were appointed a Committee on Credentials.

During the absence of the Committee, Revs. John G. Fee and E. P. Smith, and Serg't. Thomas made brief speeches.

The Committee on Credentials reported the credentials all valid—save in the contested case of Malcolm Ayres, vs. Dennis Doram and Benj. Tibbs; decided in favor of the last named gentlemen, as they were elected prior to the first named.


On motion a Committee on Permanent Organization was appointed—Messrs. E. B. Cheatham; Benj. Tibbs; J. H. Campbell; Henry King and R. Lee; who retired and after due deliberation and mature consideration, submitted the following named gentlemen to the Convention for their approval.

For President, Mr. Henry King of Fayette, Co.

" Vice President, Mr. E. B. Cheatham of Marion Co.

" Secretary, Mr. J. H. Campbell of Kenton Co.

" 1st, Asst. Sec'y. Mr. G. W. Dupee of McCracken Co.

" 2nd, " " Mr. Henry Scroggins of Fayette Co.

" Treasurer, Mr. Benj. Tibbs of Boyle Co.

" Serg't-at-Arms, Mr. Wm. Stuband of Bourbon Co.

Who were elected with few dissenting voices.

On motion, Revs. J. G. Fee and E. P. Smith were elected Honorary Members.

On motion, a Committee on Education—Messrs. Alex. Campbell; W. H. Myers; S. Straws; Alex. Botts and Thomas Monroe were appointed.

On motion, a Committee on Resolutions was appointed.

A letter was received from Gen. Ely, stating that Maj. Gen. Clinton B. Fisk would arrive in the city at 7 o'clock, and desired to address the Convention and Citizens generally on matters pertaining to the public good.

It was on motion resolved that the Convention adjourn to the 1st A. M. E. Church, to hear the General at the appointed hour.

On motion it was resolved that when we adjourn, we adjourn to meet in the "Ladies Hall" at 9 o'clock A. M. Friday. Adjourned.

At 8 o'clock P. M. the 1st A. M. E. Church, was crowded with Delegates and the elite of the city, to listen to the remarks of Gen. Fish; after speaking some time, he introduced Mr. J. M. Langston, who kept the audience entranced by his eloquent appeals, for fully an hour and


a half, when the meeting was dismissed and everybody went home satisfied with the night's proceedings.

Second Day's Session.

Morning—Friday, March 23d, 1866.

President King in the chair; Session opened with prayer by Rev. J. Claiborne. Roll called: Minutes read and approved; A motion to tax members absent at Roll Call fifty cents was after considerable discussion lost.

Mr. E. Wells of Fayette as appointed Sergeant-at-Arms vice Mr. Stuband, relieved.

A motion to fine members absent at Roll Call without a justifiable excuse, twenty-five cents, prevailed.

Messrs. J. M. Langston of Ohio, C. A. Yancey of Ohio, Robt. James of Frankfort, David Collins of Ohio and Thos. De S. Tucker were elected Honorary Members.

A motion to appoint a "Committee on Finance" prevailed. J. Madison Harris of Mercer; Wm. Stuband of Bourbon; Dennis Doram of Boyle; Saml. Griggsby of Henry and Thos. R. Jackson of Fayette composing said Committee.

On motion it was resolved that a Committee on "Address to the People of the State of Kentucky" be appointed.

After some discussion all of the Committees, save the one on "Finance' and the one on "Credentials" were merged into one to be called the "Business Committee," with power to elect their own Chairman.

The Lexington Local Reporter for the Cincinnati Papers was admitted to a seat in the Convention.

On motion, the Committees were authorized to obtain assistance from any just source.

A motion prevailed that Mr. Henry Johnson of Harrison County be an Honorary Member: Sergeant Thomas, U. S. A., and Edward Jackson of Ohio had the like courtesy granted to them.

During the absence of the "Business Committee" Mr.


M. Oldham, Jr., was called upon and addressed the Convention in a short but interesting manner.

Other gentlemen entertained the members and the visitors for some time, with pertinent remarks, many characterized with sparks of flashing wit and gems of thought that will live long after they are gathered to their homes beneath the sod.

"Business Committee" sent in the following Resolution which was adopted:

"Resolved that no member shall be allowed to speak more than twice, nor longer than ten minutes, without consent of the Convention."

Mr. John M. Langston was introduced to the members and requested an audience this evening to hear from him the claims of the Colored Men's National Monument Association to the memory of our Martyr-President Abraham Lincoln—which was acceded to. The hour of noon having arrived the Convention took a recess until 2 o'clock, P. M.


Friday, 23d, 1866

Prayer by Rev. S. Griggsby.

Mr. Nelson Callahan of Greenup presented a letter of character and offered his credentials, as alternate of his people; as the duly elected delegate refused to come. His credentials being approved he was admitted to a seat with the Convention.

Mr. Nathaniel P. Oldham of Cincinnati, S. C. and S. H. Oldham of Kentucky were elected Honorary Members.

A resolution instructing the Secretary to furnish the report of the proceedings to the Correspondent of the Associated Press prevailed.

No business being before the Convention the Rev. Reuben Lee was called upon and made a short address. After he was through there was a general call for the Rev.


Mr. Miles, who entertained the Convention for some time. Several other gentlemen occupied the time until the Committee was ready to make their report.

Committee on Finance submitted the following—Whereas, the expenses of the Convention being found to amount to sixteen dollars per diem; there Resolved; that each member be taxed twenty-five cents per day to defray the same. And the balance of funds collected and remaining in the hands of the Mass Meeting Committee, be turned over to the Committee on Finance, to assist in defraying the expenses. (J. M. Harris; Dennis Doram; Wm. Stuband and R. C. Jackson.)

"Business Committee," presented for the consideration of the Convention a Preamble and series of Resolutions.

On motion they were received; and upon motion for their adoption it was ordered that they be taken up seriatim.

Preamble adopted without discussion.

First Resolution: "We the Colored People of Kentucky, etc.," adopted.

Second Resolution; "That while we claim each and every right and power guaranteed to any and all other American Citizens, including even that of suffrage, as naturally belonging to us to day, waiving for the time being the ballot box and the doctrine of equality before the Law, etc."

This Resolution occasioned considerable discussion; issue being made upon so much of the resolution as did not press the question of suffrage and the ballot box. The resolution was amended by striking out the word "while" in the first sentence and all after "to day" to "the Law" inclusive, allowing the balance to remain as originating in the Committee Room.

After considerable debate the "Resolution" and the "Amendment" were upon motion of Mr. Morris made the


special business of the Morning Session.

Upon the suggestion of Rev. Dupee the Convention resolved to adjourn to 1st A. M. E. Church, after the afternoon session to hear from Mr. Langston, the claims of the Lincoln Monument Association. Adjourned.

At 8 o'clock P. M., the meeting was called to order by President King; the Church was filled with an intelligent audience, who after the matter was fully explained to them, contributed handsomely; seventy-one dollars being raised in a short while, which was placed in the hands of a committee of Ladies and Gentlemen, to be forwarded to the Treasurer, Mr. Gruley, at St. Louis, Mo.

Mrs. Britton and Miss Ellen Sherman sang a beautiful song—"Sherman's March to the Sea," which was well received by the audience.

After appropriate ceremonies the meeting adjourned.


Saturday, March 24, 1866.

Convention convened at 9 o'clock A. M.: President King in the Chair: Prayer by Rev. Miles of Marion—Roll called—Rev. Jackson Blackburn suggested the reading of the 12th Chapter of Hebrews, which was ordered to be read by the aforesaid brother.

One Delegate, Thos. Monroe of Scott, coming in after Roll Call as fined twenty-five cents. Mr. Wm. Stuband of Bourbon being on the same list paid his fine likewise and took his seat.

Reading of the minutes dispensed with, and the "Special Business" "2nd Resolution" taken up, and went through a regular tearing process.

Mr. George Perry opposed the amendment, Messrs. Calahan and Campbell of Wodford against the amendment; Mr. Campbell of Kenton favored the amendment and spoke at length against the original resolution; Mr. Dupee of McCracken was in favor of the amendment, and


spoke at length: Mr. Morris of Jefferson denounced the amendment as "mischievious and calculated to do harm; we live amongst the southern people and it will not do for us to put anything on paper that will have a bad effect. There are two stand points, the Northern and Southern, we live in the South. I have voted in the North and know what it is to be debarred of the privilege; the day has not come yet, it may come, will come, but we must work and wait. Gentlemen be practical. This may not hurt you or me individually living in great cities, but it will do incalculable harm in the back counties. We must act for the public good," etc.

Straws of Franklin spoke in favor of the amendment, Jackson Blackburn against. M. C. Johnson arose but was ruled out of order. Mr. Geo. Perry arose to a question of privilege. Rev. P. Johnson of Jessamine begged indefinite leave of absence on account of sickness in his family, which was granted, he being instructed to pay his dues, amounting to one dollar and twenty cents over to the Treasurer.

Mr. Perry proceeded in his argument denouncing the amendment. Rev. R. Lee obtained the floor in favor of the original resolution, being interrupted by Rev. Dupee who was declared out of order; when he concluded, the amendment was read. Mr. Lawrence of Garrard obtained the floor and spoke against the amendment. Mr. Dennis Doram spoke against the amendment, said "it was calculated to incense the people amongst whom we live, and will be productive of ill felling," etc. Mr. Griggsby of Shelby in support of amendment - Branham favored the amendment.

Mr. Tucker obtained the floor, when Mr. Campbell arose to a point of order, saying the gentleman had spoken twice on the subject, but by general consent he proceeded. He said "God has so ordained that we can no


more get along without the white man than he can get along without us; we are one and the same, all of our interests are identical and inseparable," etc. Mr. J. H. Campbell read the resolution and amendment, was in favor of amendment.

"This Convention could not have been treated better in any part of the country than it has been here in Lexington, by the whites; this is the first Colored Convention ever held in the State; if they act so well are we not induced to demand our rights," etc.

Mr. Hubbard opposed the amendment in an able argument showing the fallacy of demanding impracticable things, which we have no idea of attaining at present.

Mr. Lawrence opposed the amendment. Previous question moved and ordered to be put.

Amendment lost, yeas 16, nays 23. The Resolution was then adopted, yeas 33, nays 6.

A request was handed in to know "how many of the Delegates could read and write? a friend to humanity, and to our people wanted to know; it was offered as a resolution." Every man could read, all standing when the vote was put.

3d Resolution was next taken up and after some little discussion, adopted.

4th Resolution passed without much trouble.

5th, 6th and 7th adopted one by one with little or no discussion, every body seeming to be exhausted on the 2d Resolution. The hour of noon having arrived the convention took recess until two o'clock P. M.


Saturday, March 24th, 1866.

President King in the chair. Prayer by Rev. Logan Dupee; Minutes of previous meeting read, corrected and approved.

The Secretary was ordered to send proceedings of Fri-


day afternoon and evening as special matter to "Cincinnati Gazette."

The Business Committee brought in Declaration of Sentiment; which was commented on as meeting the issue exactly, and was received and adopted. They also presented a Constitution for the organization of the Kentucky State Benevolent Association, which was on motion of Mr. Morris made the special order for the night's session.

Mr. Campbell asked leave to present a petition from a Committee of Ladies who have purchased a "Hall for Educational purposes," etc.

Petition received and laid on the table. Adjourned.


President in the chair: Prayer by Rev. Straws.

The "Special Business" consideration of the Kentucky State Benevolent Association. Constitution taken up, and was debated at length; Mr. Benj. Tibbs of Boyle spoke in favor of its adoption; Mr. Lee opposed it; Mr. Miles moved for indefinite postponement, but was prevailed upon to withdraw it.

Mr. S. Griggsby spoke in favor of it; Mr. H. Scroggins favored the bill; so also did Messrs. Hubbard and Straws.

Rev. Dupee called to order by the President. Mr. Morris favored the measure.

Mr. Tucker moved the previous question, but the chair decided that it was inadmissable coming from an honorary member. Morris rose to press it, contending that if an honorary member has the right to take part in debate, with all due regard to the received authorities, he should be entitled to make and offer resolutions.

Dupee moved the previous question which was ordered, and the Preamble and Constitution adopted.

The Convention then went into an election for officers


of the "Kentucky State Benevolent Association."

Mr. Morris offered Henry King of Fayette as chairman—elected without a dissenting voice.

Madison C. Johnson of Franklin was nominated Vice President, elected. Henry Scroggins of Fayette, Recording Secretary, elected. J. H. Campbell and Horace Morris were both nominated for Corresponding Secretary, but Mr. Morris peremptorily declining, Mr. Campbell was elected. Mr. George Perry of Fayette was elected Treasurer, and Reuben Lee; Erasmus Wells; G. W. Smith of Fayette; Horace Morris of Jefferson and S. Straws of Franklin; Executive Committee.

It was on motion ordered that all of the proceedings be published in pamphlet form.

Horace Morris of Louisville, J. H. Campbell of Kenton and Henry Scroggins of Lexington, were appointed "Revisory and Publishing Committee."

A vote of thanks was returned to Mr. John M. Langston for his presence and the service he has rendered the Convention; also to Mr. C. A. Yancey.


Monday Morning, March 26th, 1866.

President King in the chair, session opened with prayer by Rev. S. Straws.

Roll called; Minutes read and approved; Rev. Geo. W. Dupee appearing after roll call was arraigned before the bar and plead a lawful excuse: the chairman requested him to state it, but casting his eyes on the large concourse of ladies and gentlemen, he hesitated.

On motion of Mr. Hubbard a smelling committee was appointed to hear Mr. Dupee's excuse, with instructions to report to the convention.

Mr. Tibbs amended the resolution "that the committee be empowered to send for the necessary papers, to fully investigate the case," accepted.


The Financial Committee was instructed to estimate the amount that each Delegate would be compelled to pay, to defray the expenses of the Convention.

Mr. Wm. Stuband was arraigned before the bar of impartial justice for absence and paid up like a man.

Report of committee of investigation in the case of Rev. Geo. W. Dupee laid on the table.

Mr. Hubbard obtained the floor and said, "Gentlemen we are about to adjourn without making provision for the future. We will not stop here; this is only the commencement, we look beyond to-day away into the future, and for the good of all. I would suggest that we appoint an Executive Committee of five to call a Convention, whenever in their judgement they may think it expedient."

Mr. H. Morris did not think it necessary. "We have organized a State Benevolent Association, created to cover just this want, amongst many others. It is their province to call a Convention whenever they deem it necessary; and while I am up, I move that the Executive Committee of the "State Benevolent Association" call a convention whenever they think the necessity of the situation demands it." Carried.

Mr. Wm. Lawrence obtained the floor and enlightened every body by his close reasoning and logical conclusions. He spoke his full time, and every one was sorry when the President's "gavel," like time's inexorable stroke, cut him off in mid career.

Rev. Lee of Lexington during the labors of the Committee on Finance, entertained the Convention and visitors in a happy manner.

Mr. Calahan obtained the floor, when up popped M. C. Johnson to a point of order which was not sustained. Mr. C. proceeded for sometime, when J. H. Campbell arose, and contended that both of the other gentlemen


being out of order, he must be in: he then read a Petition from the Ladies' Educational Association, requesting the Convention to make them a contribution for the purpose of aiding them in paying for their beautiful "Hall."

Messrs. Morris, Dupee, Monroe, Hubbard, Doram, Tibbs and others highly commended the praiseworthy undertaking of the Ladies. Mr. Campbell moved that Miss E. O. Warfield and Mrs. Ann Oldham be requested to take a seat at the Secretary's table and receive such sums as the gentlemen feel disposed to contribute. Prevailed.

Mr. M. C. Johnson arose to a point of order which was not sustained, there being nothing before the house.

On motion of Rev. Dupee, the Delegates were instructed to lay the claims of the Ladies before their constituents, and forward them the money.

General Business Committee sent in Resolution No. 8, Resolved "That we heartily endorse the enterprise, etc.," which passed without debate.

Mr. Peter Lewis of Louisville and Chas. Clark were elected honorary members.

The Ladies arose and reported that they had received in cash $25 and had $17 promised them, for which they returned their heartfelt thanks.

Mr. Morris, chairman of "Revisory and Publication Committee" requested the name and Post Office address of each Delegate, which on motion was ordered to be furnished him.

On motion of Mr. Scroggins, it was resolved that twelve hundred copies of the proceedings be published.

Mr. Morris said that they had resolved that they would have 1,200 copies, but had forgotten the most essential point—the cost. They will probably cost ten cents a piece and you have made no provision yet to meet the debt.

Mr. Alex. Botts moved that one hundred dollars be put


in the Publishing Committee's hands to pay for the printing of the proceedings, which was adopted.

On motion, Mr. Lee, H. H. Britton, Peter Smith and Chas. Jenkins were elected honorary members.

A paragraph was read stating that Genl. John M. Palmer, had offered his resignation and that it had been accepted by the President of the United States: whereupon the Rev. Jackson Blackburn offered the following resolution. "Resolved: That we tender to Maj. Genl. John M. Palmer, our cordial and heartfelt thanks for the earnest manner in which he has administered affairs in the Department of Kentucky, and for the zeal he has displayed, and his devotion to freedom, justice and humanity;" which was unanimously adopted, and on motion three cheers were given for the General.

On motion of Mr. Campbell; a resolution was offered authorizing the Kentucky State Benevolent Association to take ten shares of stock in the "Colored Citizen" and spoke in favor of the measure.

Tho hour of noon having arrived, Mr. Morris submitted that any action now, without a suspension of the rules and extension of time was out of order.

The rules were suspended, and after considerable discussion the motion of Mr. Campbell was not entertained.

Committee on Finance made a partial report which was received. Recess.


Monday, March 26th, 1866.

President King in the chair. Roll called.

Report of Committee in relation to the unaccountable absence of Rev. Geo. W. Dupee was indefinitely postponed.

Mr. Lawrence called for the reading of the Finance Committee's report.

Rev. Dupee, arose and wished to know if Messrs. M.


C. Johnson and S. Straws had obtained permission from this "Convention" to go home? President said they had not. Rev. Dupee—"Then Mr. Chariman I think they have treated this body with contempt and should be censured therefor. I move that the Secretary be ordered to write to those gentlemen informing them that we are highly displeased with their conduct." Mr. Morris wished to amend by having their names erased from the roll; not agreed to. The motion of Rev. Dupee was then ordered and prevailed.

Mr. Austin Hubbard coming in at this juncture was arraigned before the house and claimed that his excuse was a good one, but no one could see it, as he failed to state what it was. On motion a Committee was appointed to investigate his case, who reported shortly after that in their judgement the gentleman should pay his fine. Report accepted and Committee discharged.

Mr. Doram offered a resolution that the proceedings of the Convention including the Declaration of Sentiment and Resolutions, be published in the "Lexington Union Standard," "Cincinnati Commercial and Gazette," "Louisville Journal," "Colored Citizen," "Colored Tennessean" and "Christian Recorder," and all other papers favorable to the objects for which this Convention was called. Adopted.

Mr. Morris called up a resolution offered by him on Saturday evening, and said that when offered he was under the impression that the Convention would adjourn sine die Saturday night, but as it did not, he would like to have it recorded in the final proceedings; granted: The resolution read: "Resolved that we tender to the citizens of Lexington our sincere thanks for the kind and hospitable manner in which they have entertained us since we have been amongst them; that we will never forget this generous and cordial consideration, and will look upon these


few days as a green spot in life's desert tramp."

Mr. Hubbard offered a vote of thanks to the President (Henry King,) and all the other officers connected with the Convention: passed.

A resolution was offered ordering a copy of the Proceedings of this Convention to be forwarded to His Excellency Andrew Johnson, President of the United States; Maj. Gen. O. O. Howard; Maj. Gen. J. M. Palmer; Maj. Gen. C. B. Fisk; Governor Bramlette; Gen. Ely; John G. Fee; Gen. Brisbin; Lieut. Co. York and others, not forgetting Maj. Gen. Thomas and Lieut. Gen. Grant.

Convention waiting for the final report of the Committee on Finance, was entertained with speeches short and pertinent by several gentlemen, including Messrs. Jas. Turner of Lexington; Wm. Turner of Frankfort; E. B. Cheatham of Marion and others. The Committee appearing, the gentlemen gave way to hear their report.

The Committee through their chairman J. Madison Harris submitted the following


Thirty-seven Delegates were assessed at two dollars per capita; of these twenty-four have paid. Thirteen have absented themselves, (gone home,) indebted to the Convention twenty-six dollars. Of the incidental money the Committee have remaining in their possession twenty-nine dollars and forty cents; received from subscriptions thirty-five dollars, of which sum eighty cents is not available, leaving thirty-four dollars and twenty cents.

Received from Delegates, . . . . $48 00

" for Incidental expenses, . . . 29 40

" from Subscriptions, . . . 34 20

Total, $111 60

J. M. HARRIS, Chairman.


The report of the Committee was received and on motion the Committee was discharged.

On motion of Mr. Hubbard, the money and all papers and documents were ordered to be turned over to Mr. Morris, chairman of the Publishing Committee.

Mr. John M. Langston, honorary member from Ohio, kept the Convention and audience in a jolly mood all the afternoon by his wit and flashes of eloquence.

It was on motion resolved that after appropriate ceremonies the Convention adjourn sine die.

On motion, it was resolved that we adjourn to meet in 1st A. M. E. Church at 71/2 o'clock, P. M., to hear a Lecture from J. M. Langston, on the "Convention; its doings and ultimate effects."

Afternoon session was closed with prayer by Rev. M. Ayres;—Benediction by Bro. Miles. Adjourned to 71/2 o'clock, P. M.

Night session in 1st A. M. E. Church. The church was filled with an intelligent audience of ladies and gentlemen, a good many white persons being present, and listened for an hour or two to an eloquent speech from Mr. Langston. After he sat down several other gentlemen made short speeches, amongst whom was Chas. A. Yancey of the "Colored Citizen."

A vote of thanks was tendered Mrs. Britton and daughters, and Miss King and the ladies and gentlemen, all who assisted in furnishing some new and choice music: when the Convention after singing the doxology, adjourned sine die.


Henry King, Lexington, Fayette Co.

Reuben Lee, " " "

Henry Scroggins, " " "

George Perry, " " "


Horace Morris, Louisville, Jefferson Co.

Austin Hubbard, " "

Rev. J. Claiborne, Paducah, McCracken "

" Geo. W. Dupee, " "

J. Madison Harris, Harrodsburg, Mercer "

Rev. Logan Dupee, " " "

Dennis Doram, Danville, Boyle "

Benj. Tibbs, " " "

Alex. Botts, Catlettsburg, Boyd "

Rev. Nelson Calahan, Greenupsburg, Greenup "

" Leroy Branham, New Castle, Henry "

George Griggsby, Eminence, " "

B. S. Newton, Hopkinsville, Christian "

Christopher Malone, " " "

Wm. Stuband, Paris, Bourbon "

Edward Johnson, " " "

Henry Dunston, Speedwell, Madison "

Fielding Jones, Richmond, " "

Peter Johnson, Nicholasville, Jessamine "

Horace Fletcher, " " "

E. B. Cheatham, Lebanon, Washington and Marion "

Rev. Wm. H. Miles, " " "

Wm. Lawrence, Lancaster, Garrard "

Washington Lusk, " " "

W. F. Lee Masterson, Stanford, Lincoln "

Bedford Nelson, Crab Orchard, " "

Simon Griggsby, Shelbyville, Shelby "

Hamilton Graves, " " "

J. H. Campbell, Covington, Kenton "

Rev. Jackson Blackburn, Georgetown, Scott "

" Thos. Monroe, " " "

Alfred Barnes, Mt. Sterling, Montgomery "

Louis Peters, " " "

Alex. Campbell, Midway, Woodford "

Louis Jackson, " " "


Madison C. Johnson, Frankfort, Franklin Co.

Stradford Straws, " " "

Saml. Cavill, Lawrenceburg, Anderson ".


Rev. John G. Fee, Berea, Ky.

" E. P. Smith, "

John M. Langston, Ohio

Chas. A. Yancey, "

Rev. David Collins, "

Erasmus Wells.

Robt. James

Thos. De S. Tucker.

Henry Johnson.

Sergt. Thomas.

E. C. Jackson, Ohio.

Nat. Oldham, jr., "

S. C. Oldham, Ky.

S. H. Oldham, "

Peter Lewis, "

Chas. Clark. "

H. H. Britton, "

Peter Smith, "

Jas. Turner, "

Chas. Jenkins, "





Recognizing the hand of the Almighty Ruler of the Universe, in the course which events have taken in the last few years; acknowledging that it was His power which overthrew that accursed system under which we so long groaned, which crushed out every high aspiration, debased us to a level with the beasts of the field, robbed us of every attribute of humanity, and prostituted our wives, our sisters and our daughters, and not being unmindful of the stupendous change, which makes us this day Freedmen and Citizens, we are grateful for all the blessings which have been showered down upon us, and with hearts overflowing with joy, hail the day of our Emancipation, as the brightest in the calendar of the nineteenth century.

We hold these truths to be incontrovertible; God hath made of one blood all the people of the earth, and implanted in their bosoms the desire for elevation and a higher order of existence.

We are not unmindful of the fact, that we have just been released from bondage; that we are just stepping out of the dark, into the full beauty of God's bright day; that FREEDOM does not mean idleness, nor exemption from labor; that with all its blessings, it confers upon us new


duties, new obligations, new responsibilities, and we trust new energies and new purposes. We realize and accept the fact, that, we have no wealth save horny hands, no skill but what untaught nature gives; that we must work, must acquire property, must educate our people, and make for ourselves and our posterity undying characters—reputations which will grow brighter as time with rapid whirl rolls on the ages.

We know the position we occupy in Kentucky; we know that we do not stand upon the same legal platform with the whites: we do not desire nor do we expect social equality; we know that there is a social barrier which we cannot overstep even if we would. We know that some of the best friends we now have, lately held our brothers in bondage, and when the chain was snapped asunder, by no consent on their part—acquiesced in the new order of things.

We have faith in the intelligence and integrity of the great mass of the American People, as well the people of Kentucky as the other states, and are fully persuaded, that they will yet do us justice. We believe that when they have settled down to a realization of the change which does exist in our relations, they will rather help than retard us in our desire and efforts to elevate ourselves.

We see in the earnest endeavor of some of our late largest slaveholders, now foremost in the cause of humanity in efforts for the amelioration of our condition a bright omen, a happy augury of the future.

We do not believe that the great commonwealth of Kentucky can afford to let us live and drag out a miserable existence amongst her people, steeped in ignorance and degradation: we can see in the enactments of the past Legislature even, a faint glimmer of the coming day, and believe firmly that they will grant us ere long our just and natural rights.


We have not lost confidence in the President of the United States, we do not believe that he will leave us in the wilderness, but that the pledges made by him while Provisional Governor of Tennessee, and since he has become Chief Magistrate of this Great Republic, will be fulfilled; nor are we without confidence in the General Government and its determination to protect us in our freedom.

We will inculcate in the minds of our people a desire to become landholders; to own a little spot which they may call their own, around which they can gather all the comforts of a home, and have a spot upon which their bones and the ashes of their fathers may be laid away in peace.

We "native and to the manner born;" we are part and parcel of the Great American body politic; we love our country and her institutions; we are proud of her greatness and glory in her might; we are intensely American, allied to the free institutions of our country by the sacrifices, the deaths and the slumbering ashes of our sons, our brothers and our fathers, whose patriotism, whose daring and devotion led them to pledge their lives, their property and their sacred honor, to the maintenance of her freedom, and the majesty of her laws. Here we intend to remain, and while we seek to cultivate all those virtues that shall distinguish us as good and useful citizens, our destiny shall be that of earnest and faithful Americans, and we will recognize no principle, we will allow no doctrine that would make our destiny, other, than the destiny of our native land and our fellow country-men.



Whereas: Education, wealth and character are essential to the elevation and prosperity of any people; and

Whereas: It is our duty to our country, to ourselves and to our posterity, to cultivate all those habits of life, which tend to create, foster and sustain amongst us those courses of conduct which bring to mankind these essential elements of National prosperity and happiness; therefore

1. Resolved: That we the colored People of Kentucky in Convention assembled, here and now pledge ourselves to each other and to our country; relying upon God who hath brought us up out of the dark land of bondage and conferred upon us Freedom and the responsibilities of disenthralled humanity, to labor to the utmost of our poor ability to infuse into the minds of our Colored Fellow Citizens the desire to educate themselves and their children; to establish and maintain well ordered and dignified characters; and to secure by manly endeavor in all honorable industrial pursuits, wealth with all its attendant material blessings.

2. Resolved: That while we claim each and every right and power guaranteed to any and all other American Citizens, including even that of suffrage, as naturally and legally belonging to us, to day, waiving for the time being, the ballot box and the doctrine of equality before the law, we ask the opportunity, we demand the privilege of achieving for ourselves and our children, under the regu-


lation of impartial State and Federal law, the blessings which pertain to a well ordered and dignified life.

3. Resolved: That we are not only grateful to Almighty God for our Emancipation in this Country, but for the full recognition by the General Government of our Citizenship based upon our nativity; thus making this land our home and recognizing and supporting by law our right to the soil, and many of the blessings attendant upon our free institutions.

4. Resolved: That his country is indeed our home; here we intend to remain, mingling our efforts with the efforts of our white fellow citizens to sustain and perpetuate its liberties and its interests and making our destiny one in common with the destiny of all other Americans.

5. Resolved: That the gallant and heroic behavior of the Colored Soldiers of the American Army, in the late Rebellion, is not only worthy of their noble sires, who fought the battles of this country in her struggles for Independence and the war of 1812, but it challenges the admiration of the civilized world and the respect and favor of their fellow countrymen.

6. Resolved: That as it is imperatively essential that we have some organ whereby we may reach the public ear, and properly represent ourselves, it is the duty of this Convention to recommend to the favorable consideration of the People—the "Colored Citizen," the "Christian Recorder" and the "Colored Tennesseean." And that we particularly endorse the "Colored Citizen" as the organ of the Colored people of Kentucky.

7. Resolved: That this convention recommend the citizens to take "DEPARTMENTS" in the "Colored Citizen" to be edited and controlled by citizens of this State.

8. Resolved: That we heartily and fully endorse the enterprise, inaugurated by our sister, Charlotte Scott, formerly a slave, belonging to Dr. Rucker of Virginia, look-


ing to the erection of a National Colored Men's Monument, to the memory of our Martyr-President ABRAHAM LINCOLN, the emancipator of our Race; and we commend this work to the cordial sympathy and support of the Colored People of Kentucky.

9. Resolved: That we tender to Maj. Gen. John M. Palmer, our cordial and heartfelt thanks, for the earnest manner in which he has administered affairs in the Department of Kentucky; for the zeal he has displayed and for his devotion to freedom, justice and humanity.

10. Resolved: That the Delegates one and all tender to the citizens their heartfelt and sincere thanks for the kind and hospitable manner in which they have been entertained, and will regard the few days they have been amongst them as a green spot in life's desert tramp.

11. Resolved: That we heartily thank the officers of this Convention for the able manner in which they have discharged their duties.


Horace Morris,

J. Blackburn,

Alex. Campbell,

Wm. Lawrence,

Thos. Monroe,

Horace Fletcher,

S. Straws.





Henry King of Lexington, President.

Madison C. Johnson of Frankfort, Vice President.

Henry Scroggins of Lexington, Recording Secretary.

Jas. H. Campbell of Covington, Corresponding Secretary.

Geo. Perry of Lexington, Treasurer.


Reuben Lee, Fayette Co.

Erasmus Wells, " "

G. W. Smith, " "

S. Straws, Franklin "

H. Morris, Jefferson "



Whereas: The purposes entertained by the callers of this Convention and those who have responded to the call, can be best promoted by a close union of all who are interested in the principles of justice and right sought to be established; therefore be it

Resolved: That we proceed to organize an association to be called the "Kentucky State Benevolent Association," with Auxiliary and Subordinate Associations in the State.

Resolved: That in the establishment of this Association


we do not seek to disorganize or in any way interfere with any existing Society or Institution of a Benevolent or other character; but believing that the interests of Colored Men in the State will be best subverted and advanced by a union of all our means in a given direction, we therefore invite the co-operation of such societies in the advancement of the objects of this Association.


ART. 1. The objects of this Association are to encourage sound morality, education, temperance, frugality, industry, and to promote everything that pertains to a well ordered and dignified life.

ART. 2. The members of this Convention shall constitute the members of this Association for the first year by signing the Constitution and paying into its Treasury fifty cents each.

Hereafter only such persons as shall be duly accredited representatives of the Auxiliary Associations herein provided for, shall constitute its members; provided that no Auxiliary Society shall be entitled to more than one representative for five dollars contributed annually by each Society with an additional member for each additional sum of three dollars thus contributed. And further provided, that the credentials of such Delegates be endorsed by the auxiliary societies of the State from which the delegates are sent.

ART. 3. The officers of the Association shall be a President, Vice President, Recording and Corresponding Secretaries, a Treasurer and an Executive Committee, consisting of the President, Vice President, Recording Secretary and five other persons to be elected by the association at the same time with the other officers; five of whom shall constitute a quorum.

ART. 4. The President shall preside at all regular meetings of the Association, and of the Executive Committee;


shall see that all decrees of the Association are duly executed, and perform such other duties as may be imposed by the Association. The Vice President shall, in the absence of the President perform his duties.

The Recording Secretary, shall duly record the proceedings of the Association and of the Executive Committee draw all orders on the Treasurer when directed by the proper authority ; receive all money paid to the Association, pay over the same to the Treasurer and take his receipt therefor. The Corresponding Secretary shall under the guidance of the Association and the Executive Committee, Conduct the correspondence of the Association; receive from the agents of the Association or other persons all documents of historical, statistical or general interest, and shall carefully preserve, arrange and tabulate such documents for the use of the Association.

The Treasurer shall keep all money collected by the agents, or contributed by the Auxiliary Associations. He shall report to the Association annually, and to the Executive Committee, whenever required, the condition of the Treasury. He shall pay out money only upon the order of the Executive Committee, and when properly signed by the President and Recording Secretary.

He shall give proper security for the faithful performance of his duty, and for the safekeeping of all property entrusted to his charge belonging to the Association.

ART. 5. The Executive Committee shall establish an office in Lexington in which place they shall hold quarterly sessions, on the fourth Tuesday of September, the fourth Tuesday of December, the fourth Tuesday of March and the fourth Tuesday of June. the session to commence at 10 o'clock A. M. Special meetings may be called when deemed necessary or expedient by the Executive Committee, and they shall have power to suspend any officer for malfeasance in office. A majority of the


Executive Committee shall reside where the office is established.

The Executive Committee shall hire an agent or agents who shall visit the different portions of the State accessable to them, and shall call the people of those portions together in Convention or otherwise, and urge them to take the steps necessary to secure the rights and improvements for the attainment of which this Association is formed. They shall encourage the publication of such documents as may be of advantage to our cause ; and may at their discretion publish brief appeals, arguments or statements of facts, which may have a tendency to promote the ends of the Association, provided that such documents shall be furnished to the public at such rates as shall admit of their general distribution. They shall apportion among the Auxiliary Associations according to the number of members reported, the amounts which the Association shall urge upon the officers of such Auxiliary Societies a prompt response to such demands.

They shall make an annual report to the Association, of their labors, and shall recommend such improvements as may be suggested by their official experience.

ART. 6. The Officers shall hold their offices for one year, or until their successors are elected. They may receive such compensation as may be determined by the Executive Committee.

ART. 7. Persons in different parts of the State friendly to the purposes of this Association, may form subordinate Associations, witch such subordinate organizations as they may deem proper, provided that no distinction on account of color or sex shall be permitted in such Auxiliary Associations. Such Associations may at their discretion employ agents, and issue such documents as they may deem condusive to the ends for which this Association


is formed. They shall collect and pay into the Treasury of the Kentucky State Benevolent Association such sums as may be assessed upon them by a vote of a majority at the annual meeting, and shall co-operate with the Association in all movements which it shall inaugurate for the accomplishment of the purposes for which it was formed.

ART. 8. Individuals or Associations favorable to the objects of the Association, and desirous of co-operating with and supporting the objects it endeavors to accomplish, without being themselves connected therewith as members or representatives, may identify themselves with the work sought to be accomplished, by contributions made through the Recording Secretary.

ART. 9. The State Benevolent Association shall at each annual meeting, designate the place in which its next session shall be held.

ART. 10. All persons who are members of subordinate Associations may be entitled to Honorary Membership at the annual meeting of the State Benevolent Association by the payment of two dollars, or to full membership by the payment of such an amount as may be required to entitle a subordinate Association to one representative.

ART. 11. The Kentucky State Benevolent Association shall have power to try its members for breaches of order, violation of the Constitution, and other offences at variance with the objects and the interests of the Association, and upon conviction, such person or persons may be suspended, reproved or expelled as may be determined upon by the judgment of a majority of the members present at an annual meeting; and such trial shall be conducted in accordance with the practice and usages of other well governed organizations in similar cases.

ART 12. The Sessions of the State Benevolent Association shall be held annualy, on the third Tuesday of


September at 10 o'clock A. M.: for the election of officers and the transacting of such other business as may be brought before it.

ART. 13. At any annual meeting of the State Benevolent Association, this Constitution may be altered or amended by a vote of the majority of the members present.


Geo. W. Dupee, Lee Masterson,

Henry Scroggins, Horace Morris,

Wm. Lawrence, Elijah Hathaway,

Reuben Lee, Danl. Jackson,

Benj. Tibbs, Henry Dunston,

Simon Griggsby, Lewis Jackson,

Geo. Perry, Henry King,

George Griggsby, B. S. Newton,

Austin Hubbard, J. Madison Harris,

M. C. Johnson, Nelson Callahan,

S. Straws, Erasmus Wells,

Leroy Branham, Horace Fletcher,

E. B. Cheatham, Jas. H. Campbell,

John H. Graves, C. Malone,

W. H. Miles, Wm. Stuband,

Thos. Monroe, Alfred Barnes,

Geo. W. Smith, Alex. Botts,

J. Claiborne, Jno. Warfield,

Thos. De S. Tucker, Adam Smoot,

Malcolm Ayres, L. J. Dixon,

Alex. Campbell, J. T. Harris,

Logan Dupee, H. Porter,

Bedford Nelson, Lewis Tandy,

Lewis Claiborne.

Convention Minutes Item Type Metadata

Convention Type




Meeting Place Name

"Ladies Hall"


First convention of colored men of Kentucky (1866 : Lexington, KY), “Proceedings of the first convention of colored men of Kentucky held in Lexington, March the 22d, 23d, 24th and 26th, 1866. With the constitution of the Kentucky State Benevolent Association. Printed by order of the convention.,”, accessed September 21, 2019,