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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Report on the Texas State Colored Men's Convention in Houston
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We beg to say in conclusion that the conference is, or rather will be non-partisan and non-sectarian, and that we only propose to attack on race lines, institutions aimed against us as a race.
If you decide to attend please notify Emmett J. Scott, editor of the Texas Freeman, at once of your intention.
You are requested to forward the names of such men of character and ability as you think will be some use to us in our deliberations, so that we may invite them.
If you find it impossible to come, induce some good, true, influential, race-loving man to attend. Yours respectfully,
I. B. SCOTT
President of Wiley University, Marshall
N. W. CUNEY,
Ex-Collector of Customs, Galveston.
R. L. SMITH,
Member of the Twenty-fourth Legislature, Austin.
EMMETT J. SCOTT,
Editor of the Texas Freeman, Houston.
President I. B. Scott addressed the convention as to the purposes of the call. The following is a synopsis of his address:
"Gentlemen of the conference: It is extremely unfortunate that any part of the citizens of a great and free country like this should find it necessary to meet for the purpose of protesting against 'race laws' enacted for the purpose of depriving them of rights that they believe to be justly due every citizen without regard to race or previous condition. Notwithstanding the unfortunate appearance of such a condition of things, it is just what we face at present. It seems strange that a race, however greatly oppressed while weak, will themselves become oppressors when strong.
"The people whom we feel wrong us as a race with unjust class legislation have themselves felt the iron heel of the oppressor in the early days of their history. It was the full purpose of the callers of this conference to embrace every leading and race loving negro in our state, and hence we instructed the gentleman who sent out the invitation to send one to every such man whose address we could secure, and ask that these parties forward the addresses of others. Our purpose is to secure the abolition of first, anti-race laws, such as the separate coach law; second, mob violence; third, to secure for the race the right to serve on juries. We do not hope to accomplish this through force or by any illegitimate way, not at all. We hope to reach these ends through the regularly organized channels of our state government. We believe that it is as easy to arouse a man to action by touching his political interests as it is by touching his financial interests. It would be foolish for us to attempt this by physical force; this would be suicidal. We can only use the means within our grasp--the ballot, which is the right of every citizen. When we come seeking legal rights, we wish it understood that we are not influenced by any thought of social equality. The negro is not suffering for want of social equality, but for want of absolute equality before the law, and the question is how shall we secure this. Many think such gatherings do no good, but I ask, how will others know we are dissatisfied unless we show it. Agitation has been the means of bringing about every reform known to history. I believe anything is better than inaction. Say what you will, the negro must do something, and
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