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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Report on the Texas State Colored Men's Convention in Houston
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The minority report on plan and organization is as follows:
"To the President and Members of the Colored Men's Conference of the State of Texas: We, your committee appointed for the purpose of submitting to your honorable body plans for future action, and for marking out a course for our future deliberation, do hereby recommend that we organize under the name, head and style of the 'Colored Men's Union,' for the following objects, to-wit:
"To protect life, liberty and property of each other.
"Further, that we organize as far as practicable in every county in the state all male citizens, for the purpose of wielding such influence upon all candidates for positions of senators, representatives, district judges and all other offices where their vote and influence can be used to accomplish such ends as will redound to the good of our people, such as repealing the separate coach law, making appropriation of money for building industrial schools for our youths, investigating into the condition of our people in the homes of correction and in such other places of confinement where unhappy difference exists on account of color, and where color is made a bar to reception of such privilege as belongs to the free, liberty-loving people.
"We therefore offer this for your indorsement. G. J. STARNES."
After much wrangling and harangues the majority report was adopted.
After this the conference then resumed a dignified position and went to business. The report of the committee of address to the people was unanimously adopted, and is as follows:
"To the Colored People of Texas: We, the undersigned committee, appointed by a conference of colored men assembled in Houston, May 23, 1895, desire to call your attention to the conditions which environ our race in this state, and respectfully suggest a remedy. Although loyal citizens of the United States, and citizens and taxpayers of the state of Texas, we are the special target of pernicious class legislation, that is degrading and oppressive in the extreme. Although machinery for the administration of the law is entirely in the hands of the white race, we are often denied a trial by the forms at law, and permitted by the authorities to be mobbed and lynched on any pretext or charge which may suit the mob, and that in cases where our liberties and property rights are being passed upon by the courts, are systematically and persistently eliminated from jury service and often suffer grievances and wrongs at the hands of biased and prejudiced jurors, who are often foreigners, newly naturalized, and scarcely able to speak our language.
"But the especial injustice and indignity heaped upon us and which calls loudest for immediate relief, is the abominable separate coach law, which forces us to pay equal fare and does not in the least degree furnish us with equal accommodation on the common carriers of the country. We are cooped up in a small compartment, meanly appointed, often crowded together, and to which in many instances persons who are excluded by said law have access, not always conducting themselves in a manner agreeable to a person of respectable habits. We express the common opinion when we say that the separate coach law, as carried out by the railroads, is a stench in the nostrils of the respectable and better element of our people, who will not cease to cry against it until it is wiped from the statute books. But if the accommodations were equal in every respect we protest that it is wrong in principle, un-American and pernicious to single us out above all other races who travel as a proscription. We
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