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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the State Conference of the colored men of Florida, held at Gainesville, February 5, 1884.
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We, the Committee on Platform, and the selection of an Executive Committee, have considered the matters referred to us and beg leave to report as follows:
Whereas it is changed that the Danville massacre was the result of a Democratic plan to defeat the Independent movement in the South and to solidify the South in the next Presidential campaign, and to secure thereby the electoral vote of the South for the Democratic candidate for the Presidency in 1884 ; and
Whereas it is feared that the present division among the colored voters in this State, between the two old parties and the Independents, will lead to weakness, and thereby render our political future hopeless and our large vote ineffective in the next election, as it was in the first district in the last campaign ;
Therefore the colored men of Florida, in conference assembled do now resolve, That we determine on such a course of action as will unite our vote in favor of the election of an Independent for Governor, should the circumstances then existing warrant it.
By uniting we can effect the election of such men to office as will secure to our people redress for the following evils and grievances to which we are subjected :
(1) We want increased facilities of common school education and the highest branches. so as to be able to reduce the high rate of illiteracy which the last census shows to exist among our people in this State.
(2) We want a fair representation on juries, and a fair show in the courts before justices of the peace.
(3) We want to cast our votes freely and have them fairly counted, and also a better system of registration. one which shall give county commissioners less power to do injustice to colored voters.
(4) We want fair recognition and representation in the offices of the State and county, and also under city governments.
(5) We want to enjoy the same rights and privileges accorded to others in all public places, on railroads and steamers, when we pay the same fare.
(6) We want a law enacted restoring to the right of suffrage all men, (most of whom are colored,) disfranchised for alleged petty offenses tried before justices of the peace.
These are our grievances and disadvantages, and it will be to our interest hereafter to act in full political accord in local and State matters, with such of the whites as will deal justly with our people and give them such chances as will enable them to enjoy the full rights of citizenship, and to bear their just share of public burdens and responsibilities.
Resolved. That we adopt the speech of the president, James Dean, Esq. as the address of this Conference to the people of the State of Florida, and we recommend that the same be printed in pamphlet form, with proceedings of this Conference.
STATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE.
We recommend the following gentleman to be the State Executive Committee, for the colored voters of Florida, whose duty shall be to recommend such a political policy as is suggested in the platform:
General Josiah T. Walls, Alachua County.
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