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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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The necessity for the protection of life, liberty and personal security, and the advancement and improvement of certain great facilities for the benefit of mankind lie at the bottom and constitute the fostering spring or fundamental cause that leads to the formation of all civil society under free government. These great facilities are all comprehended under the five following heads: (1) property, (2) religion, (3) education, (4) civil rights, (5) political rights. These facilities form vital parts of the sub-structure of government, and as such are public institutions, any injury to which, to the prejudice of the people, is a grievance worthy of public attention. Let us consider them separately in order to discover in what our grievances consist.
The material facilities of the people comprise their industrial, financial, and business operations of every kind, which are employed for the acquisition of real or personal property. To protect property rights or secure a man in the sole possession and enjoyment of certain external things of the world, to the exclusion of every other person, is one of the chief ends of government. We do not believe that we have upon this score any complaint that amounts to a public grievance. We are of the opinion that the prevailing sentiment of the State favors the security and enjoyment of our property rights in all cases where we place ourselves within the pale of the law. It is true that there seems to be a feeling among a few of our white friends in some cities that conspires at times to prevent us purchasing lots in some particular locality, but we trust and honestly believe that in the course of time that spirit of caste will vanish away. While we have no public grievance relative to our property rights or material condition, yet there are some things pertaining to it that require the attention of the individual members of this Conference.
All other things being equal, the rule for determining the importance of one citizen in a State over another is the superior quantity of property that he has, the amount of capital that he controls, or the annual income of the business that he carries out. This forcibly suggests the bounden duty of every homeless colored man in Florida to himself, to his posterity, and to his State, viz.: that he should begin to-day, and continue his exertions without flagging energy, till he has acquired lands, a home, and such personal property around him as will
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