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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the Council of the Georgia Equal Rights Association. Assembled at Augusta, Ga. April 4th, 1866. Containing the Address of the President, Captain J. E. Bryant, and Resolutions Adopted by the Council.
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are in this State nearly 500,000 colored persons: they are taxed to support a Government which denies to them representation. The white citizens of the State have sent distinguished men to represent their interests, and at this time, one of the ablest statesmen of the South is in Washington laboring in their behalf. It is but reasonable to suppose that these men will fail to represent your interests. True they are honorable, high-minded men; men who would scorn to do a mean act; but they have known you as slaves and they are not willing to grant you equal rights. They are honest in the belief that it would not be for the interests of the State to grant you these rights I am aware that it will be a difficult task to overcome this prejudice. You will never do it if you 'lie supinely upon your backs and hug the delusive phantom of hope until your enemies have bound you hand and foot.' They will never respect you if you act as slaves now that you are free men. But if you manfully demand your rights, and struggle bravely to obtain them, you will be sussessful. True you will be stoutly opposed, and desperate efforts will be made to defeat you, but if you persist in the struggle you will be at length victorious.
I need not say that you should labor peaceably; that you should give no one an opportunity to point to acts of lawlessness committed by your race as an excuse for withholding equal rights. Your past good conduct is a guarntee that you will be law-abiding citizens in the future, unless driven to madness by acts of tyrany.
You must pay a tax to support a Government that denies to you representation; you can not prevent it if you would, and if you wish, to be represented you must tax yourselves. To enable you to do this you have formed an Association. I trust you will labor zealously to increse the membership of this As: sciation until it shall embrace the entire State, and until thousands are united, laboring to secure for every one, without regard to race or color, equal rights.
I desire to call your attention to the Loyal Georgian, and to the importance of sustaining it. You are aware that this paper was established by the Union League of August, and that the State Association decided to assume its publication and pay the debts contracted for the paper by the League, that you were directed to take charge of and publish it, that you placed it in the hands of a sub committee consisting of Houston of Savannah, Finch of Athens, Beard of Augusta, and myself. I was requested by this sub committee to take charge of and publish the paper.
I found that the debt assumed by the Association amounted to $370 and that there was no money in the Treasury. There was no Editor, and the foreman of the printing office, who had performed the duties of Editor and Publisher, was not a suitable man for the position. I therefore decided to discharge him, and employ Rev H F Edes as Editor, and Mr Lauder, as foreman in the office.
The receipts have not been sufficient to support the paper, and I have been obliged to borrow money for that purpose. I have thus
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