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An Address to the people of the United States, adopted at a conference of colored citizens, held at Columbia, S.C. July 20 and 21st, 1876.

1876SC-State-Columbia_Address_Senate-Documents (2).pdf

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An address to the people of the United States adopted at a conference of colored citizens held at Columbia, S. C., July 20 and 21, 1876.

COLUMBIA, S.C., July 21, 1876.

To the people of the United States of America:

The undersigned, in the name of the colored citizens of South Carolina, and in their own names, do most respectfully submit to their fellow citizens of the United States the following statements of facts relating to their condition as citizens of the United States, and more especially in the connection with the recent massacre of peaceable and law-abiding citizens of the State at Hamburgh, on the 8th day of July instant, and do most earnestly invite attention to and consideration of the matters therein contained.

In view of the many gross misrepresentations of the origin and cause of the outrage and the circumstances connected with its perpetration, we deem it to be highly essential to truth and justice, and eminently due as well to the memories of those who were murdered by the participants in that massacre as to the characters of their surviving associates, that a calm, dispassionate, and truthful exposition of that terrible affair should be presented for the information and consideration of the American people.

We would call attention to the fact that in obedience to the requirements of the constitution of South Carolina, an act providing for the enrollment of the male citizens of the State of certain ages, who were, by the terms of said act, made subject to the performance of militia duty, was passed by the general assembly and approved by the governor on the 16th day of March, 1869, and that, by virtue of said act, colored citizens of the State were duly enrolled as a part of its military force.

By the further provision of the said act of the adjutant-general of the State, under the direction of the commander-in-chief, organized the militia of the State into regiments, brigades, and divisions, under the name of the "National Guard of the State of South Carolina," as denominated and styled in said act—said "national guard" being a volunteer force.

That the white citizens of the State, with by few exceptions, failed, neglected, and refused to become a part of said force, the consequence being that the active militia of the State became composed almost exclusively of colored citizens.

That the county of Edgefield, of which the town of Hamburgh was then a part, constituted one of the military districts of the State under the appointment and allotment made by the adjutant-general—one regiment, known and numbered as the Ninth Regiment of Infantry, being allotted to said district, with one F. A. Belanger as colonel, and P. R. Rivers as lieutenant-colonel thereof.

That one of the companies comprising said regiment was organized in and allotted to the town of Hamburgh, one John Williams being elected captain of said company by the members thereof.

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