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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the State Convention of Colored People : held at Albany, New-York, on the 22d, 23d and 24th of July, 1851.
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PROCEEDINGS OF THE STATE CONVENTION OF COLORED PEOPLE HELD AT ALBANY, NEW-YORK, ON THE 22d, 23d AND 24th OF JULY, 1851
To the People of the State of New-York:
Be it hereby known, that the undersigned Committee, by the expressed wish of the citizens of Troy and Albany, publish and apprize the citizens and inhabitants of the State, that a Convention is called and will assemble in the city of Albany on the 22d day of July, 1851.
The paramount object of this Convention is, to assemble the disenfranched and aggrieved portion of the people of the State of New-York, to deliberate upon, and propose, then and there, the course to be pursued in the future and onward prosecution of our interests and rights.
We are not insensible to the fact that the public mind has been deeply aroused throughout the length and breadth of this great country, and that those important and agitating questions comprehend and involve our interests and the perpetuity of the government.
And most solemnly are we impressed with this truth also, that the denial of our rights is the overthrow of the rock foundation principles of the country; for the Declaration of Independence, in the language of the late and lamented John Quincy Adams,1 recognizes no despotism, monarchial, aristocratic, or democratic, declares that individual man is possessed of rights of which no government can deprive him.
With this view and understanding, two great questions present themselves for adjustment, the first of which is the recent edict enacted and sent forth by Congress, called the "Fugitive Slave Law;"2 and the second in character, is the coercive and barbarous Colonization Scheme; either of which questions is characterized with infamy sufficient to libel christianity or sink a nation. There are other questions of local and State character that demand our immediate attention, viz: "the School Question;" a system or law of the State for the general education of all classes of children, without distinction or proscription. This philanthropic and far-seeing law has been suspended in its natural and defined course, and hundreds of children are thereby violently ejected from schools, and this in open violation of the law, and for no reason save that of God's giving them a different complexion from those in power.
A second subject for consideration, but first in importance, is the "Suffrage Question." A special law of the State requires every colored voter to be in possession of two hundred and fifty dollars worth of real estate as a qualification. These local and general subjects require the people to act with promptness, union and energy, to effect the desired ends.
Therefore, fellow citizens, in consideration of these important subjects, however remote from the Capital, or humble and secluded in your position, we ask you, in the name of humanity, posterity and freedom, to stop and consider the importance of your presence and co-operation. Let it not be said that ye are insensible and dead to all the interests and motives that stimulate and enhance life; but come up in your sturdy simplicity from the cultivated fields, from the workshops, and from all your different avocations, and make one
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