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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.


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73 NEW YORK, 1851

5. That we feel ourselves to be weak, needing help; and we earnestly ask of our white friends to give us their aid in our distress, and to show not only in private, but in public that they have feeling hearts and willing hands.

6. That we believe that public opinion is the bulwark of all law, and that this ODIOUS AND CRUEL LAW will be entirely inoperative, if the moral sense of this community speak; and therefore we ask of this community; with the voice of our oppressed people, that they will give such an expression of their sentiments respecting this law as will protect this place from the cries and tears of his victims.

7. That we are fully determined, here in our places, to wait the issue; to rest our cause upon God, upon the friends of religion and humanity, and upon our own manhood; to bear ourselves so as to prove that we are worthy, not only of liberty, but of the full privileges of citizens, some of which are now denied us; and to surrender life rather than to be taken into slavery.

8. Resolved, That the fugitive slave law is the law of tyrants.

9. Resolved, That disobedience to tyrants is obedience to God.

10. Resolved, That we will obey God.

Amos Gerry Beman,

John Nelson Still,

J. P. Johnson,


Report of the Committee on Education

Your committee cannot hope to embrace in this report, suggestions that will meet every case connected with the subject of Education; we can only deal with general principles.

First, in order that the general welfare of the colored people be improved--the influence of vice and immorality be overcome--that they may become elevated from that condition of self-degradation in which ignorance and vice has engulphed a large proportion of the race, it's all important that they become educated; without education we cannot hope to be emancipated from the bondage of involuntary degradation, which we are placed under by the cruel malicious system of prejudice and caste. By education must be effected full developments of those hidden and important truths, which when brought to bear upon the hearts and consciences of mankind, shine forth in the beauty of their nature and illumine their minds, to the end that all members of the great human family shall have accorded to them their full and complete rank as such, regardless of any outward circumstances as denote birth or country.

Education here must be considered intellectually, morally and physically. There can be no harmonious development of character where attention is given only to the growth and strengthening of particular divisions of capacity, without reference to the entire man. A system of discipline which tends simply to improve the physical nature, or even the physical and moral without regard to the intellectual, produces at best but gigantic strength, the lowest type of man's excellency. And a superstitious religion is always debasing and even dangerous in proportion as it is removed from the light of reason and mental culture. This is not more philosophically true, than proven in the general history of the human race.

Education then, properly understood, has to do with all the laws and principles that regulate our progress in this life, and only answers its legitimate duty when it seeks to elevate, to liberalize, to christianize. To this end, it gives to its subjects a clearer vision and a greater power to bring out hidden virtues and to combat those errors and prejudices that only live as they are able to pervert men's minds and to make them low and groveling.

These truths are clearly seen in the facts that surround us on every side, in the great struggle now being waged between the oppressor and the oppressed. In the community about us, we are realizing daily the bitter evidence, that an education given in a one-sided direction, and continued for a series of years from father to child, grows up into a system all powerful in the accomplishment of its ends, and subduing to its aims well nigh every mind that receives it. Dictated by that self-love that delights to claim superiority and to exercise rule, we see the social and school education of the

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