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Proceedings of the State Convention of the Colored Freemen of Pennsylvania, Held in Pittsburgh, on the 23d, 24th and 25th of August, 1841, for the Purpose of Considering their Condition, and the Means of Its Improvement. (Copy 2)

1841PA.10.pdf

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115

PENNSYLVANIA, 1841

long as we pursue this most pernicious practice, we must expect to remain degraded and despised. Its evils are innumerable, only a few of which can be noticed here.

1. The want of constant and profitable employment must forever keep us poor.

2. Poverty exposes us to insult and abuse from others, without the proper means of defending of ourselves; and it also creates strong temptation to the commission of crime.

3. It prevents parents from bringing up their children in an orderly and proper manner, rendering them unfit for anything honorable or useful in future life.

4. It compels them to put their children out at service, to perform the most degrading drudgery, for a bare subsistence, which often proves alike fatal to their health and their morals. This is most lamentably true as it regards our females. The very heart sickens even to think of the insults and miseries which they suffer in large towns and cities; it is enough to extinguish every delicate and virtuous feeling peculiar to the sex;

5. The inevitable poverty of our people, in the cities, crowds them into dwellings, and places, distinguished for anything but comfort and health; and everyone knows that the consequence of inhabiting such dwellings is disease and death. Within the last ten years, causes which we shall not stop here to notice, have either prevented or destroyed the lives of more than two hundred thousand of our people in the United States; and will we lay to, with our own self-murdering hands, and help on this work of death?

6. By settling in the country, and becoming independent farmers, we would escape almost entirely that prejudice which operates so injuriously against us in the cities. It is a mistake to suppose that there is any prejudice against mere color. Gentlemen and ladies, distinguished alike for their learning, their virtues, and their taste, have articles of dress, furniture, and equipage, of black, and every variety of color. Indeed, a full suit of black is universally considered the most rich and magnificent that can possibly be worn. Hence prejudice is not against color, but against condition; therefore improve the condition, and you destroy the prejudice.

We can pursue this part of our address no further; but again must earnestly entreat all our people, who are not successful mechanics, to settle in the country, and become cultivators of the soil.

The last resolution of the Convention to which we shall invite your particular attention, is that in regard to holding

County Conventions

We recommend this measure to you in the confidence of experience. It has been tried in several counties, with the most eminent success. In many places the people knew nothing of their resources or ability to help themselves, until they called one of these general meetings. There are no means like it, for stirring up the feelings, creating public spirit, and bringing about the important results. Hold your County Conventions, and out of them will grow your Temperance, Education, Literary, and Benevolent Societies. And in them you can devise means for raising the funds mentioned in the resolution of the Convention. To carry out the measures of the Convention will require much labor and some funds; more perhaps than anyone district can well bear; and it would be unjust to expect that one district should bear all the burthen, when the whole are to share in the benefit. Each district, and each individual, will therefore come forward cheerfully, and contribute their share.

We have thus briefly called your attention to the principal general resolutions of the Convention, the considerations which induced them, the means of accomplishing their objects; and it only remains for us to speak briefly of their result, if carried out in the spirit and intention of the Convention.

We wish to impress most distinctly upon your minds, what we mentioned in the outstart, that the Convention never intended the passage of the resolutions to be the end of our labor, but rather only the beginning. It was well that we have been too long, and too justly, charged with beginning every thing, and accomplishing nothing; but it was believed that the time has come,

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