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Proceedings of the State Equal Rights' Convention, of the Colored People of Pennsylvania, held in the city of Harrisburg February 8th, 9th, and 10th, 1865 : together with a few of the arguments presented suggesting the necessity for holding the convention, and an address of the Colored State Convention to the people of Pennsylvania.
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On motion of Mr. William Nesbitt, Mr. John Alexander, of Altoona, was made an honorary member of the Convention; also Mr. James Alexander, of Harrisburg, on motion of Mr. O.L.C. Hughes.
Mr. D. D. Turner moved that Messrs. Charles Bryan, M. W. Johnson and Joseph S. Campbell be elected honorary members. Carried.
Messrs. John Shorter and George Hooper, on motion of Mr. Moses Brown, and Mr. John Thomas, on motion of Mr. William Nesbitt, were elected honorary members.
The Business Committee, through their Chairman, Prof. George B. Vashon, made their first Report, consisting of a Declaration of Sentiment and the following Resolutions.
On motion of Mr. R. M. Adger, the Declaration of Sentiment was adopted. [See Appendix.]
Mr. O.L. C. Hughes moved that the Resolutions reported by the Committee be taken up separately. Carried.
The first of the series of Resolution was read, as follows:
Resolved, That we, the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights' Convention in Assembly met, do congratulate one another, the State League, and the friends of Equal Rights without regard to color throughout the State and country, upon the assembling of so large a number of delegates representing the feelings, sentiments and desires of our people upon this all important subject of Political Equality; and that we pledge our harmonious and energetic efforts in all our deliberations for the common good. Mr. Charles B. Gordon moved its adoption. Carried.
2. Resolved, That the Emancipation of the District of Columbia,8 Maryland, Louisiana, Missouri9 and Tennessee; the amendment of the Federal Constitution,10 and its endorsement by various State Legislatures, including that of Pennsylvania; the admission of John S. Rock to the Supreme Court of the United States; and the progress of liberal sentiments everywhere manifest, are auspicious signs of the times, and demand our earnest and united efforts for the improvement of our moral, social and political condition. Adopted, on motion of Mr. B. F. Pulpress.
3. Resolved, That we, regarding the Elective Franchise as the all important subject for our deliberation and united action, insist upon the necessity of petitioning Congress and the Legislature to so alter and amend the laws as to give every native born colored citizen over the age of twenty-one, the right to vote, as fully as their white fellow citizens possess it. The Resolution was adopted, on motion of Mr. Joseph A. Nelson.
4. Resolved, That We are for measures and not for men, and will not permit friend or foe to retard the great movement now in operation, aiming to secure Equal Rights without regard to color; and that every man in the State be solicited to contribute one dollar a year to create a permanent fund to carry on this great movement. Adopted, on motion of Mr. William Nesbitt.
5. Resolved, That the present state of affairs demands of this Convention, which is the legitimate exponent of the sentiments of the colored people of this State, that it give all efforts looking toward their elevation to legal and political equality, and the entire recognition of their rights as men, citizens and soldiers, its unqualified approbation and support. And that of all the many efforts being put forth in the cause of humanity, we recognize none more commendable to the lovers of justice and christianity, than those of the "Ladies' Union Association" of Philadelphia, to which this Convention tender their warmest thanks, for untiring exertions in relieving the wants of our sick and wounded soldiers, whose suffering can only be imagined but never truly described; and that we pledge ourselves to use every influence within our power, to encourage and sustain these ladies in their laudable and benevolent enterprise.
Moved, by Mr. Joseph C. Bustill, that the Resolution be adopted.
Mr. O. C. Hughes moved to amend by inserting "and their auxiliaries," after the words "Ladies' Union Association of Philadelphia." Mr. Hughes argued earnestly for the amendment,--that other associations which had been working in the same good cause, might receive notice and encouragement at our hands.
Mr. Joseph C. Bustill raised the point that the amendment was not in order, as it destroyed the original intent of the Resolution.
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