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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.

1865PA 10.pdf

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184

BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS

After an animated discussion on Mr. Bustill's point of order, Mr. Hughes withdrew his amendment by common consent.

The question being now on the original resolution, Rev. W. J. Alston desired to make a few remarks in opposition to the passage of the Resolution in its present form. He said, that he was here, a member of this Convention as a delegate from an Association in his Church. That Association was known as the Ladies' Sanitary Commission of St. Thomas Church, and had been working and are now earnestly and persistently, in season and out of season, working for the alleviation of the sufferings of the sick and wounded soldiers.

They had commenced early in this good work, and had recently held one the largest and most successful fairs ever held in Philadelphia, for this cause. Over twelve hundred dollars had been raised at this Fair, by these ladles; and he was deprived accidentally on his way to Harrisburg of a record of their deeds and a report of their workings which would satisfy any members of this body, that there was no association among us which has done, and is now doing more for the sick and wounded soldiers than the Ladies of this Commission. He thought the ladies ought to be included in this Resolution.

Mr. Wm. D. Forten, said that as he had written and presented this Resolution, which seems so to arouse us, he thought it proper to state a few fact in explanation of it. In the first place, this society, the "Ladies' Union Association," was independent of any other in the State, they were not as his friend Alston's society is, connected with, or auxiliary to a white Society. They were entirely free to dispose of their funds as pleased them best and c they were primarily organized for the purpose of relieving the needs of colored sick and wounded troops. Furthermore, this society had so far sympathized with the objects for which this Convention had been convened, that they had paid their ten dollars and joined the State League. He thought this Association alone should go through in this Resolution, and assured the Convention that their noble efforts in behalf of our Troops, merited any compliment we could give.

The Rev. E. Weaver, called for a second reading of the Resolution after which Mr. James R. Gordon obtained the floor and opposed the passage of the Resolution. Mr. Gordon said, from what he knew personally, the Association represented by Rev. Alston had done nobly for the suffering heroes who had fallen wounded and sick upon the field and in the camp. He was in favor of giving "honor to whom honor is due," and as both these societies, and others throughout the State had been engaged in this good work--he thought it unfair to notice one and ignore the others;--he would therefore offer an amendment, that after the title, "Ladies' Union Association," there be inserted, "Ladies' Sanitary Commission of St. Thomas Church, "Union Association of Harrisburg," and other similar associations throughout the State.

Rev. W. J. Alston, in favoring the passage of the amendment, wished it to be understood that he was only contending for the equality of these societies,--he did not desire the one to be in the least above the other--he desired a unanimity of action and harmony with respect to both.

Messrs. A. S. Cassey and Jesse E. Glasgow participated briefly in the discussion and Mr. D. D. Turner moved the previous question.

The President inquired if the previous question should be taken, and it was was declared affirmatively.

The question, then being on the amendment offered by Mr. Gordon, it was adopted. The Resolution as amended, was then put upon its passage and carried.

Mr. Robert M. Adger read a Resolution in reference to the Banneker Literary Institute and similar Societies. On motion of Mr. Geo. B. White it was referred to the Business Committee.

Mr. J. J. Wright offered a Resolution in reference to colored teachers for colored schools. It was referred to the Business Committee on motion of Mr. M. Cupit.

A Resolution, thanking Charles Sumner, M. B. Lowry and others for their exertions in behalf of colored men's rights, was introduced by Mr. James W. Purnell, and on motion of Mr. William Cooper, referred to Business Committee.

Mr. A. M. Green moved that the Committee on Evening meetings be directed to invite the Hon. Messrs. Graham, Striker and Bingham to address the Convention this evening. Carried.

The President then declared the Convention adjourned until this afternoon at 2 o' clock.

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