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Scripto | Transcribe Page
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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Convention assembled at the appointed hour; the President in the Chair. Prayer was offered by the Rev. C. J. Carter, and the minutes read and approved.
Mr. O. L. C. Hughes offered a Resolution in reference to the formation of a State League. On motion of Mr. A. T. Harris it was referred to the Business Committee.
Rev. Elisha Weaver and John E. Price read, each a Resolution, which were both referred to the Business Committee.
Mr. Jackson, of Birmingham, desired to make a few remarks before the Convention, and was, on motion, permitted to speak.
The gentleman had come from opposite Pittsburgh, and had recently an interview with the Hon. Mr. Morehead, who had told him that it was best for the colored people to keep possession of their funds and not to expend them in efforts which at the present time would only prove fruitless.
Mr. Jackson was gratified to see that the Convention had proceeded thus far with so much harmony. He stated that the colored people of Birmingham had taken part in the celebration of President Lincoln's first inauguration, and were invited and expected to participate in his second inauguration. When asked by the copperheads, if they were voters--they answered, they were men.
Mr. B. F. Pulpress moved that the Secretary, on behalf of the Convention, extend an invitation to both branches of the Legislature, to attend this evening's session of the Convention. Carried.
Mr. James Alexander, on motion of Mr. A. T. Harris, was elected Assistant Sergeant-at-arms.
Mr. Moses Brown moved that a committee of three be appointed to wait on the Superintendents of Railroads and enquire what arrangements could be made to secure a reduction of fare to those members of the Convention who had paid full fare. Carried.
The President appointed Messrs. O. L. C. Hughes, Charles H. Vance and Thomas Early, the Committee.
The Business Committee, through their chairman, reported the following Resolutions, which, on motion of Mr. W. H. Simpson, were considered separately.
The following Resolution was read first:
Resolved, "That this Convention recognizing the importance of the moral and literary elements in a people's character, earnestly urge our young colored men to organize among themselves institutions tending to their intellectual and moral elevation." Adopted on motion of Mr. J. J. Wright.
The second Resolution, on motion of Mr. John Chaplain, was adopted, as follows:
Resolved, "That we regard with disdain, and question the loyalty of those members of the State Legislature who so strenuously opposed the ratification of the anti-slavery clause of the United States' Constitution, and all other matters which particularly pertain to the interests of the 50,000 loyal colored citizens of the State; and that we heartily thank the Hon. M. B. Lowry, of Erie County, for his manly and Christian stand in defence of the disfranchised portion of this Commonwealth, and particularly for his answer to the inquiry in reference to the elective franchise;--that he would give that right to the negro, as well as to the white man."
Resolution the third, presented by Mr. J. J. Wright, reads as follows:
Resolved, "That inasmuch as the School Law of Pennsylvania provides that where there are twenty children of African descent, a separate school shall be established for them; and as we know by experimental knowledge, that colored children make greater advancement under the charge of colored teachers than they do under white teachers, therefore we consider it to be our incumbent duty, as lovers of the advancement of our race, to see to it, that our schools are under the charge of colored teachers."
Mr. D. D. Turner opposed the Resolution in its present wording; he thought that as we came to this Convention to protest against proscription and prejudice, we ought to be very careful of the kind of Resolutions we passed.
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