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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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Current Saved Transcription [history]
BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS
Rev. Mr. Jones thought the matter under consideration had the tendency to produce ill effects on the welfare of our people--therefore he could not support the measure.
Mr. B. F. Pulpress, said the subject was ill advised and injurious in its operations--and he was, in consequence, opposed to its going out as sentiment of this body.
Mr. John Q. Allen took the floor and spoke against the passing of the Resolution. He thought it had the appearance of that very distinction on account of color, against which we were all so ready to complain, and he would therefore offer as an amendment, that the Resolution be so worded as to include the clause, --"no discrimination on account of color ought to be made in the appointment of teachers for colored schools."
Rev. W. J. Alston thought the Resolution of Mr. Wright judicious and necessary, he was therefore opposed to the amendment. He said the wisdom of such a Resolution from this Convention, had been made evident to him by experience of twelve years, and instanced the difference in appearance between the schools under white and those under colored teachers.
Mr. James R. Gordon spoke in opposition to the amendment and mentioned the particulars of an instance in which no such charity toward us was shown, as is provided for in this amendment. Mr. Gordon continued his remarks at length and with earnestness.
Mr. J. J. Wright advocated the passage of the original Resolution; he was unwilling to accept any such amendment as the one under consideration and said that there was no use of our making any provision about literary qualifications, for white teachers sufficiently qualified could not be induced to take charge of colored schools. He was surprised to hear gentlemen of intelligence discussing this amendment favorably.
Mr. A. M. Green thought it disgraceful for colored men, particularly the Philadelphia delegation, to argue against such a Resolution as that presented by Mr. Wright. He thought it particularly so in their case, as they knew the shameful treatment which colored persons had received at the hands of the Board of School Controllers in Philadelphia. He also believed that these gentlemen from that city would be ashamed to meet their constituents after having opposed such a Resolution as the one under consideration.
Mr. D. B. Bowser was of the same opinion as the gentleman who had preceded him, and said that he and others had tried for nine years to secure a colored teacher for a colored school in his section of Philadelphia, and that their efforts were without success. The gentleman instanced several cases of which he knew, in sustaining his position against the amendment, and for the Resolution.
The hour of adjournment having arrived, the rule was suspended and the session extended one-half hour, on motion of Rev. C. J. Carter.
Mr. John Alexander obtained the floor and spoke against the amendment. He thought the Resolution the right thing and at the right time, and would therefore vote for its passage.
The question on the amendment was then put and lost.
Mr. O. V. Catto thought that the Resolution offered by Mr. Wright was just and proper in the motive which prompted it and in the object toward which it looked, but he was of the opinion that while the spirit of the Resolution was right, the phraseology was such that it might be quoted as a document based on preferences for certain teachers merely on account of their color. He did not wish to turn his back on the fact that the colored man was the best teacher for colored children. He had long been of the belief that no white man could so well instruct colored children as could a colored teacher. This opinion he thought was not founded on any superior mental abilities of the one man over the other--he was of the belief that all men under similar circumstances were equal, and while he would vote in favor of the colored teacher as Mr. Wright's Resolution required, he would do it on principle and not from even the shadow of prejudice in favor of any particular color. The colored man, he believed was the better teacher because he had the welfare of the race more at heart, knowing that they rose or fell together, and because he would take more care to strengthen those faculties in which the white race thought the colored child deficient.
As an amendment, he would therefore offer, in order to avoid all misunderstanding and place this body right before the people at large, that the
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