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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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Mr. H. Jackson, moved to adopt the Resolution and state in favor of its passage that much of the seeming prejudice against working and receiving accommodation in common with colored men, was only skin deep with white people. He said that there were under his supervision, colored and white men working harmoniously together.
Messrs. B. F. Pulpress and Wm. Cooper followed in favor of the Resolution, and Messrs. Wm. Nesbit and Moses Brown opposed it as ill advised and injudicious, assigning that men living and conducting business in Copperhead towns, where prejudice was very strong, could not, without destroying their business, accommodate white and colored men alike.
Mr. Geo. B. White did not agree with the gentlemen who had immediately preceded him, he knew from experience in his own profession, that of a barber, that this question could be successfully and squarely met, for he had been shaving colored and white in his place of business for years; said he, let us get right ourselves and then we may consistently ask other to do right.
Prof. G. B. Vashon moved to amend the Resolution by striking out "will hereafter frown with contempt," and insert, "cannot but regard as inconsistent and highly reprehensible the conduct of all proprietors."
The amendment and the Resolution as amended were then adopted.
9. Resolved, That we look with the deepest interest on the efforts which are now being made to secure us equal political rights, by the noblest and best spirits of the land, and that among them we name with feelings of gratitude, Wendell Phillips, 19 the true reformer, Charles Summer, Henry Wilson,20 Wm. D. Kelley21 and others in Congress, Morrow B. Lowry and others of the Pennsylvania Legislature, who catching the inspiration of the hour, outstrip the old anti-slavery spirit which seems to rest satisfied with the prospect of securing our freedom; and further, that with feelings of sorrow we observe the attitude assumed by our long tried friend, Wm. Lloyd Garrison, on the subject of the colored man's franchise,22 involving as it does, our dearest interest as citizens of this country, and that in his plan of reconstructing the States,23 which excludes colored men from equal privileges, is evinced as entire departure from the principles which we have always regarded as vital to the security of our best interests.
Mr. James R. Gordon moved that the Resolution be adopted.
Mr. D. D. Turner opposed the Resolution and proceeded to define the position of Mr. Garrison. He thought Wm. Lloyd Garrison was too old and well tried a friend to receive such consideration as this Resolution expressed, and he thought Mr. Garrison saw plainly, that as a people, we are progressing, and therefore willing to take up with such men and measures as would advance the cause, whether these men and measures were radical or not.
Mr. William D. Forten, who had presented the Resolution, contended for its passage. He said that Mr. Garrison and all his Resolutions were voted down in the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Convention, and that he had denounced Frederick Douglass because he demanded the right of suffrage for the negro in the conditions of reconstruction. The Hovey Fund too had been withdrawn from the support of his paper, and Mr. Garrison to-day, said he, is at odds with the leading anti-slavery men of the nation.
Prof. George B. Vashon read the Resolutions which Mr. Garrison presented at the last meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, favoring the disbanding of the Society on the ratification of the anti-slavery amendment to the Constitution of the United States.24 He quoted from the remarks of Mr. Garrison on Banks, negro-suffrage, and in denunciation of Frederik Douglass' position "that freedom without the right of suffrage was a mere sham."
Mr. A. M. Green argued for the Resolution, and was of the opinion that Mr. Garrison's position against Mr. Douglass could not be otherwise than an evidence that he was either behind the times unknowingly or from a lack of effort to keep up with the events through which we are passing. He believed the right to vote belonged to every native born citizen in the country, and inquired why Mr. Garrison did not come out and put his finger on the objectionable features in General Banks' manner of reconstruction. He was not in favor of denouncing Garrison, but let us express our sorrow at what we believe to be a false position.
Mr. D. D. Turner said there are two classes of rights, one natural and the other conventional, and he thought the right to vote belonged to the
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