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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 21.pdf

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Pennsylvania, 1865

On motion of Mr. James R. Gordon the money in the hands of the Finance committee was paid over to the publishing Committee, and the State League authorized to determine the number of minutes to be published and supervise their distribution.

After a few eloquent and feeling remarks from the President. on the solemnity of the occasion of our parting, and expressing the hope that our labors had not been in vain, the Convention, at 4 o'clock P.M., adjourned sine die.


Octavius V. Catto,

Redman Fausett,

Alex. T. Harris, } Secretaries.




Friday Evening, February 10th, 1865.

At an early hour the Church was crowded by the audience waiting for the organization of an ajourned meeting of the State Equal Rights' League.

Rev. John Peck, President of the League called the house to order at 7 1/2 o'clock. After the singing of a hymn, the Rev. W. J. Alston offered an earnest prayer for the success of the League and the achievement of its aims.

Mr. A. M. Green then presented the following Preamble and Resolution, which upon motion of the Rev. Joseph A. Nelson, were unanimously adopted.

Whereas, The objects and aims of the State Equal Rights' League and the Equal Rights' Convention of the colored people' of Pennsylvania, are one and identical; and Whereas, these objects are best promoted by a consolidation of all the interests of our people throughout the State, especially those now assembled in Convention; therefore,

Resolved, That the members of this Convention be declared members of the State Equal Rights' League, for one year, and that by a compliance with sections first and tenth of the constitution, they may continue their connection therewith as long as desired by the auxiliaries or subordinate organizations which they may be elected to represent.

Mr. Jos. C. Bustill read the Constitution of the State League as it [illegible] with Mr. Green's Resolution appended.

The Rev. W. J. Alston was the first speaker introduced, and began by stating that a short time ago the word colonization raised the tiger in him and made him feel like taking up the sword. But there had come over him a change, and he was now a colonizationist as it applied to the occupancy of the Southern States by the colored people. He saw through the freeing of Maryland the gate by which the whole 779,000 square miles of southern territory would be opened to the colored people. He urged upon the people unity, concord and action. The speech was well received and frequently applauded.

Mr. J. J. Wright spoke next. His opinion was that this Convention could very consistently preach the funeral sermon of slavery. He insisted that we should lose no time, or neglect no opportunity to show forth our rights and make plain the claims upon which we demand them, and he believed that our aims would be ultimately successful. The speech was replete with argument, wit and humor, and defied all attempts at our reporting it; the vast audience testified their appreciation of it by round after round of deafening applause.

Mr. Octavius V. Catto was then introduced and said that in the midst of these wildly excited times there were, at least occasional thoughts crowding upon us which like the flashes in the dark sky would light up some of the dark phases of the present crisis. He met the assertion of our inferiority by claiming that we had as many Frederick Douglasses as the whites had Sumners, as many Bannekers as they had Mitchells, 31 and as many Vashons as they had Anthons.32 He was of the opinion that the political horizon is not clear while Banks is mis-constructing Louisiana, Germans commanding Germans, even Irishmen commanding Irishmen, and Negroes not allowed to command Negroes. He thought we should call without ceasing upon the clergy and all who follow them in communion to vindicate the principles of their profession; upon the

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