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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 30.pdf

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Black State Conventions

Polk requested a declaration of war, which Congress made on May 12, 1846.The war was basically the result of the drive by the slaveowners to acquire new land for cotton.

15. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was passed by Congress to forestall the possibility of disunion between the North and South. Under it, all territory north of the line 360degree 30', except Missouri, was to be barred to slavery. The Supreme Court, in the Dred Scott Decision of 1857, declared the Compromise unconstitutional, thus in theory giving slavery new land upon which to expand.

16. Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) was a congressman, senator, and later president of the Confederate States of America.

17. Most of Philadelphia's streetcars allowed Negroes to ride only on the front platform, and some refused to admit colored people at all. Under the leadership of William Still, Philadelphia's Negroes launched an attack on streetcar segregation in 1859, and it increased in scope and intensity during and immediately after the Civil War. Final victory against this discrimination was to come in 1867. For a discussion of racism in Philadelphia, see Philip S. Foner, "The Battle to End Discrimination against Negroes on Philadelphia Street Cars, Part I," Pennsylvania History, XL (July, 1973), 261-267.

18. The Christian Recorder was for many years the official weekly organ of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Established in 1856, it was edited in 1865 by the Reverend Elisha Weaver.

19. Wendell Phillips (1811-1884), Boston-bred and Harvard-educated, was one of the greatest of the abolitionist leaders associated with William Lloyd Garrison. He fought against discrimination as well as against slavery.

20. Henry Wilson (1812-1875) was a U.S. senator from Massachusetts between 1855 and 1873. A leading opponent of slavery, he was one of the founders of the Republican party. In 1872 he was elected vice president of the United States on the Republican ticket with Grant as president.

21. William Darrah Kelley (1814-1890) was elected to Congress from Pennsylvania in 1861 and won re-election fourteen times. Always opposed to slavery, he broke with the Democratic Party and became one of the founders of the Republican organization.

22. The reference is to Garrison's defence of Lincoln's reconstruction policy in Louisiana. Discussion the question of Negro suffrage in relation to Reconstruction, Garrison wrote: "Chattels personal may be instantly translated from the auction-block into freemen, but when were they ever taken at the same time to the ballot-box, and invested with all political rights and immunities? According to the laws of development and progress it is not practicable. . . . Besides, I doubt whether he [the president] has the Constitutional right to decide this matter. Ever since the Government was organized, the right of suffrage has been determined by each State in the Union for itself, so that there is no uniformity in regard to it..." (Liberator, Oct. 14, 1864).

23. Nathaniel P. Banks (1816-1894) was a congressman, governor of Massachusetts and Union soldier. On January 29, 1863, General Banks issued General Order No. 12 from New Orleans, which set up a system of sharecropping for the Negroes on a contract basis. The order assured employers that "all the conditions of continuous and faithful service, respectful deportment, correct discipline and perfect subordination" would be "enforced on the part of the Negroes by the officers of the Government." This system of labor was severely criticized by the abolitionists, and General Banks was accused of returning the Negroes to slavery.

24. Garrison took this position at the annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society in May 1864. At the annual meeting in May 1865, he declared: "We organized expressly for the abolition of slavery; we called our Society an Anti-Slavery Society. The other work [Negro suffrage] was incidental. Now, I believe, slavery is abolished in this country, abolished constitutionally, abolished by a decree of this nation, never, never, never to be reversed, and, therefore, that it is ludicrous for us, a mere handful people with little means, with no agents in the field, no longer separate, and swallowed up in the great ocean of popular feeling against slavery, to assume that we are of special importance, and that we ought not to dissolve."

Garrison resigned as president of the American Anti-Slavery Society at this meeting, after a vote to disband the organization was rejected. He was

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