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Minutes of the State Convention, of the Colored Citizens of the State of Michigan, Held in the City of Detroit on the 26th and 27th of October, 1843 for the Purpose of Considering Their Moral & Political Condition, as Citizens of the State.
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constitutional law, and a perverse public sentiment, we have been tauntingly required to prove the dignity of our human nature, by disrobing ourselves of inferiority and exhibiting to the world, our profound scholars, distinguished philosophers, learned jurists, and eminent statesmen. The very expectation on which such a requisition is founded, to say the least, is unreasonable; for it is only when the seed is sown, that we can justly expect to reap. But yet we feel constrained to say, we present the curious and acknowledged credible spectacle of a people beinding under the weight of a galling proscription, who will not suffer by comparison with our more privileged fellow citizens of the same rank, either in religion, morality, industry or general information.
A spirit of intelligence pervades our entire population, keeping pace with the progressive spirit of the age, and the continual intellectual progress of the nation. There are but few families in which pen, ink and paper, and books, are not common and necessary commodities. If then, amidst all the difficulties with which we are surrounded, and privations we have suffered, we present an equal amount of intelligence with that class of our fellow citizens that have been so peculiarly favored, a very grave and dangerous question presents itself to the world, on the natural equality of man; and the best rule of logic, would place those who have oppressed us, in the scale of inferiority.
Our condition as a people in ancient times, was far from indicating intellectual or moral inferiority. For, we are informed by the writings of Herodotus,8 Pindar,9 Aeschylus10 and many other ancient historians, that Egypt and Ethiopia held the most conspicuous places amongst the nations of the earth. Their princes were wealthy and powerful and their people distinguished for their profound learning and wisdom. Two thousand years ago, people flocked from all parts of the known world, down into Africa, to receive instruction from those woolly haired and black skinned Ethiopians and Egyptians. Yes, even the proudest of the Grecian philosophers, historians and poets, among whom were Solon,11 Pythagoras,12 Plato,13 Herodotus, Homer,14 Lycurgus,15 and many others, all went down into Africa, and set at the feet of our ancestors, and drank in wisdom, until they were taught in all the arts and sciences of those ancient African nations. The code of laws administered by Solon to the inhabitants of Athens, shows no inferiority of their black African tutors. The form of Government established by Lycurgus, to raise up the downtrodden Spartans, to become the dread and terror of all their neighboring Grecian states, shows no inferiority in the Governmental knowledge of his black African teachers. The song of Homer sung of Egypt's Thebes with her hundred gates of polished brass, her splendid architecture, her statues, her pyramids, and temples of sculptured marble, which were so gigantic and stupendous, that the very ruins are yet so tremendous, that they still impress the mind with such gigantic phantoms, that Napoleon's whole army (while in Africa) all suddenly stopped, and with one accord, stood in amazement, and clapped their hands with delight, over the ancient world's great Empress, on the Egyptian plain, which three thousand years ago,
Spread her conquest over a thousand States,
And poured her heroes through a hundred gates;
Two hundred horsemen and two hundred cars,
From each wide portal issued forth to the wars.
Under the African conqueror (Sesostris, King of Egypt,) who went forth and conquered the whole known world, leaving Ethiopian and Egyptian colonies behind him, to civilize and improve the condition of the nations that he had conquered. He also caused his own statue to be carved of marble and placed among them, to raise them from ignorance and barbarism, to learning and civilization. We are assured on the personal evidence of Herodotus and Strabo16 that the statues erected by this African leader still remained in their days (which was from Sesostris, a period of 860 years) and even that they were actually inspected by them in India, Syria, Palestine, Arabia, Media and
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