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Proceedings of the Colored Men's Convention of the State of Michigan, Held in the City of Detroit ,Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 12th and 13th, '65, with Accompanying Documents. Also, the Constitution of the Equal Rights League of the State of Michigan.

1865MI.10.pdf

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207

MICHIGAN, 1865

those great principles and labors laid down in that convention as the legitimate for every member to perform during the recess of the convention.

Doubtless many of the representatives of the Northern, Southern and Western States, true to their pledges to their constituents at home, have labored faithfully to spread before their people the necessity and importance of the preliminary measures adopted at the convention, and have spared neither time or money thoroughly to canvass every county in their respective States.

All honor to such men who have labored to organize auxiliary Leagues, and strove to impress upon the mind of every colored citizen the vast importance of united action, in order to dispel the clouds that slavery and prejudice have cast upon our brethren in their native land. In this war between slavery and freedom there can be no neutrals.

The eternal principles of truth and liberty need and must have the united support of every man and woman throughout the land. Hence any failure by any community to develop the entire strength of every portion of a State where colored people's rights are withheld, or only partially granted is a virtual abandonment this people's rights without which life is a miserable blank.

In this connection it is a matter of painful regret that the State Equal Rights League established in January, 1865, has ceased to possess the confidence of the colored portion of the community, through an extraordinary use of power (not provided in the constitution,) on the part of that portion of the officers of the State Bureau residing in the city of Detroit. These gentlemen, without the knowledge or consent of the other members of the executive committee of the State Equal Rights League, ignored the existence of the constitution and provided another which deprived a majority of the members of the association of any participation in the proceedings of the meeting of the association on the first day of August, 1865.

The members of the association who had been thus treated, as well as a large portion of the people of color throughout the State, felt that they had been grossly misused--that their intelligence had been insulted by the very men in whom they had reposed the most implicit confidence, and selected in preference to all others to carry out their views as expressed in the constitution of the Equal Rights League. At the first annual meeting, on the first day of August, 1865, the acts of the gentlemen of the Bureau were severely criticized and condemned by the very men they had calculated would support them. But true to their preconcerted plan of policy, they refused to listen to the words of warning, and still persisted in a course of conduct prejudicial to the best interests of the people. Having become sincerely imbued with an earnest desire to assist our brethren in their effort to procure for themselves "Equality before the Law," we have in convention assembled this 12th of September, 1865, dissolved the State Equal Rights League of Michigan, wherein the rights and wishes of the colored people of the State shall be respected, and the object contemplated by the National Equal Rights League attained. It now remains for the people to say whether or not our efforts in their behalf shall be appreciated, and whether they are willing to assist us with their means to carry out the work so auspiciously begun. We have, as already stated, organized an association upon the basis of justice and right, wherein the wishes of the people may be more generally consulted and promoted. In presenting this address to you, we desire to impress upon your minds the importance of aiding the good work in which we are now engaged in your behalf. The great question of colored suffrage will occupy the minds and attention of the electors of this State in November, 1866, at which time they will be required to vote for or against the proposed amendment to the constitution. The Equal Rights League propose to employ agents to canvass the State in support of the proposed amendment. This will necessarily require a considerable amount of money, which can only be met by your generous and liberal contributions. A great work is before us. To you, "Colored men of Michigan," we look for support. Upon you we rely for sympathy and pecuniary assistance in the attainment of a principle of justice fraught with so much importance to you and us. Let us, then, act promptly and with energy.

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