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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.16.pdf

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212

BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS

entered the newly founded law school of Howard University. She received her degree in 1870, becoming probably the first black woman lawyer in the United States.

2. The National Equal Rights League was formed in October 1864 at the National Convention of Colored Citizens of the United States, which convened in Syracuse, New York.

3. The Anglo-African was perhaps the most interesting periodical to be published by blacks in New York City. It was founded in January 1859 by Thomas Hamilton of Brooklyn. As a monthly it appeared regularly from January 1859 through February 1860. A weekly newspaper, known also as the Anglo-African, edited by Robert Hamilton, succeeded it and appeared intermittently until 1865.

4. The reference is to President Andrew Johnson's policy of Reconstruction. Johnson, who succeeded to the in April 1865, had demonstrated his hatred of the Southern oligarchy by noting on one occasion that "treason should be made infamous and rebels should be punished." He at first denied amnesty to persons who had supported the Confederacy and whose taxable property was assessed at $20,000 or more. But soon he- began to grant pardons to many of the leaders of the Confederacy. Johnson also had appointed "provisional governors" over several Southern states who had drawn up constitutions based on white male suffrage. Futhermore, from 1865 to 1866, Southern states had enacted statutes known as the "Black Codes" which reduced the freedmen to a condition very close to slavery. In order to pay off the prison charges and fines he was hired out. If a Negro quit work before his contract expired, he was arrested and imprisoned for a breach of contract and the reward to the person performing the arrest was deducted from his wages. Some of the codes also provided that if a Negro laborer left his employer he would "forfeit all wages to the time of abandonment." Johnson did nothing to reverse this reactionary state of affairs in the South.

5. Benjamin F. Butler (1818-1893) commanded the land forces in the capture of New Orleans by the Union Army in 1862 and was military commander of the city until removed and transferred to the Department of East Virginia. While in New Orleans, Butler earned the hatred of the Southern whites because of his use of black troops and his general policy that Negroes were entitled to equal rights.

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