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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Minutes of the State Convention of the Colored Citizens of Ohio, Convened at Columbus, Jan. 15th, 16th, 17th and 18, 1851.
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Mr. C. H. Langston obtained the floor and spoke as follows:
Mr. President:--I do not intend to make a speech, but merely to define my position on this subject, as I consider it one of no ordinary importance.
I perfectly agree with the gentleman from Cuyahoga, (Mr. Douglass,) who presented this resolution, that the United States' Constitution is pro-slavery. It was made to foster and uphold that abominable, vampirish and bloody system of American slavery. The highest judicial tribunals of the country have so decided. Members, while in the Convention and on returning to their constituents, declared that Slavery was one of the interests sought to be protected by the Constitution. It was so understood and so administered all over the country. But whether the Constitution is pro-slavery, and whether colored men "can consistently vote under that Constitution," are two very distinct questions; and while I would answer the former in the affirmative, I would not, like the gentleman from Cuyahoga, answer the latter in the negative. I would vote under the United States Constitution on the same principle, (circumstances being favorable,) that I would call on every slave, from Maryland to Texas, to arise and assert their liberties, and cut their masters' throats if they attempt again to reduce them to slavery. Whether or not this principle is correct, an impartial posterity and the Judge of the Universe shall decide.
Sir, I have long since adopted as my God, the freedom of the colored people of the United States, and my religion, to do any thing that will effect that object,--however much it may differ from the precepts taught in the Bible, such as, "Whossoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also;" or "Love you enemies; bless them that course you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you." Those are the lessons taught us by the religion of our white brethren, when they are free and we are slaves; but when their enslavement is attempted, then "Resistance to Tyranny is obedience to God." This doctrine is equally true in regard to colored men as white men. I hope, therefore, Mr. President, that the resolution will not be adopted, but that colored men will vote, or do anything else under the Constitution, that will aid in effecting our liberties, and the securing our political, religious and intellectual elevation.
During the remarks of other gentlemen, the hour of adjournment, 5 o'clock, P.M., the session closed with an anti-slavery song.
President in the Chair, session opened with an Anti-slavery song, the resolution of Mr. Douglass, being under consideration at the adjournment, it was again called up, after so discussion. C. A. Yancy called the previous question, which, was carried, the main question was put, the yeas and nays being demanded, the vote stood as follows:
Yeas--H. F. Douglass, Wm. Jackson, 2. Nays--T. N. Stewart, J. Parnell, H. H. Ford, C. A. Yancy, J. Mercer Langston, Wm. Lewis, G. Stanup, W. Hurst Burnham, James Dunlap, John Booker, L. D. Taylor, John Brown, C. H. Langston, J. Freeland, J. H. Johnson, James Poindexter, John T. Ward, Sterling Heathcock, J. Bird, Thomas Harris, Jerome Stebot, Felix Whitsill, Mills Melton, Levi Day, E. Whitsill, Wm. P. Morgan and President, 28.
C. H. Langston, reported on a resolution that was referred to him, which was adopted as amended. After which, James Poindexter reported a resolution, which was adopted as amended.
On motion of C. H. Langston, that there be a committee of three to report an address to the Constitutional Convention, which is in session in the city of Cincinnati, and further, that W. H. Day be Chairman of said committee. On motion it was resolved that C. A. Yancy and C. H. Langston, constitute said committee.
The 20th resolution was taken up and adopted.
The 21st resolution was taken up, and Mr. James Poindexter, moved to amend the resolution, by striking all out after the word resolved, and insert, that it is imperative on the colored people of Ohio to immediately establish schools under the Common School Law of 1849. W. H. Day offered the following amendment or substitute to the foregoing, that they show their appreciation of
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