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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the Convention, of the Colored Freemen of Ohio, Held in Cincinnati, January 14, 15, 16, 17 and 19, 1852.
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BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS
on the characteristics of the different races of men, ascribe to the African many of the most desirable qualities belonging to human nature. As compared to the Caucasian race, they are indeed, supposed to be less inventive, to have less power for mathematical analysis, and less adaptation for abstruse investigations generally, are less enterprising, less vigorous, and are less defiant of obstacles. But, on the other hand, there is great unanimity in according to them a more cheerful, joyous and companionable nature, greater fondness and capacity for music, a keener relish for whatever, in their present state of development, may be regarded as beauty, and more quick, enduring and exalted religious affections. The blacks, as a race, I believe to be less aggressive and predatory than the whites, more forgiving, and, generally, not capable of the white man's tenacity and terribleness of revenge. In fine, I suppose the almost universal opinion to be, that in intellect, the blacks are inferior to the whites; while in sentiment and affection, the whites are inferior to the blacks.
Under these natural conditions, may not the black develope as high a state of civilization as the whites? Or, what is perhaps the better question, may not independent nations of each race be greatly improved by the existence of independent nations of the other? I believe so.
I believe there is a band of territory around the earth on each side of the Equator, which belongs to the African race. Their Creator adapted their organization to its climate. The commotions of the earth have jostled many of them out of their place; but they will be restored to it when reason and justice shall succeed to the terrible guilt and passions that displaced them.
Under these circumstances, what endeavors shall the free colored population of the United States put forth, in order to improve the condition of themselves, their posterity, and their race?
It is almost too obvious for remark, that no nation or people can ever rise to prosperity, dignity, or power, without intelligence and virtue. These are the only means of individual or social elevation, and the end without the means, is impossible. Every colored man, therefore, who loves his children, or his kind, should be frugal, temperate, industrious and studious. He should abjure all ignoble ease, luxury or pleasure, and concentrate his efforts on the improvement of his family and his people. He should earn money that he may send his children to school and to the best schools; supply his house with books and all available means of knowledge, cultivate the refinement of manners which will help to gain him admission into intelligent society, inform himself of all his duties and fulfill them, and of all his rights and claim them--by no means forgetting the right of suffrage. Whenever any colored child evinces talent, his whole circle of acquaintance should take an interest in him. He should be educated for business, for any such mechanical trade that requires educated labor, for the professions, or for any department of life which he can fill with honor to himself, and with advantage to his fellows.
A condition, at present, nearly, or quite as indispensable to the elevation of the colored people, is the formation of communities by themselves. Scattered, or rather sprinkled, as they now are, among the whites, mostly engaged in occupations which are considered, (however unjustly,) to be subordinate and servile, the spirit of self-reliance and of an ambition for advancement, is fribbled out. At least, it is not nourished, and, like anything else without nourishment, it will not grow. Without a chance to rise to offices and stations of honor, trust or emolument, they must be far, very far, above the average of commen men, to qualify themselves for the discharge of duties, from whose honorable or lucrative performance they are debased. But, did they constitute a community by themselves, such, for instance, as a New England or an Ohio township, they they would rise from domestic labor and mere chance-service, from being ditchers and delvers, into farmers, mechanics, artisans, shop-keepers, printers, editors or professional men. Town officers, justices of the peace and candidates for those state offices which towns are authorized to elect, would be sought and found among themselves. The supply would follow the demand. The whites themselves, with all their education and their opportunities for improvement, by associating more or less with the most intelligent men, would never be able to carry on the affairs even of a municipal corporation, without some practice and training. They must go through with a period of pupilage, by observing the manner
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