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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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I am "neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet," and from the lights of the past I confess I see nothing to justify a promise of much to your "future prospects." We seem to have fallen on strange times. Instead of seeking to reform the great evil in our own land, and to fortify and make strong our own liberties, our people seem determined not merely to extend our institutions over "the whole--the boundless continent" here, but to reform the governments of the old world, "peaceably if they can--forcibly if they must." Whilst there exists this disposition to cut out this immense amount of work for "young America," candor compels me to say that my dim vision enables me to see nothing that is flattering to your "future prospects."

This is, however, a coming future when oppression may be over--when the principles of the equality of men will be enforced. You may hope for the glories of that future. You may strengthen your "prospects" for them by concentrating all your feeble powers to build up and sustain institutions of learning, which will disseminate knowledge, and thus increase your power which will purify and elevate the morals of your people, and dignify their character.

Respectfully, L.D. Campbell.

The following letter was sent to various persons, the replies to which will be found in the preceding pages.

Cincinnati, December 15, 1851.

Dear Sir: The Colored people of Ohio will hold a Convention, in the City of Cincinnati, on the 14th of January 1852. The great object it has in view, is to adopt such measures, as are best calculated to enhance the moral, social, and political interest of the colored citizens of the State.

The times are auspicious for holding such a meeting. The people of the old and new world, have taken up the problem of human rights, and are solving it for themselves: and knowing the deep interest you have heretofore manifested in this SACRED CAUSE, is the only apology we have to offer, in asking you, your opinion as regards the present position and future prospects of the colored race in this country.

That we may receive an answer at an early day, is the ardent wish of

Sir, Yours very respectfully,

John I. Gaines,

William H. Day,

David Jenkins,

John Jackson. } Central Committee.

Copy in the Harvard University Library.


1. Millard Fillmore (1800-1874), thirteenth president of the United States, signed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

2. Cassius Marcellus Clay (1810-1903), American politician and abolitionist, was born in Madison County, Kentucky. Although has father was a wealthy and influential slaveholder, Clay had early developed a bitter hatred toward that institution. Educated at Yale, he later founded in 1845, at Lexington, Kentucky, the True American, an uncompromising antislavery journal which subsequently was published at Cincinnati after hostile citizens had boxed his printing equipment and shipped it there. During the Civil War, Clay was a close friend and advisor of Abraham Lincoln.

3. Horace Mann (1796-1859), educator and antislavery Whig member of Congress, was known as the "Father of the American Public School System" because of his work in reorganizing the entire public school system of Massachusetts.

4. Charles Durkee, an influential supporter of black rights, was a Republican senator from Wisconsin during the 1850's.

5. Benjamin Franklin Wade (1800-1878), antislavery senator from Ohio, served from 1851 to 1869. Wade was a Whig at first and then joined forces with the Republican Party. A vigorous and uncompromising supporter of black rights, he was associated with the Radical Republicans in Congress during and

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