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Proceedings of a Convention of the Colored Men of Ohio, held in Xenia, on the 10th, 11th and 12th days of January, 1865 : with the Constitution of Ohio Equal Rights League.


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OHIO, 1865

W. D. Jones .............................................. Chatham, C.W.

P. H. Murray ............................................. Reading, Pennsylvania.


1. Resolved, That we are in favor of our Government and the Union, against all enemies, at home or abroad, that our fathers fought to establish, and we will fight to maintain them; that we will not hesitate in the prompt performance of our duty to the nation in this, its dreadful hour of peril, but will prove with our blood that we deserve to be treated as American citizens.

2. Resolved, That in the opinion of this Convention the day is near at hand, when that unmitigated horror, that crime against God and humanity, that sum of all villainies, that hell-born, heaven-defying institution, American slavery, hated of men everywhere, will cease to exist in the United States.

3. Resolved, That we hail the event with joy and thanksgiving, as turning a bright page in the history of progressive civilization, a triumph of just principles, a practical assertion of the fundamental truths laid down in the great charter of Republican liberty, the Declaration of Independence.

4. Resolved, That while we rejoice in its overthrow as a system, there are serious reasons to fear that we will, in another form, remain its victims so long as we are helpless subjects of arbitrary legislation; and having been pronounced citizens by the judicial advisers of the Government; having been taxed for its support, required to hazard and sacrifice our lives in its defense, we do, therefore, solemnly ask, in the name of justice, that there shall remain no laws, State or National, making distinction on account of color.

5. Resolved, That the safety of the Republic demands that, in the Territories, in the rebel States, when reorganized, and throughout the entire nation, colored men shall exercise the elective franchise, and be otherwise fully clothed with the rights of American citizens.

6. Resolved, That there still remain upon the statute books of Ohio, laws unjustly making distinction on account of color, and we earnestly protest against them, and demand of our Legislature the laws be purified, and made to conform to the requirements of Republican justice.

7. Resolved, That we view with pride, the generous ardor of our fellow-citizens, men of color, who have rushed to the standard of their country, and have, in so many bloody fights, maintained the honor of their race, their State and their country.

8. Resolved, That justice demands that the path of promotion should be opened to them, and that they should have the same incentive to honorable exertion as are presented to the white soldier.

9. Resolved, That we extend to our newly emancipated brothers and sisters of the South, just emerging from their night of slavery, our right hand of fellowship and most cordial God-speed, and advise them to enter upon their new and free life with an earnest determination to cultivate among themselves education, temperance, frugality and morality, together with all other things "that pertain to a well ordered and dignified life," and we pledge to these, our brothers and sisters, a constant and manly endeavor, on our part, to secure to them, and ourselves, complete freedom and enfranchisement in this, our native land and under American laws.

10. Resolved, That we do also advise our newly emancipated brothers and sisters who have lived together as husbands and wives, according to slave-holding usages, while slaves, as soon as practicable to be married according to law, and thus legalize their marriage and legitimate their children.

Whereas, It is the opinion of the Convention that it is through the Divine Agency that the present war is thrust upon the American Government, as a just retribution for its insults to justice and its inhumanity to the colored people of the United States, and

Whereas, We believe it to be the duty of every colored man to yield a cheerful obedience to that Divine Agency, and

Whereas, We are convinced that it can be most effectually complied with by giving the Union Army service and support, therefore

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