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Proceedings of the First Convention of the Colored Citizens of the State of Illinois, Convened at the City of Chicago, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 6th, 7th and 8th, 1853.


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Frederick Douglass, A. H. Richardson, J. D. Bonner, R. J. Robinson, and others.

Pending the adoption of this report and resolutions, Frederick Douglass offered the following additional resolution: Whereupon, the report and resolutions were adopted as a whole.

Resolved, That while we adopt this plan for the education of our children, we desire to have it distinctly understood, that we do so from necessity; and, further, that we neither assent to the wisdom, nor acknowledge the justice, of the laws which force this necessity upon us; and that we have protested, and shall continue to protest, against those unjust, unconstitutional, and undemocratic laws by which we and our children are proscribed.

Resolved, That we are citizens and tax-payers, and taht we, as citizens and tax-payers, have a right to the advantages arising out of the existence of the School Fund, equal to that of any other class who contribute to that fund; and that we have faith to believe that the sense of justice and the feeling of magnanimity of our fellow citizens will yet compel them to acknowledge this right.

On motion, the Convention adjourned to meet at 2 o'clock.

Afternoon Session.

President in the chair. Prayer by William Smallwood. Proceedings of forenoon session read, and adopted.

R. J. Robinson, chairman of the Committee on Education, then made his report, setting forth the many obstacles which colored children meet with in the State of Illinois, in their efforts to gain entrance to the schoolhouses; and recommending a system of education which would, in the opinion of the committee, answer???in the present emergency, and until more liberal and humane sentiments gain consideration in our Legislature.

The report was, after an animated discussion by Messrs. Bonner, Parker, Robinson, Douglass, Barguet, and others, adopted.

Sundry resolutions were then offered by J. D. Bonner, chairman of the Business Committee, in relation to the pro-slavery sentiments of the churches and clergy, Mrs. H. B. Stowe, the Aliened American Newspaper, etc., all of which were read and adopted.

H. O. Wagoner, chairman of the Committee on an Address to the Citizens of the State, then came forward and read his Address, which was able and convincing.

The Committee on an Address to the Colored People of the State then reported, through their chairman, A. W. Jackson, which was adopted.

Three o'clock having arrived, the Convention adjourned.

Evening Session.

President in the chair. Prayer by A. W. Jackson. Proceedings of afternoon session read and adopted.

After the adoption of a number of resolutions of thanks to the officers of the Convention, to C. W. Campbell and his choir, etc., and the election of officers of the School Board, the immense crowd becoming impatient to hear Frederick Douglass, there was one deafening shout throughout the hall for Douglass. He came forward, and made one of his happy and soul-stirring speeches, which was listened to with much interest by the people, and sat down amid the plaudits of the whole house.

The choir, with its enchanting power, then sang, in an animated manner--


Let waiting throngs now lift their voices, As Freedom's glorious day draws near; While every gentle tongue rejoices, And each bold heart is filled with cheer," &c., &c.

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