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Proceedings of the State Convention of Colored Citizens of the State of Illinois, held in the city of Alton, Nov. 13th, 14th and 15th, 1856.


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great struggle in which we are now engaged for the attainment of our rights.

7th. Resolved, That this Convention organize a “Repeal Association” for the State of Illinois, the main object of which shall be the raising of a contingent fund of one thousand dollars, to aid in employing an agent, or agents, to traverse this State from Cairo to the Lakes, holding county Conventions and township Meetings among the colored people, establishing auxiliary Associations, lecturing, circulating petitions and memorials among the white people of the State, praying for relief from the oppressive laws under which we suffer; to collect in each county the statistics of wealth and education, and ascertain as near as possible the mental and moral condition of the colored people of the State, and report the same annually to the Convention, unless otherwise ordered.

8th. Resolved, That a tax of twenty-five cents be imposed upon each colored person in the State; that Committees be appointed in each county and township in the State, by auxiliary associations whose special duty shall be to collect the tax, urging upon the people the propriety of paying it. These committees to be allowed a moderate salary for their time and trouble. That the parent Society be located in Chicago, Cook County. 9th. Resolved, That this Convention appoint a State Central Committee of nine, whose duty shall be to call annual Conventions, five of whose members shall constitute a quorum to do business.

H. Ford Douglass,

R. J. Robinson,

John Jones,

H. Douglass King,

W. L. Barnes,

C. C. Richardson,

G. White.

Mr. C. C. Richardson moved that the Report be received and the Committee discharged, which motion, after some discussion, was carried. H. D. King moved that the Report be adopted by sections. Carried. After the reading of the Preamble, Mr. R. J. Robinson moved to strike out the following sentence from the Preamble: “Neither asking nor giving quarter, spurning all compromises,” and advocated it in a speech of great power and force. “He thought we should be mere mild in our language when asking for our rights, as we were not yet in a condition to demand them. He thought the Preamble savored of braggadocio and should vote against it.” He was replied to by H. D. King in a speech of unsurpassed eloquence. He wanted down here in Egypt, on the very confines of Slavery, to assert his manhood for once. He had once been opposed to strong language. The gentleman from Madison (Mr. Robinson) was then on the other side of the question. He had changed since. He wanted white men to know that we had rights, and to convince them, let us use the mildest means adequate to the end, which was Free Speech. Messrs. H. Ford Douglass and John Jones followed on the same side. Mr. Louis Overton was in favor of striking out the obnoxious clause, and especially “spurning all compromises.” He thought compromises a good thing for us, and instanced the “Missouri Compromise.” Mr. C. C. Richardson argued on the same side. Mr. H. F. Douglass moved that the Preamble be laid on the table, and made the special order of the evening, which was carried, and the Convention adjourned.


Convention met at 2 o’clock P.M. President in the Chair. The proceedings of the Morning Session read, corrected and approved.

The Declaration of Sentiment and Plan of Action being under consideration at the hour of adjournment, its consideration was resumed. Its 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th sections were taken up, and after being severally discussed were adopted.

The Chairman of the Business Committee reported resolutions from one to twenty, inclusive, all of which, after a thorough discussion by members of the Convention were adopted.

On motion of H. F. Douglass a Committee of three was appointed to draft Constitution and By-Laws for the “State Repeal, and [8-9] Auxiliary Associations.” H. F. Douglass, Thomas Mason, and Louis Isbell, constituting said Committee.

On motion of E. White a Committee of three was appointed to procure a Hall and see to printing of hand-bills. E. White, Louis Isbell, H. D. King, Committee.

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