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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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sulphurous caverns of Hell’s mid-night–described by Milton’s immortal genius; then again let me press the interrogation: What is Freedom? What is Slavery?

“Oh! if I should go to Boston in search of an abolitionist, I would not look for Wendell Phillips, that inflexible champion of the right. Oh! no, friends, I would look for another object; I would look over to that shaft pointing up from Bunker’s classic ground, whose granite brow mid-way leaves the storm chanting forever in the music of the winds the glorious anthems of Revolutionary Freedom.

“Why, sir, this grand old temple of the universe is nothing more nor less than an abolition meeting-house, vocal with the anti-Slavery eloquence of nature, pouring its resistless tide through every avenue of human activity.

One word to my colored friends and I have done. We want education and we want money. With these two potent instruments we have the ‘Archimedean lever’ with which we may turn the wicked institution of this country up side down, and pour Slavery into the pit below, its only congenial abiding place. This is what we can do if we will only assert our manhood in the right way. One of old England’s philosophers said that “Knowledge was Power.” He had learned this from her history; he had read Britain’s story from the days when the beak-headed eagles of Rome, borne by the rapacious legions of Julius Caesar, first landed on her shores, till bursting off that bubble of proud Spain’s invasion, the ‘Spanish Armada,’ are the Castilian conqueror’s foot could press her ‘chalky shore.’ He had seen the little green isle of Briton, a mere speck on the ocean, important only as a watering place upon the commercial highway of nations, spring up--through the silent and mysterious operations of the brain--to the first power in the world; her white-winged commerce cleaving every wave, her strains of martial music encircling the globe.

Let us profit from the teachings of history, until each one of us shall fully realize the truth of which Lord Bacon taught that “Knowledge is Power.”


1. Resolved, That this Convention appoint a Committee of three to draft a Constitution, By-Laws and Rules, for the Government of the different Township and County Repeal Associations.

2. Resolved, That all those who pay the tax of twenty-five cents imposed by this Convention, be members of the State Repeal Association.

3. Resolved, That in all our efforts to improve our condition we should invite the co-operation of woman; regarding her in all the relations of life--whether wife, mother, or sister--the guardian of education, virtue, and good manners.

4. Resolved, That this Convention hold Evening Sessions, at which time addresses will be given by members of the Convention.

5. Resolved, That we recommend the formation of Female Repeal Associations, to be auxiliary to the Parent Society. [19-20]

6. Resolved, That this Convention appoint two Commissioners--one in the North and one in the South part of the State;--Springfield to form the dividing line.

7. Resolved, That the Convention tender to A. W. Jackson, a vote of thanks for the able services he has rendered the colored people of this State while acting as Agent for the “School Fund Association.”

8. Resolved, That this Convention appoint the following Standing Committees, to report at the next Annual Convention: Mechanics, Agriculture, Colonization, Addresses, and Education; to consist of three members each.

9. Resolved, That we, the colored people of Illinois, will never cease petitioning the Legislature for the repeal of the Black Laws until our petitions are granted.

10. Resolved, That each member of the Convention be taxed One Dollar, to defray the expenses of publishing the Proceedings of this Convention; and that each delegate be entitled to fifteen copies when published.

11. Resolved, That H. D. King and C. C. Richardson be associated with g. J. Robinson to take charge of all the property belonging to this Convention, and report at our next annual meeting.

12. Resolved, That this Convention request the Chicago Repeal Association to merge themselves into the State Repeal Association, to be

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