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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Convention of the Colored Citizens of Massachusetts, August 1, 1858.
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BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS
'they offered them schools, and white teachers; but no, we wouldn't have them. Then they offered to give us colored teachers; no, we wouldn't stand that neither. Then the School Committee said--'Well, if you won't be satisfied either way, you shall have them as we choose.' So we decided on a desperate step, but it turned our to be a successful one. We went round to every parent in the city, and had all the children removed from the Caste Schools; we made all our people take their children away. And in six months we had it all our own way--and that's the way we always should act.12 Let us be bold, and they'll have to yield to us. Let us be bold, if any man flies from slavery, and comes among us. When he's reached us, we'll say, he's gone far enough. If any man comes here to New Bedford, and they try to take him away, you telegraph to us in Boston, and we'll come down three hundred strong, and stay with you; and we won't go until he's safe. If he goes back to the South, we'll go with him. And if any man runs away, and comes to Boston, we'll send to you, if necessary, and you may come up to us three hundred strong, if you can--come men, and women too.'
At this time, a young colored girl, named Sarah Antone, was introduced to deliver a poem appropriate to the occasion, which she had composed. The subject was 'Human Brotherhood.' It was received with marked favor. After singing an appropriate piece, the Convention adjourned till evening.
The hall was crowded, during the afternoon session, and the different speakers were frequently applauded.
The exercises commenced with a 'Freedom Song.' The attendance was very large.
The first business transacted was the reading of the following Resolutions by the Chairman of the Business Committee, Mr. Nell:--
Resolved, That the hostile position of the American church and clergy to the cause of oppressed millions at the South, and their complicity with the Southern church in perpetuating the horrible system of American Slavery, calls for the earnest and continual protest and rebuke of every lover of pure religion, every friend of man.13
Resolved, That colored Americans, be they clergy-men or laymen, who sustain ecclesiastical relations with any pro-slavery organization, occupy that recreant position to their brethren and sisters in bonds equivalent to that of the tories in the American revolution.
Whereas, The best way to silence the assertions of pro-slavery traducers of the colored man is for him to meet them with facts, being the most condensed and potent substitute for eloquence, argument and appeal; therefore,
Resolved, That we rejoice in the presence here today of Mr. Alexander Roberts of Philadelphia, the inventor of a machine for use at fires, which promises to be one of utility in their extinction, as also for preserving human life.
Resolved, That we also would direct attention to the new railway, by which space is economized, and the use of horses obviated, and at the same time propelled by steam power; said railway being the invention of a colored man, William Deitz, of Albany, NY.
Resolved, That we commend these colored American Inventors and their inventions to the favorable attention of every lover of science and well-wisher of Humanity.
Dr. J.B. Smith14 did not consider the colored people as enjoying equal privileges with the whites in Massachusetts. No colored man sat upon the jury. He was told the law here made no discrimination in color, but when the whole tendency of the United States laws was to degrade the colored man, but little could be expected for him, even in this Commonwealth. A fugitive slave is not safe here. He has no greater security now, than when Simms was taken away in 1850.15 Some think Massachusetts has made great progress. He could not see it. So long as she is silent, we can have but little confidence in what she will do for us in the hour of peril. Judge Taney calculated somewhat correctly the state of public sentiment. No State has yet spoken against the Dred Scott decision. He demanded to be upon an equality with the whites. He had the same manhood and the same rights as they. He didn't
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