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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the First State Convention of the Colored Citizens of the State of California. Held at Sacramento Nov. 20th 21st, and 22d, in the Colored Methodist Chuch [sic].
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reared me--I love the soil that nurtured me; so do we all, and if we seek for patriotism and love of country, where should it be found stronger or warmer than in our own bosoms?
Mr. Wilson, of Sacramento--Gentlemen must not feel insulted if I or any other of our fellow-members happen to express a different opinion from their own in a manner which to their cold unimpassioned soul may seem unduly earnest and excited. Men are differently constituted, and while some seem scarcely moved by the mightiest subjects, others will feel an intensity of excitement upon subjects the most trivial. The same God that made a diversity of colors, hues, kinds and conditions, has seen proper to make minds of different orders and diverse temperaments.
Mr. Ward made some sensible remarks concerning the relative conditions of the white and colored races, and ended by saying: "The great Sebastopol against which we are struggling is local prejudice. Let us bring up the battalions of reason, truth, and justice, and show the world the injustice of its prejudice, and the falsehood of its oft repeated taunt, that we are but a connecting link between the monkey and the man. Let us prove to the world that we have capacities and ambitions for the enjoyment of a much more elevated sphere than that in which we have so long grovelled."
Mr. Sanderson said: I feel a deep interest in the work in which we are about to engage. When first it was announced that this Convention was to be held, I rejoiced. We are scattered over the State in small numbers; the laws scarcely recognizing us; public sentiment is prejudiced against us; we are misunderstood, and misrepresented; it was needful that we should meet, communicate, and confer with each other upon some plan of representing our interests before the people of California; we owe our friends of San Francisco thanks for taking the initiatory in this movement; it is the most important step on this side of the Continent; we have taken in the course of improvement on which we have entered perhaps no subject is attracting the attention of the public more, than the efforts which the colored people are making to elevate themselves; the public eye is upon us; for our success in this, as in all worthy efforts, we have the best wishes of good men. I believe there are many in this State, this community, who are awaiting the issue of our deliberations with anxiety. There are those too, who think we cannot conduct this Convention with intelligence and ability; they expect scenes of disagreement and confusion; I trust we shall disappoint them; let us deliberate and act, each emulous to perform his duty; and when the report of our doings goes out before the people, they shall be compelled to say well done.
Mr. Stokes, of San Francisco, was then called, and said:
The several distinguished speakers who have preceded me, have said all I could have said, and much abler than my humble ability could have said it. After them I feel like another Alexander without one world to conquer. The very fact of our being here to-day under the sanction of public opinion, and the protection of public law, to express ourselves freely, and deliberate upon measures for our own good, is to me an evidence that a brighter destiny is before us; 'tis but a few years since all this State was the abode of another race, who owned the soil and roamed at will, with none to molest or make them afraid. The white man came, and we came with him; and by the blessing of God, we will stay with him side by side; wherever he goes we will go; and should another Sutter discover another El Dorado, be it where it may--north of the Caribbean or south of it--no sooner shall the white man's foot be firmly planted there, than looking over his shoulder he will see the black man, like his shadow, by his side.
The Committee on nominating a list of officers for the permanent organization of the Convention, reported the following through the Chairman, H. M. Collins:
For President.--William H. Yates, of San Francisco.
For Vice Presidents.--Joseph Smallwood, of El Dorado; Dennis Carter, of Nevada; Albert Vaniel, of Sierra; Fielding Smithea, of Contra Costa.
Secretaries.--J. B. Sanderson, Sacramento; John H. Morris, Tuolumne; Frederic G. Barbadoes, San Francisco.
For Chaplain.--Rev. John J. Moore, of San Francisco.
Messrs. J. D. Gilliard and M. W. Gibbs, were appointed a Committee to
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