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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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SECOND DAY's PROCEEDINGS OF THE CONVENTION
Wednesday Morning, Nov. 21st.
The Convention was called to order at 10 o'clock, President Yates in the chair.
Business of the meeting opened by the reading of the 104th Psalm, and prayer by the chaplain, Rev. J. J. Moore. Minutes of last meeting read and approved.
On motion of Mr. Morris, the rules were read.
The Report of the Business Committee was called up by Mr. Newby, and read.
Whereas, We, the colored people of the State of California, believing that the law of this State, relating to the testimony of colored people in the courts of justice, recorded in [the] 394th section of 3d Chapter of an Act, entitled:
"An Act for regulating proceedings in the Court practice of the Courts of this State," as follows:
"And persons having one-half or more of negro blood, shall not be witnesses in an action or proceeding, to which a white person is a party"--to be unjust in itself, and oppressive to every class in the community; that this law was intended to protect white persons, from a class whose intellectual and social condition was supposed to be so low as to justify the depriving them of their testimony; and
Whereas, We believe that careful inquiries into our social, moral, religious, intellectual and financial condition, will demonstrate that, as a class, (allowing for the disabilities under which we labor,) we compare favorably with any class in the community; and
Whereas, We believe that petitions to the Legislature, to convene in January, praying for the abrogation of this law, will meet with a favorable response; believing, as we do, it cannot be sustained, on the ground of sound policy or expediency; therefore,
Resolved, That we will memorialize the Legislature, at its approaching session, for a repeal of the 3d and 4th paragraphs of Section 394, of an Act passed April 29th, 1851, entitled, "An Act to regulate proceedings in civil cases in the courts of this State." And also for the repeal of the fourteenth Section of "An Act concerning crimes and Punishments."
No. 3. Resolved, That a Committee be appointed with full powers to adopt such measures as may be deemed expedient to accomplish the object in view.
No. 4. Resolved, That we recommend the organization of a Grand Association, with auxiliaries in every county, for the purpose of collecting statistical and other evidences of our advancement and prosperity; also to encourage education, and a correct and proper deportment in our relations toward our white fellow citizens, and to each other.
No. 5. Resolved, That we regret and reprobate the apathy and timidity of a portion of our people, in refusing to take part in any public demonstration having for its object the removal of political and other disabilities, by judicious and conservative action.
No. 6. Resolved, That we recommend the creation of a contingent fund of $10,000, to be controlled by a committee having discretionary powers, to en-able us to carry forward any measure that has for its object the amelioration of our condition.
Mr. Townsend presented a series of resolutions, which he read, and then moved to substitute them for the report of the Business Committee.
Mr. Newby said: "The motion of Mr. Townsend is unparalleled in the history of Conventions. Such presumption I have never witnessed. His proposition is discourteous in the extreme, both to the Committee and the Convention. The Committee, under your instructions, consider they have done the best they could in the time allotted to them; they have presented their report. Have some respect to the feelings of your Committee; dispose of the Report properly, and discharge the Committee before any such motion as that proposed is entertained."
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