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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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obligations to the Sacramento "Daily Tribune." Much of the three days' proceedings of the Convention were published in that paper. I preserved the copies, and derived valuable assistance from them in preparing the foregoing.
J. B. Sanderson.
The Committee, appointed under resolution No. 16, present the following to the parents and guardians of colored children in California:
"Knowledge is power," said Bacon, one of England's wisest sons. The truth of this apothegm, history and common experience abundantly prove. No people have become truly illustrious, great and powerful, who did not make learning the subject of especial attention.
As of nations, so of communities and individuals. Knowledge gives to its possessors a power and a superiority over the uncultivated, real and substantial. The ignorant must give place and yield to the intelligent and educated; it is a law growing out of the nature of things.
As a class, the colored people have to a great extent been deprived of the advantages of education, the means and opportunities of intellectual culture, and it ill becomes those who have deprived them of those blessings, where they had the power, and in other circumstances have thrown obstacles in the way of their improvement, to taunt them with being ignorant.
But the condition of things are changing; public sentiment, laws, slowly but surely. Educated men better understand, and are coming to acknowledge and teach the absolute necessity of obeying the laws of man's intellectual, moral and social nature; by this, we mean that man is the subject of intellectual, moral and physical laws; we cannot break and trample upon these without producing suffering and wretchedness.
Societies are subject to the same laws; their peace, good order and safety depend upon obedience to these laws. Society cannot neglect, hate, abuse and oppress a class, a part, without suffering itself; the indulgence of evil passions, the practice of bad conduct, re-act backward and forward; ignorance, vice, crime and suffering abound, and society is the sufferer; intelligent men see this clearly; they regard the education of youth one of the first and most important duties society owes itself; give good instruction to the young and withhold not.
True intellectual culture gives to men power over themselves, opens a knowledge of the laws of life, disposes them to respect the rights of all, and to the practice of justice and virtue.
Dear friends, we are living in an age when, and in a country where the light of knowledge is spreading, is abounding more and more, stimulating activity in the arts, in science, philosophy and general literature. As a people, we are in the midst of these activities, having a common interest in their results.
We are engaged in a great work; it is this, we aim to render ourselves equal with the most favored, not simply nominally equal, but truly and practically, in knowledge, energy, practical skill and enterprise. The past has been to us full of wrong and suffering; we are not content with our present condition; it remains for us to say whether we will continue in this position.
Under God, our dependence is in our children. As parents and guardians, we are under the most solemn obligations to have our children educated; upon any other conditions, our hopes and expectations of the future are vain. It cannot be denied, ignorance has been the cause, chiefly, of our sufferings. We must seize upon every opportunity to acquire knowledge, to educate the head, the hands, the heart, for the duties, necessities and responsibilities of life. It is true the State should provide schools and instruction for our children, but she excludes colored children from her public schools. In one locality only in the State--San Francisco--a school is established for colored children, which is sustained by the liberality of that city's government.
The number of our children is rapidly increasing. In these circumstances, left to provide for ourselves, we must be all the more determined to do our duty--sacrifice something too of personal ease and comfort for the sake of giving your children schooling, wherever it is practicable. When our
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