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Proceedings of the California State Convention of the Colored Citizens, Held in Sacramento on the 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th of October, 1865.

1865CA.23.pdf

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190

BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS

this position. We ask history, has any other nation on earth, under the light of Christianity, (but America), disfranchised its most loyal and patriotic citizens; preferring to grant [the] franchise to those that have desired and aimed to destroy the Government? We ask our Government to be as Republican as England, though pronounced a tyrannical monarchy. She gives her black and her white citizens alike privileges in political franchise; while in Republican America, white citizens only have the universal privilege of suffrage. We ask for our right to Equality before the Law" upon the principle, that, it does not degrade the white man to fight along side of the Negro on the battlefield to save the country, or save the lives of white American citizens, it will not degrade white men, to vote side by side with Negroes, to preserve a Republican form of Government, and preserve the country from another war, which it does not require inspiration to predict, if the claims of justice are not meted out in Government affairs. We claim our rights of suffrage upon the ground that the opponents of our right to "Equality before the Law," have never adduced a single sound argument to prove what they raise as an objection to our right of suffrage; that is, that it will degrade the white man, deteriorate the Saxon race, amalgamate the two races, and take the country out of white men's hands. We can prove by calling the history of the country to our support that the spirit that opposes the black mans right to "Equality before the Law," has been baptized by the very institution of the country, slavery, that has been fostering for two and a half centuries, the very evils of which our enemies pretend to fear.

The thirteen original States, at one period of their history, all but South Carolina, allowed their colored citizens to vote; and history does not place a single fact upon record, showing that granting the Negroes the right of suffrage in any of those States engendered amalgamation of the black and white races, or that it caused a deterioration of the Saxon race, nor was the Government ever threatened with black sovereignty. No! this was not the fear of political power in the black mans hand ; it was slavery looking out for its own interest, feared the free Negro in political power because he was of the enslaved race, and in stronger sympathy with the slave; it took its standpoint in South Carolina, and swept from the Negros hand the ballot box in every State it could influence politically; and it is the spirit of slavery that now opposes Negro suffrage throughout the land.

We hurl back with scorn and contempt the frequent intimation of scurrilous newspapers that granting us "Equality before the Law," would induce us to thrust ourselves into the society of the whites. Notwithstanding they, through their beloved institution of slavery, have thrust their race upon us, -we want it to be particularly understood, we never have had and are not likely to have, any particular fondness for the Saxon race above our own. Whatever isolated cases of amalgamation of the two races have occurred in any part of the country, on marriage principles, on the part of the whites it has been mostly the Irish, who pretend to be the most violent enemies of Negro rights; and what is a remarkable truth, that where such conjugal unity takes place, while the party of the Celtic race retains his caste or social standing, the party of the African race looses his caste or social standing generally among his sable brethren, of the higher order of society. We appeal to every true American whose voice shall resound in the proud capital over which the glorious stars and stripes shall float, to give us our rights in the name and spirit of the murdered and immortal Lincoln, who sealed our rights with his hallowed blood, who said this people, the colored, ought to have "Equality before the law." Upon these logical principles we make our simple, unsophisticated and earnest appeal to every friend of justice and humanity-every Republican, true Union man and Christian, in the Legislature, in the State and in the country. In vindication of our holy cause, we appeal to every true Union journal in the State and on the Pacific coast, while we shall also supplicate with Christian fervor, the Great Sovereign of all men, and of all nations of men, and the absolute defender of human rights, and all great principles in his moral government; to Him also will we appeal for an interposing hand in the defence of our glorious cause, while there is a sable American son to plead for justice in his race. This is our land where we have had our birth, for it we have fought and bled, here we will remain, as a race, until eternities thunders shake us from this soil.

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