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Proceedings of the Colored Convention of the State of Kansas, Held at Leavenworth, October 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th, 1863


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Report of the Committee on Population and Condition of the Colored People of Kansas

We, your Committee, to whom was referred the subject of population and conditions of the colored people of Kansas, beg leave to report that in consequence of the imperfect data at hand, we can only arrive at an approximative estimation of the colored population of the State. However, after careful consideration of all the facts at hand, we think we shall not greatly err in saying that the colored population of Kansas is 7,000.

As to their condition, we have cause for congratulation that it is as good as it is. Making proper allowances for their antecedent condition, and the circumstances attending their arrival in the State--a great majority arriving in a state of utter destitution--they have done well.

Though many come under the fond delusion that Freedom means ease and plenty, they soon learn that Liberty requires industry and self-dependence. In their case, Liberty has not failed to vindicate itself by elevating their character and quickening their industry.

Whilst there has been much suffering among them, yet the most has been unavoidable result of circumstances attending their arrival in this State, and not chargeable upon themselves, or upon the good people of Kansas, who as a rule, have been ready to relieve their wants, and kind to "pass their imperfections by," imperfections the growth of slavery and miseducation.

Many have already acquired property, and nearly all are self-sustaining. Most of the suffering among them is owing to so large a per centage of the able bodied male population being in the army.

On the subject of crime, we have to say that not a murder has been committed by a person of color in Kansas for years, and remarkably few cases of theft, or other serious offenses against the laws. In this respect, we may justly claim much for our people. Signed,

Wodson N. Twine,

E. C. Menser,

Benjamin Barney,

John Lewis,

Thomas Newton.

State Central Committee

Rev. John Turner, William D. Mathews, Lewis Overton, Wodson N. Twine and E.C. Menser

Committee on Publication

John H. Morris, J. W. Scott and Lewis Overton.

Committee on Address and Memorial to Legislature

John H. Morris, Wm. D. Mathews and Lilburn Drake.


Citizens of Kansas, we appeal to you on a subject dear to us. We ask of you the right of suffrage. We ask of you calmly to consider the reasons which we shall present, in vindication of our right to the boon which we claim at your hands, and of the propriety of granting our request.

In asking you to grant us the elective franchise, we are not asking you to tread in unknown paths, or depart from the spirit of American Institutions. We only ask you to return to the old ways and the true spirit of the Government.

This Government was founded in the interests of Freedom, the founders thereof appealing to the fundamental principles of Liberty, Justice and Equality, as their warrant for what they did. We therefore hold that to deprive any portion of the native population of this country of so essential a right as that of suffrage, is to do violence to the genius of American

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