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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Liberty, and equality before the law. :Proceedings of the Convention of the Colored People of Va., held in the city of Alexandria, Aug. 2, 3, 4, 5, 1865.
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Our cause, and to overthrow those arrayed against us. I had no idea of coming to this Convention without my heart full of prayer to God to aid us, and I feel sure He will aid us. I, for one, shall never again think of looking back to slavery; no, never. "United we stand; divided we fall." If we keep together there is no weapon strong enough to divide us. I congratulate you today on this subject of freedom. Why are not more of you here? Some of our people have been paid to stay away by our former masters. They told us that coming here would hurt us at home. Yes, it will hurt us everywhere. It will have the effect of dividing us. The Government is ready to sustain you if you will help yourselves. I will exert myself to secure the right of franchise in every way that is honorable and just, and, if I die in the attempt, my children will reverence me for it the more, and, I hope, profit by my death.
The Union flag is again floating over every State from Maine to Georgia, and under that flag we are freemen. I do not come here to inaugurate war. We have had enough of war; but we will have our rights. They may say we will not work, but we have shown them that we have worked hard enough to get into this Convention, and we have worked up enough of greenbacks to bring us here, and the Government on the other side of the Potomac will back us up in what we do.
Rev. Nicholas Rickman, of Charlottesville, here took the stand, and in the course of his speech said: I am very little in the habit of talking, yet I cannot deny myself the privilege of saying something to add strength to what has been said. Being situated as I was, I was deprived of many privileges which others in the Convention have enjoyed; yet we all know enough to see with what dark chains we have been bound; but, thanks to God, we say the first faint glimmer of light, and at last saw the darkness break away; and now we are here in this Convention. What brought us here? What are we to do and what can we do? We must be careful in every step we take. We have embarked on a wide sea. Have we anyone to take the helm? Yes, we have One who has conducted us safely thus far, and He will see us safely through. Have we come here to make any compromise? No. We will contend to the last for our rights. There have been discords among ourselves, both as it regards politics and religion. Let us have no more of it, but let us work harmoniously together. Let us stand shoulder to shoulder, and battle the good cause through.
At the conclusion of Mr. Rickman's address, the committee on credentials appeared and made a report of gentlemen entitled to seats.
The following named gentlemen the committee decided as not entitled to seats, viz: Rev. Wm. E. Walker, of Petersburg; J. R. V. Thomas, of Portsmouth; and George Toamoth, of Portsmouth.
On motion that the report of the committee be received and adopted, an animated and excited debated ensued; and on motion, the word "rejected," as in the above credentials, was stricken out, and the motion to adopt the report of the committee as amended was carried by an overwhelming vote.
The roll was then called, and each delegate answered to his name, as follows:
Alexandria Delegation-- R.D. Beckley, Charles Chinn, Rev. George W. Parker, Henry Marshall, Henry Malvin, Geo. Franklin, Wm. Claggett.
Williamsburg Delegation.--Edmond F. Jones, Richard Hill.
Culpeper Delegation.--Edward Ambler.
Columbia Delegation.--Temple Jackson.
Gloucester Delegation. --Elijah Monroe, J. W. Jackson
Charlottesville Delegation. --Nicholas Rickman, Fairfax Taylor, Ossian Johnson, P.A. Cross, B. H. Jenkins.
Petersburg Delegation.--Lewis W. Carter, Rev. Wm. E. Walker, William Lively, David Cain, P. K. Jones.
Richmond Delegation.-- N. H. Anderson, Fields Cook, R. C. Hobson, R. W. Johnson.
Manchester Delegation.-- B. T. Edwards, Jordan Smith.
Danville Delegation.-- Henry Barksdale, Benj. Jackson, Lewis Scott.
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