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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.

1865VA.13.pdf

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270

BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS

Mr. Brown, of the buisness committee, then offered the following resolutions, which were adopted by a rising vote:

We, the American citizens of African descent of the State of Virginia, in Convention assembled, in the city of Alexandria, this 4th day of August A.D. 1865, do adopt the following preamble and resolutions:

Whereas, In the darkest hour of American history, when treason and rebellion swept over the South, we remained loyal to the Government of the United States, and when the Government called us to arms we gladly came forth to fight her battles, and to protect the flag that had enslaved us.

And Whereas, As peace is restored to the land, and the sound of the drum, or the tramp of troops, or the boom of the cannon is heard no more, and the States so late in rebellion are about being restored to their relationship in the Federal Union under pretended loyalty:

Resolved, That any attempt to reconstruct the States, so late in open rebellion against the General Government, without giving to the American citizens of African descent all the rights and immunities accorded to white citizens so late in open arms and hostility against the Government of the United States, is an act of gross injustice done to the loyal blacks, who, compose the great loyal element of the Southern States.

2d. That a petition be sent to Congress in the name of this Convention, respectfully, yet most earnestly requesting them not to receive the Senators and Representatives elected from this State--Virginia--to seats in the Congress of the United States, and to keep the States under military control until all the rights and immunities accorded to white citizens shall be accorded to us.

And Whereas, Good rulers make good and true subjects. This is illustrated in the case of Queen Victoria3 on the one hand and Louis Napoleon4 on the other; and whereas this rule holds good with reference to the ruler, from parent to king;

And Whereas, The reason why American rulers, and especially those in the Southern States, have been so thoroughly detested by colored men, is because they have invariably hated us, and have joined hands with our oppressors, and in many cases were our enemies and our oppressors.

And Whereas, In the process of reconstruction and reappointing the officers of this State, we cannot look upon anyone act, either by the provisional government of the State of Virginia, or by any person holding office, either by the appointment of Gov. Pierpoint,5 or as the result of any election ordered by his authority, have proved friendly to us, but in every case have sought to degrade us. Therefore,

Resolved, That we, the members of the convention of colored citizens of Virginia assembled, do most respectfully, but earnestly call upon Governor Pierpoint to define his position in reference to the repeal of all the black laws of Virginia which oppress and degrade us; also, in reference to the franchise of the colored citizens of Virginia.

Resolved, That unless he does this favorably, we cannot regard him as our friend.

Resolved, That the very dubious course of the Governor has left us and all true friends of the Union in great uncertainty as to this fidelity to the principles upon which he was exalted to his position as Governor of Virginia.

Resolved, That we thank all true friends of our race of all schools, but especially Hon. Charles Sumner, Benjamin Wade, Henry Wilson, Generals Terry6and Turner7 who have so recently suppressed the election of our enemies, but none have a greater share of our love and respect than General B.F. Bulter, who first decided the fate of slavery.

After which, three hearty cheers were given, and a tiger for General Butler.

After the adoption of the preamble and resolutions, the Lincoln Monument Association sung with excellent effect "The Glory of the Free."

A motion was then made by a prominent member of the Convention, to reconsider the motion made and carried at a previous meeting, to return the "Address to the Loyal Citizens and Congress of the United States of America," to the author.

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