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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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Let your action in our behalf be thus clear and emphatic, and our respected President, who, we feel confident, desires only to know your will, to act in harmony therewith, will give you his most earnest and cordial cooperation and the Southern States, through your enlightened and just legislation, will speedily award us our rights. Thus not only will the arms of the rebellion be surrendered, but the ideas also.
The issue is too momentous, the stake is too incalculably great, to admit of delay or quibbles about the constitutionality of the thing.
Good faith, honor, gratitude, justice and right, are the elements of law that are higher than all constitutions or statutes of men's exalting; and you have only in your omnipotence to say "let it be done," and it will be done.
It is this quibbling and compromising that have ground us to powder in the past, and plunged you into the vortex of civil war; and you by the Living God to deliver us from a repetition of this grinding process, and your children from the recurrence of your late calamities.
Trusting that you will not be deaf to the appeal herein made, nor unmindful of the warnings which the malignity of the rebels are constantly giving you, and that you will rise to the height of being just for the sake of justice, we remain yours for our flag, our country and humanity.
Rev. Wm. E. Walker was then introduced, and addressed the Convention, "on the relation which the Colored people of this country sustain to the American Union."
The address was received with marked attention, and elicited much applause.
After the address, a number of other gentlemen addressed the Convention, occupying five minutes each, amidst the greatest enthusiasm and delight.
Rev. Wm. E. Walker offered the following resolution, which was adopted:
Resolved, That as to the question whether we are citizens of the United States or not, we refer all those who say We are not to Chancellor Kent, Chief Justice; Attorney General Bates, in his famous decision in 1862, and last, though not least, to the acts of that eminent and distinguished Statesman and Jurist, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase.
John M. Brown submitted the following resolutions, which were also adopted:
Resolved, 1. That we thank the Government of the United States for the Emancipation Proclamation, the amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as all other acts of Congress in our interest.
2. That we most profoundly sympathize with all who have been made to suffer by the war, but we most profoundly thank God for all the results of the war, viz: The freedom of our race, and the prospect of the speedy restoration of all our rights as men.
3. That we thank Congress, especially for the establishment of the Freedmen's Bureau, and especially do we thank the President for the appointment of that brave and Christian soldier, Major General O. O. Howard, as its Chief, giving us the assurance that all of the interests of our people will be cared for.
4.That in the appointment of Colonel O. Brown, as Assistant Commissioner for the State of Virginia, we have a tried, true, and earnest friend, and pledge him our hearty co-operation.
5. That in the appointment of Prof. W. H. Woodbury, as Superintendent of the schools for colored persons in the State of Virginia, we have a zealous worker in the cause of education, and a fearless champion of the African race.
6. That we most heartily thank all the Northern associations for all the efforts which they have put forth for the education of our people, and pledge our co-operation in every particular.
7. That we thank God for the restoration of peace, with liberty to serve Him according to the dictates of our consciences.
8. That we most deeply regret that when peace came our nation had to mourn the loss of her chief, Abraham Lincoln, and we take this method to assure all true lovers of republican institutions and impartial justice, that
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