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Minutes of the National Convention of Colored Citizens; Held at Buffalo; on the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th of August, 1843; for the purpose of considering their moral and political condition as American citizens.

1843NY 11.pdf

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11

the word "Christian" before the term church. The amendment, after some discussion, in which several gentlemen participated, was withdrawn. The motion then recurred upon the original resolution, upon which a spirited and somewhat lengthy discussion ensued, in which the following gentlemen participated: In the affirmative, H.H. Garnit, R.H. Johnson, F. Douglass, W.C. Munro, C. L. Remond, C.B. Ray, and J.H. Townsend; in the negative, Theo. S. Wright, E.B. Dunlap, P.Harris, and J. Sharpe.

The brethren in the affirmative all agreed in the existence of the church, but a difference of opinion existed as to what constituted the true church. They all agreed that the existing church in this country was corrupt--was wedded strongly to slavery, and was a pro-slavery church; that the passage of anti-slavery resolutions, as indicated on the face of them, was no evidence of their not being pro-slavery, while they keep what is called the negro-pew, and made a distinction at the communion-table on the ground of color; this with them was slavery in another form, its very spirit. And with respect to the leading ecclesiastical bodies, the gentlemen in the affirmative contended, that in their judgment, there was no hope of reforming them, they were so wedded to public opinion, so popularity- seeking, that they were past reforming, and that no true friend of liberty, especially no man of color, could, to be consistent, longer remain in church fellowship with them, and that they ought forthwith to withdraw from them. The brethren on the other side of the question took the old ground, that if they withdrew church fellowship, they would by that act, cut off all the influence they had, with which to reform them. Some of them did little more than to define their position as members of churches in affiliation with the great ecclesiastical bodies; they referred to acts of these bodies, to show an improvement in anti-slavery action, and which to them was great ground of hope; they thought, should they withdraw from them, they would have withdrawn from a body which soon wold be as much anti-slavery as could be desired, and they felt called upon to remain and help bring about that end. This was the ground taken, especially by Mr. Wright, of New York.

While this discussion was pending, the business committee came in and asked leave to present the following report, and upon which they asked immediate action:

Resolved, That a weekly newspaper be established in some large city, which shall be the organ of the colored people and their friends, and that each member of this Convention pledge himself to procure subscribers for it, and that an executive committee be appointed by this Convention, under whose management the paper shall be published.

Resolved, That a financial committee of three be appointed, to attend to the financial affairs of the Convention.

Resolved, That a committee be appointed to collect statistical information from the delegates present, and to make out a report upon the condition of our people.

On motion, the report was accepted.

On motion, so much of the report as referred to the establishment of a weekly newspaper was referred to the following committee for them to consider the subject and report thereon, viz,; Charles B. Ray, of New York; R. Banks, of Detroit; Wm. P. McIntire, of Albany; N.W.

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