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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.
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the mobs of the land answer, that the same power, in proper hands, but especially in our own, would be exerted, or at least might be, not only merely to counteract the influences against us, but be made an instrumentality to promote positive good, the tendency of which would be to elevate the people ; in other words, a press in our own hands would be wielded to disabuse the public mind in respect to us, and correct the false views and sentiments entertained of us, and of questions necessary to our general welfare, and would be the means of promoting correct views and sentiments in reference to the same objects.
The press takes hold of the public mind, and gets at the public heart; its influence reaches the spot to form and influence public opinion ; and to what do the disabilities of the colored people and the slavery of this country owe their existence, more than to public opinion ? What is a more fruitful source of evil than public opinion, when wrongly formed ? This, then, once corrected, and formed as it should be, and our work, so far as the influences from without are concerned, is done. If one class of the people ought to have a press absolutely under their control, it is that class who are the proscribed, and whose rights are cloven down.
Your committee believe that the press may not, and will not only be wielded successfully in combatting and turning away the influences which are without, but it will be exceedingly useful in the influence it may and will exert within, or among ourselves. 1st.—A paper emanating from, and circulating among us, will bring us almost as it were in contact; will make us better acquainted with each other, and with the doings of each other. It will also have the tendency to unite us in a stronger bond, by teaching us that our cause and our interests are one and common, and that what is for the interest of the one, or a point gained in our common cause in one section of the country, is for the interest of all, or a point gained by all. Besides, being the organ of the whole, it would necessarily chronicle the public measures of the whole, and thus become a medium to enable us to learn about, as well as from each other.
A papersuch as it should be, necessarily conveys general information, and becomes a means of knowledge : no instrumentality is more efficient in conveying information upon general subjects than the newspaper press. If It be a means of knowledge, then it aids in the formation of character, and every family, especially where there are children, ought to take a newspaper for the information it contains. But if papers tend to the formation of character, then ought we to see to it that papers only of correct sentiments come into the hands of our children.
Your committee, while they see evidently the necessity of having established amongst us a good newspaper, find many difficulties in the way of establishing one in the present state of things, and hardly have known to what conclusion to come. They admit that we are enough in numbers to sustain three or four papers; that there are men and women enough among us searching for useful information, and whose love of improvement lead them to feel the necessity of, and most heartily desire to have a paper, to sustain one; but to get properly at these, is a work of time, of labor, and expense.
A paper to be well sustained must have at least two thousand
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