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- Equality Before the Law: California Black Convention Activism, 1855-65
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Scripto | Transcribe Page
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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Besides the foregoing extracts, your committee would refer you to other cases of our brethren in the State of Ohio. In Jackson Co., in that State, there is a settlement of about 50 colored families, mostly farmers, and all of whom own their own farms, and in a high state of cultivation. These friends went to that country many years since, when that whole country was comparatively a new one, and that age a dark age; and all along they have had to contend with a variety of trying obstacles. They have, however, risen above all that obstructed their pathway, and in spite of all, they have ever maintained a good reputation, have comfortably supported their families from their own produce, have educated well their children, have lived to see the wilderness become a plain, and the desert blossom as the rose, and are now in ease and comfort, with produce annually above supplying their own wants, abundantly to export.
Your committee might also refer you to other settlements of our people in the counties of Brown, Shelby and Warren, in the State of Ohio, all of which are in a flourishing state, and the people living within their own resources—independently, respectably and usefully, and in some of which, where prejudice once was rampart, is so far overcome, and lived down, that the white children and the colored children in the most friendly feeling are educated in the same school, although that is against both the laws and the spirit of that State, and the other settlements where the same is not the case, the people are educating well their own children.
Your committee without the facts above stated, and but few of which have they had the time to collect, or the room to embody, are of the settled opinion that it is time that the mass of our people in the big cities, and large towns of the East, and South, yea, and of the West too, turned their attention to this subject. As they now live, they have nothing permanently to depend upon for a support; their occupations are precarious, as fluctuating as the wind, subject to all the changes of fortune and of circumstances to which those who employ them are subject, as well as to all the vexatious changes in the business affairs of the country. Your committee believe that in their present occupations, if they do not on the whole exert an influence against their own highest good, and the highest good of their brethren, that they are less useful to themselves, and of little or no use to their brethren at large; and that the comfort of their families, the future good of their children, and their whole interest, as well as the general good of our cause demands, that with their means, and their influence, and large numbers of whom have the means, they should emigrate to those countries where land is cheap, and settle themselves down as freemen, and become at once independent, useful and happy.
Many of our people in the cities have money loaned at interest, and which netts them but 5 per cent, and themselves are, as they ever have been, following the dependent occupations peculiar to the same class in large cities, and large numbers are engaged in the unpleasant business of the sea, with no hope of promotion to office; when that money invested in a farm even in the new countries of the West, would yield at least 25 per cent from the commencement, and after a few years, from the improvements that would be made, and the increase in the valuation
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