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Proceedings of the Colored National Convention, held in Franklin Hall, Sixth Street, Below Arch, Philadelphia, October 16th, 17th and 18th, 1855.

1855PA 3.pdf

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4

arrived at the conclusion, that the Free People of Color, if they would disencumber themselves from whatever tends to impede their march, and remove whatever obstacles are in the way of their progress—if they would fully subserve the cause of Liberty, which is the cause of God, they must take upon them the responsibility of doing and acting for themselves—of laying out and directing work of their own elevation. That so far from being mere aids and lookers-on, the time has fully come when they must be the guides, leaders and active operators in this great Reform.

Who, it may be asked, can lay a stronger claim to a cause, and who, having the power and ability, can better promote it, than the most deeply interested; and upon whom has the elevation of the People of Color in these United States a stronger claim, and who can better direct and promote the work, than the People of Color themselves? In our elevation lies the freedom of our enslaved brethren; in that elevation is centered the germ of our own high destiny, and the best well-being of the whole people,

Years of well-intended effort have been expended for the especial freedom of the slave, while the elevation of the free colored man as an inseperable priority to the same, has been entirely overlooked. But to every true friend of freedom it must now be too obvious, that the whole process of Operation against the huge and diabolical system of oppression and wrong, has been shorn of more than half its strength and efficacy, because of this neglect of the interests of the Free People of Color—interests so vital that we dare not longer permit them to remain in a state of neglect. If nothing else, then, these years of experience have taught every true friend of Liberty, that the elevation of the free man is inseperable from, and lies at the very threshold of the great work of the slave's restoration to freedom, and equally essential to the highest well-being of our own common country.

It is equally obvious that since the work of elevation of the Free People of Color is (so to speak) the lever by which the whole must rIse, that work must now receive a vigorous and hearty support from all of those upon whom it has a claim.

The work thus foreshadowed for the consideration of the Convention, is various, and much of it difficult· yet, the power of its accomplishnlent lies in systemization and direction of it—and whIle we would make no direct specifications—while we

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