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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.
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15 suffered. There need be no cavil as to where society is to begin. The Builder of the Universe has settled that by the necessity which he has thrown around the superstructure of human progress. There must be a basis; Learning is a part of society-it must enter into the composition of society; but the masses cannot be deeply learned, in fact only partially developed. Common School education is all that even the most enlightened countries afford the masses. These are foundation facts with all peoples, so must it be with the colored people of these United States. We must begin with the tillage of the earth and the practice of the mechanical branches, with whatever learning we may have, or the best we can now get. The observations above presented are a natural result growing out of the investigations of your Committee on Mechanical Branches among the colored people. An examination of the meagre facts which your Committee have gathered shows that while some have realized the true nature of the necessities of our position, others have wholly neglected the means first to be used, or have been driven by public prejudice and the force of circumstances, into modes of living entirely inconsistent with the principles of human progression, viz: non-productive labor.
Your Committee beg leave further to state, that having been appointed by the National Council which assembled in the City of New York, May last, to report to the National Convention to assemble in the City of Philadelphia, October 16, 1855, and accepting the appointment, availed itself of the facility of addressing circular letters to such gentlemen, as we thought would aid us in collecting such information as might be used to advantage by the Convention, and to some extent reliable for reference as to the actual state of Mechanical existence of our people; believing in the idea of producing facts rather than sophistical coloring.
The circular was responded to in a satisfactory manner by many to whom it was addressed, and your Committee feel under many obligations for assistance and suggestions from Mr. Nell, of Boston; Mr. Johnson, of New Bedford, Mass,; Peck, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Bowers, of Philadelphia; Woodson, of Pittsburgh, Pa.
And we thank the "Herald of Freedom," edited by Mr. Peter H. Clark, of Cincinnati, Ohio, for the very liberal course pursued in endeavoring to give us facts.
Living in the midst of progressive civilization as we do, the statistics show that we are not mixing sufficiently in the
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