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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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These gentlemen being in different sections of the country, hold in some degree views differing from each other; but all showing a want of some great desideratum to advancement in this great element of national growth—and wealth and happiness. While in this connection, your Committee is willing to charge on the bulk of this nation all that guilt and wickedness entailed upon us, we would also invite your attention to the many evils among ourselves that do more to retard our movements, "crush out" our aspirations, and place higher and stronger hindrances in our way to obtaining trades, than can all the whites put together, notwithstanding their willingness, for circumstances of interest control them, whilst a narrow prejudice emanating from a low estate to a large extent controls us, in the general sense.
The whites taking their cue as they do from the government, we must expect it to be a kind of domestic article purely native in its proclivities, to discourage us. Even this can be removed as circumstances shall show it to be their interest to do so. All prejudice connected with the Yankee spirit is subject to moderation by the influences that might be brought to bear by a vigorous application of the trades within our reach.
We are a part of this great nation, and our interests cannot be entirely separated. We are now one inseparably by the decrees of God.
As a people we must not be dictated to by discouragement;—if discouraged by the whites, we must learn to avail ourselves of every legitimate means to encourage our own mechanics and professional men.
This would enable us to overcome the spirit, that we have inherited from the dark prison house of slavery, casting its pall around our very vitals, and we found to dwell on the inability of our professional men and mechanics or their extravagant rates, or some other pretence too hollow and frivolous to mention.
To remedy some of the evils practiced by us, your Committee recommend that Committees of practical business men, in the large cities, say Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Pittsburg, Cincinnati, hold a series of conversational meetings, and endeavor to cultivate a proper and correct estimate of interest to govern purchase and sale, and inculcate the idea that to encourage our own mechanics, we create means to learn our boys trades and render them more independent of the prejudices around them.
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