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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the Convention of Colored People Held in Dover, Del., January 9, 1873.
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fifth the entire population of the State, the Legislature does not provide a solitary school, nor appropriate a single dollar of State money. We hold this discrimination as against the genius of our government; insulting to the laws of Congress; detrimental to the best interests of the State, and outrageous to the colored tax payers.
We say against the spirit of the age, because non-progressive in its character and in the interests of ignorance; because tending to perpetuate poverty, multiply crime, and aid in human degradation.
Insulting to the laws of Congress, because directly against the express provisions of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments; laws of the highest authority known in the land. Detrimental to the public good, or to the best interests of the State, because entailing upon the State a burden of ignorance and discontent. For as long as a portion of citizens are thus excluded and restricted in their rights, it is folly to expect that portion to be contented, they must of necessity be a disturbing element, and will not cease to agitate the body politic. Again, it puts upon the State a class of people that must remain poor, and consequently unable to contribute but little to the support of the State and yet which must be the most expensive to govern. Intelligence, it is well known, is much cheaper to the State then ignorance. To foster education then, is the noblest work of the State; to oppose it among any class of citizens is to opposed the State's highest interest.
But this discrimination is outrageous to the colored people, because it is sullen opposition against their rights as citizens. It is founded upon no principle, backed by no argument, but sustained entirely by a prejudice founded upon a long course of false education. We therefore, in the name of all that is good to the State, and on behalf of the dearest interests of the colored people, do again urge upon our white fellow citizens to assist us in educating ourselves so that we may become a people of which the State itself may be proud.
We appeal not now alone to christian philanthropy but we appeal to the sense of fairness and right. By the laws of the State we are entirely ignored in all school privileges; we are not taxed it is true as other citizens are taxed, but the fault is not ours. We are as willing and ready to pay our school tax as any other tax. Let it be levied and collected, and we will find no fault. We will share in common with all other citizens all the burdens of civil government, and only ask an equal share in its benefits. More than this we do not desire; less than this we dare not ask.
In our efforts to secure this right from the State we invite the cooperation of all good citizens, feeling sure that the good we seek will be to the advantage of all.
After adopting the address, the convention was entertained by Mrs. F.E.W. Harper, in reading her excellent poem entitled "Sketches from Southern Life," after which all joined in singing the Doxology, "Praise God from whom all Blessings flow," and the Convention adjourned sine die.
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