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Proceedings of the State Convention of the colored citizens of Tennessee, held in Nashville, Feb. 22d, 23d, 24th & 25th, 1871.


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these institutions are now doing more to elevate our colored citizens and to break down the barriers to progress, elevate Christianize, and dispel the darkness of ignorance and prejudice than all the powers used by the whole State of Tennessee. .

Resolved, That we not only esteem the worthy founders of these institutions as statesmen; but true Christian philanthropists and benefactors of our countrymen.

The Committee on education made the following report which was adopted.


The committee on education beg leave to report that the outrages on the school teachers, to both white and colored teachers in colored schools are so great that they have broken up nearly all schools outside of the large cities, which is done by the Kuklux outlaws, who with impunity defy, successfully all attempts that have been made to stop them in their lawlessness. The consequence is there are thousands of children who are growing up uneducated, and ignorance is by this course sown broadcast in our state, inviting every grade of crime and immorality that should alarm not only the lover of humanity, but the patriot, of the welfare of our country. In order to carry out their mischief, they burn schoolhouses and the churches in which school is taught, besides inflicting punishment of the most horrible and atrocious character upon the persons of teachers.

The committee can see no hope for the general education of the children of our race in Tennessee, unless it be established and adopted by the general government, and the government shall establish schools in behalf of our citizens, who will admit, upon equality, colored children. Even in cities where there are some schools we labor under the most odious proscription which we hope entirely to avoid in the national schools. Each colored citizen cannot but feel degraded, so long as he is forced by the local authorities to separate schools, often of the most unfitting character and purpose. We have a large number of reports from various counties, and in some instances no schools at all. In Shelby county alone there are four thousand children of color not attending school, and most all the schools they have are paid and kept up by subscription. The Superintendent has forbidden in this county, the teachers of colored schools opening the schools by prayer. We most respectfully request this Convention to make known our wants to the general government and request them to take some action to meet our wants, and most respectfully request the adoption of the following preamble and resolutions, and letter with an extract of the common sentiment of our State, from the Clarksville Chronicle Dec. 3d, 1870.

Whereas, The Government of the United States has contributed a large fund to establish in each State an Agricultural College; and

Whereas, The State of Tennessee has received and appropriated the fund to a College in this State; and

Whereas, It is the principle of the present government to afford equal political rights to all, irrespective of color; therefore,

Be it Resolved, That the colored citizens of Tennessee request the Congress of the United States to order the doors of such College or Institution shall receive all pupils irrespective of color, and that they be admitted on equal terms;

Resolved, That the colored citizens should be represented in proportion to their population in this College or University: and

Resolved, That we ask in addition, Congress to establish a national school system of instruction which will be impartial to all of our citizens, A. S. Carr, John Claiborne, R. D. Williamson, J. W. H. Heyton, Committee;


The condition in Montgomery county is shown by the following communication referred to in the report.

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