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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the State Convention of the colored citizens of Tennessee, held in Nashville, Feb. 22d, 23d, 24th & 25th, 1871.
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A vote of thanks was tendered to Rev. Tyler, pastor of St. John's Chapel, for the use of the church, also to the officers of the convention, for the efficient manner in which they had presided over the deliberations of the Convention.
The Convention then adjourned sine die.
THE MEMORIAL TO CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, ADOPTED AT THE STATE CONVENTION OF COLORED MEN.
The State Convention, held in Nashville February 22d, 23d, 24th, and 25th, would most respectfully submit this petition to Congress and the President of the United States that some action may be taken to ameliorate the condition of the colored citizens of this State. The Convention brought facts to light of the most intense affliction, suffering and destitution which we deplore and view with alarm, A small portion of this is printed with the minutes and proceedings, The cry of the masses up from every quarter is, protection! protection!! protection!!! from the outlaws and desparadoes who swarm by thousands up and down the highways of every district and county, under the secret oath-bound societies known as Pale Faces and Kuklux, to deny colored citizens every right of citizenship, civil and political, When we inform you that every supporter of the Lost Cause in this State is arrayed and engaged in this malicious effort, and our State being under political control of these men and their sympathizers, then you will realize that there is no redress for us unless the arm of the Government is held out to our rescue,
So great is the influence of these that the laws are in some places openly defied; their masks taken off, and yet the officials refuse to bring say to justice, and in many cases they are with them in person committing murders. outrages and every crime against humanity, and by the misses of white citizens in secret hostility to the colored citizens and their friends, as a class. This is an almost universal rule, in addition to the crimes committed against them by the organized secret societies of Pale Faces or Kuklux. They have formed Farmers' Clubs, Agricultural Societies, etc., to depreciate the labor of the colored men and control it by their individual and united action, which, so far, has resulted in the total violation of many of the contracts by the laborer being cheated out of the fruits of his toil, and driven from the premises of the employer, destitute and without remedy--the State laws being a farce in the manner of their execution.
To put an end this state of things, we ask Congress to aid the landless of our race to secure homes, by appointing an unpaid commission of well-known friends with power to purchase in this State large tracts of land to form settlements upon, which shall be let to colored citizens as homes, exempt from execution by State laws and allow them several years to pay for the same. Should such persons need further aid, said commission can render it on the same terms: and the United States should have a full title property purchased until the purchase money is repaid. These purchases of lands to lie in settlements so as to enable the settlers to protect themselves from outrages and outlaws so numerous in our State. There being among us quite a number of mechanics and [artizans] out of employment, it would afford a fitting opportunity not only to prepare a class for usefulness who are now neglected and outraged, but would develop and build up the country, which by nature is fitted for the abode of happiness and peace, but which has been by misguided men, to say the least, transformed to the theatre of the most heartless atrocity and crimes, by those too who claim to be of a superior race, a Christian people and a chivalry. These things are visited upon a poor docile people, whose crime is Loyalty to the Government of the United States.
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