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Reports on Two Iowa Conventions

1857IA.7.pdf

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THE ADDRESS OF THE CONVENTION OF COLORED SOLDIERS TO THE PEOPLE OF IOWA.

Fellow countrymen: We wish we could truthfully address you as “fellow-citizens.” Having established our claim to the proud title of American soldiers and shared in the glories won by the deeds of the true men of our own color, will you not hear and heed our appeal? We appeal to the justice of the people and of the Legislature of our State for those rights of citizenship without which our well earned freedom is but a shadow; we ask you to recognize our claims to manhood by giving to us that right without which we have no power to defend ourselves from unjust legislation and no voice in the Government we have endeavored to preserve. Being men, we claim to be of that number comprehended in the Declaration of Independence, and who are entitled not only to life, and liberty, but to equal rights in the pursuit and securing of happiness–in the choice of those who are to rule over us.

We appeal to your magnanimity, to your good faith, to your sense of justice. We ask no privilege, we simply ask for our own rights, long denied by the misguided and now conquered South, and withheld from us at the North in obedience to the political teachings and demands of a slaveholding public opinion. We will not believe but that the people of Iowa will be the first to do full justice to the men of color, as they have been among the foremost in upholding the flag of our country.

We rejoice in the fact and congratulate the people of our own color in every part of the land that in the recent election for Governor the gallant Stone, who marched as bravely up to the manhood suffrage issue as he was wont to do in the field of battle against the enemies of the country in arms, has been again chosen to the Gubernatorial chair by the handsome majority of more than 15,000 votes. In this fact the colored citizens of Iowa take courage and are the more incited to show our white friends that if we do not get our rights as citizens and voters, it is not because we do not deserve and have not fairly earned them, but only because prejudice and wrong still triumph over Truth and Righteousness. Seeing what our eyes have already beheld during the past four years we know that the day of full triumph is coming as surely as the Omnipotent reigneth. We patiently wait our time, desiring ever to prove faithful to God and our country, and hoping that suffering humanity, now contending for equal Rights and Justice, will ere long be made to rejoice in the hearty sympathy and aid of all good and true men everywhere. Trusting that this our appeal will receive a candid consideration from the people of Iowa, we subscribe ourselves in behalf of our brethren and race:

Alexander Clark, of Muscatine Iowa

Sergt. Edward Herenden, Co. A, 60th U.S. Inft.

" I.N. Triplett, Co. C, 60th U.S. Inft.

" Samuel Meeks, Co. B, 60th U.S. Inft.

" J. Neal, Co. D, 60th U.S. Inft.

" Daniel Segrel, Co. E, 60th U.S. Inft.

" Benjamin Franklin, Co. F, 60th U.S. Inft.

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