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Proceedings of the National Emigration Convention of Colored People Held at Cleveland, Ohio, On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, The 24th, 25th, and 26th of August, 1854

1854 Cleveland OH State Convention 54.pdf

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There were no laborers known to the Colonists, from Cape Cod to Cape Lookout, than those of the African race. They entered at once into the mines, extracting therefrom the rich treasures which for a thousand ages lay hidden in the earth; when plunging into the depths of the rivers, they culled from their sandy bottoms, to the astonishment of the natives and surprise of the Europeans, minerals and precious stones, which added to the pride and aggrandisement of every throne in Europe.

And from their knowledge of cultivation—an art acquired in their native Africa—the farming interests in the North and planting in the South, were commenced with a prospect never dreamed of before the introduction on the continent of this most interesting, unexampled, hardy race of men. A race capable of the endurance of more toil, fatigue and hunger, than any other branch of the human family.

Though pagans for the most part in their own country, they required not to be taught to work, and how to do it; but it was only necessary to bid them work, and they at once knew what to do, and how it should he done.

Even up to the present day, it is notorious that in the planting States, the blacks themselves are the only skillful cultivators of the soil, the proprietors or planters, as they are termed, knowing little or nothing of the art, save that which they learn from the African husbandman; while the ignorant white overseer, whose duty is to see that the work is attended to, knows still less.

Hemp, cotton, tobacco, corn, rice, sugar, and many other important staple products, are all the result of African skill and labor, in the southern States of this country. The greater number of the mechanics of the South are also black men.

Nor was their skill as herdsmen inferior to their other proficiencies, they being among the most accomplished trainers of horses in the world.

Indeed, to this class of men may be indebted the entire country, for the improvement South, in the breed of horses. And those who have traveled in the southern States, could not have failed to observe that the principal trainers, jockies, riders, and judges of horses, were men of African descent.

These facts alone, are sufficient to establish our claim to this country, as legitimate as that of those who fill the highest stations, by the suffrage of the people.

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