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- Equality Before the Law: California Black Convention Activism, 1855-65
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Scripto | Transcribe Page
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 55.pdf
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In no period since the existence of the ancient enlightened nations of Africa, have the prospects of the black race been brighter than now; and at no time during the Christian era, have there been greater advantages presented for the advancement of any people, than at present, those which offer to the black race, both in the Eastern and Western hemispheres—our election being in the Western.
Despite the efforts to the contrary, in the strenuous endeavors for a supremacy of race, the sympathies of the world in their upward tendency, are in favor of the African and black races of the earth. To be available, we must take advantage of these favorable feelings, and strike out for ourselves a bold and manly course, of independent action and position; otherwise, this pure and uncorrupted sympathy will be reduced to pity and contempt.
Of the countries of our choice, we have stated that one province and two islands were slaveholding places. These, as before named, are Brazil, in South America, and Cuba and Porto Rico in the West Indies. There are a few other little islands of minor consideration—the Danish, three—Swedish, one—and Dutch, four.
But in the eight last referred to, slavery is of such a mild type, that—however objectionable as such—it is merely nominal.
In South America and the Antilles, in its worst form, slavery is a blessing almost, compared with the miserable degradation of the slave under our upstart, assumed superiors, the slave-holders of the United States.
In Brazil, color is no badge of condition, and every freeman, whatever his color, is socially and politically equal, there being black gentlemen of pure African descent, filling the highest positions in State, under the Emperor. There is also an established law by the Congress of Brazil, making the crime punishable with death, for the commander of any vessel to bring into the country any human being as a slave.
The following law has passed one branch of the General Legislative Assemby of Brazil, but little doubt being entertained that it will find a like favor in the other branch of that august general legislative body:
All children born after the date of this law shall be free.
All those shall be considered free who are born in other countries, and come to Brazil after this date.
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