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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 58.pdf

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56

would gladly have rid themselves, had they have had the inteil gt; gence and qualifications to accomplish their designs. Let none he found to shield themselves behind the plea of our brother bondmen in ignorance; that we know not what to do, nor where to go. We are no longer slaves, as were our fathers, but freemen; fully qualifi~ ed to meet our oppressors in every relation which belongs to the elevation of man, the establishment, sustenance and perpetuity of a nation. And such a position, by the help of God our. common Fa~ ther, we are determined to take and maintain. There is hut one question presents itself for our serious cousider~ ation, upon which we must give a decisiye replyWill we trans~ mit, as an inheritance to our children, the blessings of unrestricted civil liberty, or shafl we entail upon them, as our only political lega- cy, the degradation and oppression left us by our fathers? Shall we be persuaded that we can live and prosper nowhere but under the authority and power of our North American white op- pressors; that this (the United States,) is the country most-~if not~i the only onefavorable to our improvement and progress? Are we willing to admit that we are incapable of self-government, establish~ ing for ouiselves such political privileges, and making such internal improvements as we delight to. enjoy, after American white men have made them for themselves? No! Neither is it true that the United States is the country best adapted to our improvement. But that country is the best in which our manhoodmorally, mentally and physicallycan be best devel- opedin which we have an untrammeled right to the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty; and the West Jndies~ Central and South America, present now such advantages, superiorly preferable to all other countrie~~ That the continent of America was designed by Providence as a~ reserved asylum for the variou~ oppressed people of the earth, of all races, to us seems very apparent. From the earliest period after the discovery, various nations sent a representative here, either as adventurers and speculators, or em- ployed laborers, seamen, or soldiers, hired to work for their employ~ ers. And among the earliest and most numerous class whe found their way to the new world, were those of the African race. And it has been ascertained to our minds beyond a doubt, that when the Continent was discovered, there were found in the West Indies and Central America, tribes of the black race, fine looking people, hay-

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