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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the National Conference of Colored Men of the United States, Held in the State Capitol at Nashville Tennessee, May 6, 7, 8 and 9, 1879.
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THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE.
At 1 o' clock Tuesday, May 6, 1879, ex-Governor P.B.S. Pinchback, of Louisiana, advanced to the Speaker's stand of the House of Delegates, Nashville, Tenn., and said:
It was my purpose yesterday, when I was notified that it would be expected of me to call this Conference together, to make some extended remarks foreshadowing what I supposed would be its policy, but unforeseen circumstances have completely unfitted me for any extended remarks at this time. We supposed—at least I supposed—the objects of this Conference and mode of its formation was so familiar to the people of the country that we would meet with no opposition from any class, and more especially did we expect to receive a cordial greeting from the colored citizens of Tennessee. Many of us here to-day were here two years ago, and we look back to that time with pride and recall with pleasure the generous hospitality showered upon us by the people of Nashville, without respect to race or color, and we believed that, coming here at a time more important to all classes than at that time was, we would be received with open arms, and that every good citizen would give us his support. I am not prepared to say such treatment will be accorded to us. There seems to be a disturbing element here disposed to interfere with our deliberations. There seems to be a set of gentlemen, chosen by people in a meeting claiming to be delegates, who think they have greater rights than we have. Now, we have no objection to the delegation or otherwise, but we form the nucleus of this Conference and we supposed every man of good faith would come in here and help do the work. I trust that will be the result of this gathering, and, whether it is or not, I want to say to you, in all sincerity, that there is enough of us, men of caliber, who, if we do our duty, will leave here proud that we met together. I am satisfied of this. When I was selected to call this meeting I was instructed to call to the chair a gentleman well known to the country—Mr. John R. Lynch, of Mississippi. I therefore appoint Colonel Lewis of Louisiana, Messrs. Bentley of Georgia, and Nicholas of Indiana, to conduct him to the stand.
Mr. Lynch was then escorted to the stand. On taking the chair he said:
GENTLEMEN OF THE CONFERENCE: This is an unexpected honor
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