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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.

1879TN.part1.13.pdf

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14

PROCEEDINGS OF THE

can enjoy all the rights of humanity, and has opened the hearts of the Christian men and women of the American people of the North to aid us in our struggle to settle on them, and as a convention of the most prominent men of our race will shortly assemble at Nashville to perfect and complete such a settlement, on such a basis or plan which will promote our success and the pride and glory of the American people ; therefore, be it

Resolved, That this meeting send to the Nashville convention delegates, and pledge our efforts to aid this cause for our freedom, and we appoint an executive committee of fifteen colored men to organize this work. Referred.

George M. Perkins, of Arkansas, moved that no more resolutions be offered for the present. Carried.

On motion of W. F. Yardley, of Tennessee, Taylor Miller, of Rutherford, and J. H. Hopkins, of Maury county, were admitted to the floor of the Conference. He said they had been elected delegates under the impression that the Conference would be a convention.

Colonel Robert Harlan, of Ohio, moved that papers be now read, that the President might retire and appoint committees. Carried.

Vice-President Robert Nicholas was then called to the chair, and the President retired.

J. W. Cromwell, the clerk, then read a paper from Dr. A. T. Augusta, of Washington, D. C, on the sanitary condition of the colored people of the United States. [See Appendix A.]

W. H. Council, of Alabama, and Hon. J. H. Rainey, of South Carolina, commended the paper. The latter said :

Mr. President, I desire to ask indulgence of the Conference for a short time, while 1 submit a few remarks, in order that those present might understand who the author of the paper just read really is. Dr. Augusta is a gentleman of color, a practicing physician, and a resident of the city of Washington. He was the first medical and surgical officer of our race who was admitted to rank in the army of the United States being the first having the manhood and temerity to apply and risk the ordeal of a rigid examination, to which he was subjected.

To the credit of himself and his race he passed a successful examination, and it is worthy of note to say that he continued in the faithful and satisfactory discharge of his official duty until the close of the war. Sir, it is a source of pride, and inexpressible gratification to know that we have those fully identified with us possessing so high an order of talent as to treat intelligently scientific as well as other subjects of vital interest to us. Among us we have men of capacity and breadth of comprehension, giving them the power to grapple with intricate questions, involving literature, science, medicine, hygiene, and various other prominent branches. We have no special fault to find with our color, but we have cause for fault-finding when that is made the ground on which to construct prejudice and proscription against us.

The opportunity has come and is now at hand when, despite oppression and other unreasonable opposing elements, we will demonstrate our true manhood. We have shown our bravery in the late war by fighting under flag that gave us no protection, and for a government that repudiated and ignored our rights.

Let us strive as true men—press on emulating the good combinations

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