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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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PROCEEDINGS OF THE
citizens of the United States. We furthermore avow our earnest hope that the noble men and women of our country who are seeking to lift up their sisters to a higher plane of womanhood by giving them a larger scope in the activities and responsibilities of life by means of the ballot, may succeed in consummating their great purpose, for it would be a wretched commentary upon our liberty-loving profession if we proved not our faith by our works in refusing to aid in the complete freedom and exultation of women.
Resolved, That the right to labor and to receive wages commensurate with the labor performed are sacred principles underlying the primal foundation of human society. It is, therefore, as much treason against God and humanity to close up an avenue of labor by which people gain a living as to steal the sweat of their brows by paying them wages inadequate to the work performed. The party in power, if it would continue to be the shepherd of the people, must not waver from the steadfast adherence to the principles which gave it its present glory.
Resolved, That the vast body of the working men of this country, white or colored, require a policy which shall elevate labor, giving them higher wages and better homes in the South, and throw open to them the avenues of industry and emolument to race.
Resolved, That we behold with feelings of deep mortification and regret the widespread demoralization of the almost utter advancement of earnest efforts for self-culture and intellectual development by our young men and women. We call upon our ministers and others to whose care is committed the moral and mental training of the young to strive with all their might to reclaim those who are walking down the broad road that leads to moral and physical death.
Resolved, We also deplore the existence of a fact equally bad. Among our so-called leading men there is no general spirit of public enterprise nor of laudable ambition to place within the hands of their race the means of their self-elevation; no building associations; no industrial avenues through which a knowledge of the various mechanical arts can be obtained. The work-shops, the counting-rooms, clerkships in stores, and employment in the busy commercial marts of our cities and towns are closed to us as a rule, and we have yet to learn the sad lesson that the spirit of caste and of prejudice will continue to prevail just so long as we are poor and needy.
Resolved, That on the subject of migration we will give it our special unbiased and unprejudiced consideration, and will so act as to redound to the good and benefit of all concerned -- to both rulers and the ruled.
By L. A. Roberts, of Grand Junction, Tenn.:
Whereas there is at the present time a spirit of emigration existing among the colored people of the South, especially in the valley of the Mississippi, caused by oppression and otherwise, and non-protection in their rights as American citizens in the several Southern States, with no prospect existing of a change for the better; therefore
Resolved, By this, the National Convention of colored citizens : First, that it is expedient and wise for all who can to emigrate to some parts of the United States where they can enjoy all the rights and immunities granted them under the Constitution and laws of the United States, without fear or molestation ; second, that in order to carry out the project of emigration systematically and advantageously, an emigration society be organized, whose duty shall be to assist those who desire to leave their homes in the South in so doing, and to reach their destination in any of the Northwestern States or Territories, to establish bureaus and agencies at one or more points on the Mississippi, Tennessee, Cumberland, Ohio and Missouri rivers, connected with the principal railroads leading West
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