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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.


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Committee on Permanent Organization, presenting a constitution and bylaws for a proposed organization, to be known as " The American Protective Society, to Prevent Injustice to the Colored People,"

[See Appendix F.]

J. T. Jenifer, of Kansas, offered a series of resolutions, concluding as follows:

That the school-book, the Bible and the ballot, the three great levers of American civilization, will, with industry and discretion, do for us what they have done for others; hence we shall be left to work out our own destiny in contact with our white brother in the land of our birth.

Judging from the progress made by the colored people, by the blessing of God, during the past fourteen years, the national tendency to peace and mutual understanding which is daily being brought about between the two races in America, we may sanguinely look for a proper adjustment of all our present difficulties.

That, meanwhile, we call upon the better classes of citizens of the South to bury their prejudices against us, if they have any. Let us come together as friends, and we demand their protection; because we are all in the same ship and must sink or swim together. Hence we call upon the press of the country, the framers of public opinion and educators of the popular mind, to cease their Negro hate and abusive misrepresentations of the colored race, and help to bring about this era of good feeling and peaceable adjustment which is so much desired by every good citizen of the United States.

The firm maintenance of these preambles we call upon all colored citizens to pledge their most earnest endeavors to propagate and maintain.

J. P. Jones, of Arkansas, offered the following, which were adopted:

Whereas we learn from well-founded rumor that Hon. Benjamin F. Butler has tendered and donated 20,000 acres of land in Wisconsin, and lion. Zach Chandler offered homes to one hundred families of color who are fleeing from their homes in various sections of the South; therefore

Resolved, That we extend to the honorable gentlemen our grateful thanks in the name of suffering humanity for their manifestation in recognizing the claims of a people whose condition appeals so strongly to the sympathy of the charitable.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be forwarded to the honorable gentlemen herein indicated.

The resolution of W. F. Yardley, introduced at the morning session, was then taken up.

James D. Kennedy, of Louisiana, moved to suspend the rules and proceed to the resolution memorializing Congress for the appropriation of $350,000 to aid the suffering freedmen in the West. The motion was carried. He offered an amendment that the Vice-President be requested to lay the same before the Senate for such action as they might deem necessary.

Colonel Robert Harlan said:

Mr. President, as to the present migration movement of the colored people let it be understood that we have the lawful right to stay or to go wherever we please. The southern country is ours. Our ancestors

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