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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
Mr. Rainey commenced by saying that he hoped the Conference would not be disappointed in what he would say. We may never hold another conference. The same faces will never be mirrored against these walls. It behooves us, then, to do what we can with a purpose ; that we send down to history our action, and, when it is read by the world, that we may not be ashamed of our action. We are a proscribed people, not because we crucified a Saviour, but because we have a different colored skin from others of this country. We have stood a great deal. We never rose and struck for freedom, as in San Domingo. The white people boasted of this, but it is well that we did not. Would they have had us strike down defenseless people, defenseless women and children? We showed our nobleness by not taking advantage of the situation. We want to say to the white people the time has come for us to give warning that we have stood all we can, and in more than one way we will show this soon. We have been enriching the white man, and the time has come when forbearance has ceased to be a virtue. We have come to that point when we doubt the protestations of those who say they are our best friends. Those in this Conference are here for a purpose. It is to be hoped that the proceedings will be read everywhere. It is to be deprecated that there was a necessity for emigration. We have stood too much now, and I would not blame any colored man who would advise his people to flee from the oppressors to the land of freedom. Pledges were made at Vicksburg. They have been made before, and they have always been broken.
A Voice. Yes, and they will always be broken.
The speaker then read a letter from a young friend in South Carolina, giving a melancholy view of the condition of the Negroes in the "Sunny Southland. He concluded by saying: "The people of South Carolina are with you in this movement, and we but await the time when we can join in a general emigration to a land of freedom."
J. J. Bird, of Illinois, made a lengthy speech similar in substance to the one made during the morning session. He devoted his remarks to a denial of any political significance in the resolutions introduced by the Northern delegates. While he was speaking Governor Marks entered the hall and was escorted to a seat near the reporters' table by Governor Pinchback.
G. S. W. Lewis, (addressing J.J. Bird.) Is this protracted discussion on this report designed to prevent the report on emigration from being presented ?
J. J. Bird. It is not my purpose.
W. F. Yardley said the proscription placed on the Negro should be removed. If there were places in the South where he could not vote his sentiments, that was a reason for migration. The shops were closed against him, clerkships could not be obtained, there was no opening for him. If he was a favorite he might get a place
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