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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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as street-scavenger, or in a hotel to polish bones. [Laughter,] He did not believe in the popular delusion of forty acres and a mule. He knew that in any new country hard work would be necessary, but they would be free. It was not so bad in Tennessee as it was in other States, but there was oppression here. He wanted his children to stand higher than he did, to be skilled mechanics or professional men, but where was the opening in Tennessee? [A Voice. "Ain' t got none," and laughter.] But they must learn to respect each other. He then moved the previous question, when a tremendous confusion ensued, and a general demand forced the withdrawal of the motion.
Richard Allen, of Texas, rose, but yielded to ex-Congressman J.T. Rapier, of Alabama, who moved the previous question on the adoption of the report.
After a good deal of random disputing the motion for the previous question was carried.
J. D. Kennedy, of Louisiana, said that migration was not caused by low wages or the high price of land. If the people could be allowed to remain unmolested there would be no cry of migration to Kansas. There were many millions of acres uncultivated land in the South. He had hoped great things from the Vicksburg Conference, but it had adopted only a series of glittering generalities—the same old story. He did not believe that going to Kansas would better the colored race. He did not believe in any hasty exodus. He believed in migration, but he did not believe they should go without means to pay their passage and to buy homes. But to those who had gone, he would say, never; return. Better perish in Kansas than come back, for a return would make things ten times worse than it was before. He did not think this was the last Conference. They could find the money to come. It was this uneasiness among the Negroes that would make the white men of the South know that something was the matter.
The only fault in the report was the gingerly use of words where the General Government was concerned.
He thought the thanks of the Conference were due to the people of Nashville for their courteous treatment of the delegates. They had been uniformly kind. They should also thank the American for its able and correct reports of the proceedings.
W. H. Bentley, of Georgia, did not think the report full enough. J.W. James, of Indiana, said that he once thought that ex-Governor Pinchback had deserted the Negro, but he was glad to. find that he was mistaken. He indorsed every word that Pinchback had said. He denounced the statement in the American that the Northern Negroes came to encourage migration. He had left Tennessee for the far West because he could not get his rights. He was for migration unless the Negro could get his rights where he was.
Rev. Allan, Allensworth, of Kentucky, said he wanted to call
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