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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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That the first want of the colored laborer, whether he shall remain at the South, or shall emigrate to the West, is to become a land-holder to his own home.

That, in view of the opportunity to obtain land by homestead from the United States, or purchased on easy terms from individuals in several of the Southern and Western States, the colored farmer who year after year contents himself with hiring his labor, without an effort to obtain land, not only impedes his own material progress, but is a heavy weight upon the uplifting of his race.





We the colored people of the United States of America, in Conference assembled at Nashvile, Tennessee, this 6th day of May, 1879, do declare the first principle of a republican government to be equality of its citizens before the law. and the obligation of the Government to protect all classes of citizens by its law ; that we recognize with profound regret the existence of a race-distinction, having caste and prejudice as its principles, and directed toward the colored people of the country with such force of discrimination as to nullify the Constitution and render the law enacted thereunder inoperative ; that the civil, political and intellectual advancement of our race is thereby seriously impaired, and the life and property of our people are unjustly abused ; therefore,

Be it resolved, That we do hereby form ourselves into a national society, to be duly incorporated under the laws of the United States, and to be called the American Protective Society to Prevent Injustice to the Colored People.

Section 1. The objects of the society shall be : 1. To foster a national union. 2. To protect civil and political rights. 3. To facilitate educational and moral improvement. 4. To encourage the purchase of agricultural land, and the removal thereon from all States where colored people are unjustly treated. 5. To encourage agricultural and business capacity. 6. To improve the sanitary relations among the colored people.

Sec. 2. That this society be duly organized by a majority of the members of this conference enrolling themselves as members thereof, and that the said society be officered by the officers-elect of this and each successive Annual Conference, who shall hold their respective offices for one year, with power to add to their number one vice-president for each State in the Union ; who shall act as an executive committee for the whole, with power to issue certificates of authority to the V ice-President for each State to organize and establish a branch society, under the same name and for the same objects, in any State of the Union-- there being a State executive committee of one from each congressional district ; and who shall have power to fill all vacancies for unexpired terms caused by death, resignation, removal from their State, or inactive service.

Sec. 3. That in Conference assembled the officers present of the executive committee shall form a quorum for any act in committee.

Sec. 4. The President of this society and the Vice-President of any State, in the absence of the executive committee, shall have power to

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