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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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grant us few privileges voluntarily. We must wage continued warfare for our rights, or they will be disregarded and abridged.

Mr. President, we might begin to enumerate the rich results of race unity at sunrise and continue to sunset and half would not be told. In behalf of the people we are here to represent, we ask for some intelligent action of this Conference; some organized movement whereby concerted action may he had by our race all over the land. Let us decide upon some intelligent. united system of operation, and go home and engage the time and talent of our constituents in prosperous labor. We are laboring for race elevation, and race unity is the all-important factor in the work. It must be secured at whatever cost. Individual action, however insignificant, becomes powerful when united and exerted in a common channel. Many thousand years ago, a tiny coral began a reef upon the ocean' s bed. Years passed and others came. Their fortunes were united and the structure grew. Generations came and went, and corals by the million came, lived, and died, each adding his mite to the work, till at last the waters of the grand old ocean broke in ripples around their tireless heads, and now, as the traveler gazes upon the reef, hundreds of miles in extent, he can faintly realize what great results will follow united action. So we must labor, with the full assurance that we will reap our reward indue season. Though deeply submerged by the wave of popular opinion, which deems natural inferiority inseparably associated with a black skin, though weighted down by an accursed prejudice that seeks every opportunity to crush us, still we must labor and despair not---patiently, ceaselessly, and unitedly. The time will come when our heads will rise above the troubled waters. Though generations come and go, the result of our labors will yet be manifest, and an impartial world will accord us that rank among other races which all may aspire to, but only the worthy can win.




A desire among nations to improve, to succeed and to obtain lasting happiness, tranquillity, peace and comfort, is a characteristic of humanity and a predominant spirit wherever civilization holds nntrammeled sway. We are placed in this large and beautiful world, which is so admirably adapted to the attainment of these blessings, to make the best of life, to provide for our happiness and comfort. If we fail to do this we are unworthy the dignity which distinguishes us from the lower animals. The philosophy oh human life, in a few words, therefore is. " Live for something; be something." In this age of progress this requisition can and should not be ( with those who have the true spirit of the age infused in them) optional; it is and must be compulsory; not a physical compulsion that cannot be, as every man is, his own free agent; but a compulsion emanating from the invincible power of a nobler intervening-- the soul, the honor, the pride of man.

What man or race of men possessing these properties could rust out their existence by a failure to improve and better their condition. Such a class of men would be unworthy the name and distinction of men; aye, they would lack the instinct of the lower animals, being lost to every principle of honor and respectability: aliens lo industry; slaves to

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