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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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laziness and ignorance; obstacles to society, and impediments to civilization. To escape and prevent this disreputable estimate we, as representatives of our race, are here assembled. We have deep-rooted in us the demands and requisitions of this age. We desire to improve ; we desire to play a respectable and honorable part in the great drama of life. We feel, know, and are confident that we have the sensibilities to merit and claim this standing as a race. What we need is the determination and resolution to develop these susceptibilities, and claim a recognition commensurate with them.

We occupy a peculiar and rather complicated position in this country—a position which most seriously engages our attention, and materially affects our prosperity and advancement. Being endowed with the blessings of freedom and clothed in the distinction of citizenship, we can but feel interested in an attempt to improve our condition and make an effort to pry into the mystic future, to see what lies therein that will redound to our good. It is unquestionably necessary and fitting that we have this national deliberation upon the problem of our future status in this country. Our situation demands it; the drift of a rightly-inclined, philanthropic public sentiment demands it ; that invincible spirit implanted in the heart of man, which prompts him to elevate himself to a standard of usefulness, honor and respectability, demands it; all those sacred ties and chords of affection which binds us with love and devotion for our race demands it ; this, the age of progress, demands it. Since the demand is so pressing in its nature and so urgent a necessity, let us resolve to do whatever we can to uplift our people from the lamentable surroundings of the present, and endeavor to ameliorate their condition.


God has made of one blood all nations of the earth—one man of His creation is the common father of us all. If any difference exists affecting the rights and dignity of humanity, He disavows the distinction. We are all alike descended from Adam and Noah, in the same line, the same unbroken succession of posterity. We are the children of the same father. One God has made us all. Our composition and physiology, our aptitudes and inclinations are the same. These facts are true and cannot be refuted. All mankind are, and must, therefore, be brothers.

But, alas! this is, most unfortunately, far from being the situation of humanity, and most especially as applied to our race. Can any legible or humane reason be assigned why the dignity of this part of God's creation is placed in such a pitiable dilemma, and caused to stand alone as a separate and distinct people? In equity, justice and fairness none can be assigned save the ignoble, dishonorable and inhuman distinction based upon difference in color. Shame upon the boasted grandeur of American refinement and civilization that this simple difference of color should draw the line of demarcation between the populace of this great Republic, in violation to every principle of honor and justice, and in utter contradistinction to the doctrines of that sacred charter and hallowed scroll which once redressed the wrongs of this country, promulgating and declaring that no distinction should exist between humanity. Mark the language:

"All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights."

Should the rights promised by the great Declaration be violated and sacrificed to the trivial difference of color? Should this be a government of one, two or three colors and classes, or should it be a government of all colors and classes, of "all men," as declared by its founders? Much to be lamented is it that this Government, dedicated to human rights, should countenance an infringement upon the sacred charter of its

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