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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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we hope to obtain the recognition for which we are striving, it must be through associated action. As long as a multiplicity of opinion is adhered to; as long as there is a variance between those who aspire to lead and the followers; as long as a division is in the ranks, we will hear the thunders of retrogression roaring around us, and the curse of inferiority hurled at us, and we will make no progress, but remain just where we are now. Let us endeavor to remedy this evil. The real and best interests of the people should be discussed and agreed upon; the medium through which a most speedy and beneficial change can be effected, adopted by all; then let leader and follower, in unbroken column, resolve to remain united, and not be so easily led off by every wind and doctrine. Thus shall we make a grand advance toward our elevation and establish a precedent which will do us good for all time to come.


We have a great mission to perform, and its accomplishment can only be creditably attained through determination, perseverance and labor, for without these we can accomplish nothing. The eyes of the world are upon us, scrutinizingly watching the record and history which we are making for ourselves. No one unbiased by prejudice can reasonably doubt that we have the susceptibilies and capacities sufficient to enable us to make a history worthy of respect and admiration of all men and nations. What we need is unceasing and untiring labor to develop these faculties. This cannot fail to harbinger success, and redound to our lasting good. Though at present our future seems dark and gloomy, fears encompass us, let us not become weary and discouraged, let us endeavor to imbibe renewed vigor and increased inspiration from our unwholesome surrounding and complex situation. It is said that tlie darkest hour is just before dawn; if so let us strive to realize the fact that the present period of our history is about the gloomiest of our experience, and endeavor to fit ourselves for the dawn of a better and brighter day; but while we hope and long for this change, let us ever remember and never lose sight of the fact, that we are the prime agents in the work. It is our destiny that we are framing, and we must assume the conspicuous part in the drama. Let us, however, feel that we are not alone in this great struggle; we have honest, earnest friends to aid us, if we but help ourselves; beneficent heaven smiles above us and will rear up friends to our cause; considerate, just, and philanthropic humanity, regardless of geographical lines and State boundaries, from the South as well as the North, will meet us and extend to us a helping hand. Animated and cheered by this, let us toil on until a change is effected, and the opposing forces which now retard our advancement shall no "longer lie in cold obstruction" across our pathway. Let us ever keep in view and properly estimate the efficacy of that most potent and indispensable element, "Labor;" let us ever direct the attention of our people to it. and impress upon them the necessity of their paying due attention to it.

To the education of our people, let us consecrate and dedicate the hours of our existence, realizing the fact that liberty, freedom. and happiness have not other bulwark for their enjoyment and perpetuity but in education. In proportion to the love you bear for your race; in proportion to the ardor with which you long to see them elevated to a higher and more commanding standard of refinement, honor, and respectability; by how much you desire to see them adequately qualified to move on with the enlightened of this progressive age, by so much will you endeavor, wherever you are, wherever fate assigns you by all the means in your power, to furnish them with those truly fundamental and cardinal elements, education, christianity, morality and virtue. Let education have our first and fondest care; religion then, one of civilization' s chief and

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