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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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expense necessary to attend a conference with us. But I am glad the proposition was abandoned, and that our Northern brethren were invited and are here today to aid us in our deliberations. I am glad to welcome among us such a man as Mr. Wm. Still, of Philadelphia, whose learning, high moral character and devotion to the interests of his race command for his utterances respectful attention throughout the country. I know far better than the gentleman from Kentucky the condition of the colored people in the North. They were not freed until the shackles were struck off their Sonthern brethren. [Applause.] The opponents of the Conference predicted that it, like all colored conventions, would amount to nothing, except to furnish an opportunity to a number of brainless blatherskites to rise to " pints" of order, privilege questions, questions of information and the like, but I am glad to know that it will be productive of good, although we have a few of that class here who insist upon interrupting our proceedings. The eloquent, moderate and manly speech of our worthy president has done much for the success of our Conference. It has drawn from the Nashville American- a paper not very friendly to us the admission that there is intelligence, moderation, and frankness and safe leadership among us. Let us demonstrate this fact by listening to such men as Lynch, Rainey and others, and not take up the time of this body with points of order.
The speaker then rapidly reviewed the causes which led to the formation of the Republican party and the liberation of the colored man. He contrasted the time when the colored men were slaves, and now when they were sitting in conference in the proud capital of a Southern State. The colored man was the favored child of the nation, and the time had now arrived when public opinion had said, You have done enough for him. "Emancipated and enfranchised, with every means possessed by the white man for his protection, the country expects us to protect ourselves. Our wives and daughters are as dear to us, and our homes as sacred as those of the white man, and we must defend and protect them precisely as the white man does.
"Now, Mr. Reporter," said Governor Pinchback, "don't put me down as an incendiary and exciting my people to violence. I am only advising them to do just what you would do, or any other white man when struck, to strike back. For I will tell these people they may go to Kansas or elsewhere, and if they act there as they do here, they will not escape persecution. Races, like individuals, must protect themselves. If you will show me a man that will let everybody hit and kick him about, I will show you a man that everybody is kicking; and the same is true of races. It has been circulated all over Nashville that I came here to oppose emigration, and to commit this Conference against it. This is not so. I am one of those who believe it to be the duty of every man aspiring to leadership in a crisis like this to tell the people what he regards as the truth. He who follows in the wake of the multitude is not fit for leadership. I know it is sweet to have the popular applause, and I love it as dear as any other man, but I trust I shall never obtain it at the sacrifice of duty. I am not opposed to systematic emigration. If you can sell your property for anything like its value—not sacrifice or give it away—and go with sufficient to establish yourselves in your new homes, I say go, but I am not in favor of indiscriminate emigration. "To mislead the ignorant masses at a time like this, when such grave consequences are involved, I think will be not only a mistake but a crime."
A passing reference was made by the speaker to the Jews, who, a few years ago, did not own a foot of land in Europe. Now one of that despised race was the Premier of England, and the Rothschilds hold the key of the money treasures of Europe.
The deplorable condition of Ireland a few years ago, was also given a
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