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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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because these States were under Republican rule, and they left Alabama, Georgia, and other Southern States because they were under Southern Democratic rule. Surely, if they left those States because of the evils in operation against them there, it is but natural that they should leave Mississippi and Louisiana, for they are experiencing the same there. There are no other Southern States for them to go to, consequently they will take Horace Greeley's advice, and go West.
For these and many other reasons which your committee could adduce, if time and space permitted, your committee is clearly of the opinion that the migration of the Southern colored people to Kansas and other Northern States is not for the purpose of irritating the North against the South.
THIRD.—What are the remedies to be pursued to stop the movement ? Would the colored people accept concessions if made to them ; and if so, of what nature?
This proposition, like the first one, is of such moment that your committee could not find time or space at this time to enter into an extended argument on this subject.
There is no desire on the part of the colored people of the South to deny the fact that they are thoroughly attached to their homes in the South, and would prefer remaining there than going anywhere else on earth. Indeed, so great is their love for the South that no ordinary consideration would induce them to abandon it. This declaration is amply proven by the fact that, although their former masters went into the rebellion to continue and strengthen their system of slavery, the slaves remained quietly at home and tilled the soil and cared for the families of the absent Confederate soldiers. When they were called into the service of the United States as soldiers, they served; but when they were discharged they returned to their former plantations, even as the Confederate soldier returned to his home. When Abraham Lincoln proclaimed them free, they did not abandon their homes, except in some instances to follow the American flag as a protection to them in their newfound freedom; and here they have attempted to stay, under all manner of iniquities, outrages and wrong; but as these were perpetrated on him during the time that Republican laws were in the ascendency, he stayed, hoping in the final triumph of right over might. But to-day all this is changed. The Democracy rule; their promises to the colored people have not been kept; legislation, capital and one class of people are against them; he has been subjected to greater outrages under Democratic rule than ever before under Republican rule; and even now their rights are further threatened.
There must be no uncertain powerful public sentiment in the country at large, and a returning sense of justice in the disturbed localities. To start with this course will be to suggest and apply correctives to the abuses which have brought about this migration, and the dominant class, convinced not only of the wickedness but the folly of their proscription may so enforce the law as to secure to all citizens the enjoyment, practically, equality of rights.
In this event the migration would be undoubtedly checked, and even if it was persevered in, but comparatively few would avail themselves of this dernier resort. However, it cannot successfully be denied that proscription and outrage against the colored people have obtained In certain localities to such an extent as to breed profound discontent and prevalent restlessness in many communities, and which must be absolutely and unmistakably allayed in order to estop this flight of the colored people out from their modern Egypt.
We affirm that only by the equal justice of laws grouping together the common interests of all her citizens, regardless of race or parties; the
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