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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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strength of the united energies, minds and sinews of her whole people; the experience and maturity of the intellect and wisdom of her true sons; and the willing, eager thirst after protection in all their rights here at home, by her unfortunate colored citizen—freedom from persecution, violence and bloodshed--by only these just results can a remedy be found which will surely induce these people to remain.
Fourth.—Have colored people pursued the wisest course by migrating?
Your committee simply answer this question by referring to the history of those who have in the past left their homes, firesides and fortunes, and sought perfect freedom from persecution, proscription and might triumphing over right, and gone forth among strangers, in strange lands, seeking for that which they were denied at home.
Fifth.—Question. How is the movement likely to attract the two political parties in the next canvass, both State and national?
Answer. The political effect of this migration is afar off, and in our opinion, considerably removed from the next campaign. If, under the existing state of affairs, they all stay, the South is hopelessly Democratic, although there are more Republicans in the Southern States than Democrats. If they are compelled to leave—why, the Southern States are Democratic still. So much for the State. Nationally it will be some time before the Southern States would be made to feel the loss of her colored voters, probably not until after the next United States census is taken, when each Southern State may find herself minus one or more Congressmen, and this loss added to the representation of some Northern State.
But the Negro of the South does not desire to predicate his right to free suffrage on the score of controlling the offices in the gift of his party alone: he believes that his duty as a voter is that he may assist in perpetuating this Union against those who may, in the future, attempt, as they did in the past, to destroy it, or even separate it. The Negro voter of the South believes, and takes pride in that belief, that their votes are necessary to support, sustain and perpetuate the great principles of the Republican party, and further the scheme of universal suffrage, a united country and a prosperous, happy future for all their citizens, irrespective of race, color, nationality or party.
In the South especially has the Negro been led to believe that his vote was necessary to keep the Southern States within the Union, and to assist in reorganizing these States in keeping with the Constitution of our land. How well he has performed his duty, with what fidelity and faithfulness, and at what sacrifices he has carried his sacred responsibilities, need not be repeated here.
What the Negro voter of the South demands politically is not the mere vote. What he demands is that it shall be as safe to deposit a colored republican vote in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi or Louisiana, as it is to cast a while Republican vote in New York, Pennsylvania or Massachusetts. He demands that Republicanism in the South, whether successful or otherwise, shall be as safe and free from terrorism as it is in the North. Nothing short of this will satisfy the colored voter of the South, and if he cannot enjoy these natural privileges in tlie South, he will be pretty apt to seek some other place within the United States where he can exercise them without fear or hindrance.
Question. Any other remarks or observations that may occur to you?
Answer. We have already said so much on the subject that it is hardly necessary for us to add any more in the shape of remarks or observations.
The colored people, by their involuntary pilgrimage hence for some spot in this country where they can live as freemen, free to vote and act
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