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Proceedings of the National Convention of the Colored Men of America: held in Washington, D.C., on January 13, 14, 15, and 16, 1869.

1869 National Convention in Washington DC 7.pdf

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Jan. 13th, 1869.

The Convention assembled at 12 o'clock Noon, in Union League Hall, and was called to order by William Nesbit, Esq., of Pennsylvania, who read the following


To the Colored men of the United States.

BRETHREN: On the 4th and 5th of August, 1868, a Convention of Delegates from the "Border States" was held at Baltimore, Md. To that Convention, Delegates from other States were invited and attended. The States thus represented were Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania.

After mature deliberation and wide correspondence, the members of the "Border State Convention" voted unanimously to issue a call for a Convention of the Colored men of the Nation, to be held in the City of Washington, D. C., at 12 o'clock, M., on the second Wednesday, 13th day of January, 1869.

The partial or total exclusion of colored citizens from the exercise of the elective franchise and other citizen rights, in so many States of the Union, especially demands, and ought to receive, the continued consideration of every colored man, and of the Congress of the nation. Surely, the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, recently adopted, does not justify such exclusion. Surely, citizenship, as declared by that amendment, carries with it the rights of citizens; and the evident duty of a liberty-loving and a loyal Congress is to see that a Republican form of government is guaranteed to every State. That is not guaranteed while any State is permitted to withhold from citizens, on account of color merely, the rights of citizens.

Whatever other subjects you may deem of sufficent importance to bring before the National Convention, this exclusion, brethren, is the all-absorbing question of the present, and must call forth our earnest action, by petition, by personal

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