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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 10.pdf

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was the most auspicious time for such an assembling of the disfranchised and newly emancipated citizens of the United States.

He referred to the advanced state of public opinion on the question of equality before the law, and with thrilling eloquence recounted the patience and perseverance that marked our whole history in this country.

He hoped the action of this body would be equal to the emergency under which we have assembled. Mr. Garnett spoke at great length and was frequently applauded.

Mr. Frederick Douglass, of New York, was loudly called for and proceeded to address the meeting in a most eloquent manner.

In response to a grand sentiment uttered by him, regarding the union of our people and the brotherhood of the human family; Mr. Downing suggested that the entire Convention rise to their feet, which they did, and gave several hearty rounds of applause. Mr. Douglass continued at some length to electrify the assembly with that convincing and logical eloquence in the production of facts and arguments, for which he is so justly celebrated, and closed amid a tumult of applause, which could not have been excelled by that thrill of enthusiasm that followed Patrick Henry's heroic exclamation "give me liberty, or give me death."

Mr. John M. Langston of Ohio followed Mr. Douglass, after Mr. Weir of Pennsylvania, who was called for, had declined, at that time, to speak. Mr. Langston ably vindicated the cause of justice and humanity, which we at this time represent. He referred t the odious featurers of the Northern States, which disfranchised the colored man, and argued that our duty was to correct public opinion, rather than to demand, or appeal to Congress; for both Congress and the President elect, he believed would be found willing and anxious to obey the will of the people.

He spoke of his early accquaintance with Mr. Douglass, and of the heated contest kept up from that time, until the fetters were broken from four millions of our oppressed brethern.

Mr. Langston spoke at length upon the several views already advanced with regard to the object of the present Convention.

He argued the question of suffrage, from a legal stand-point, and severely criticised the unjust features of the constitutional amendment, which virtually endorsed the wickedness of those States which disfranchised a large part of their citizens.

Mr. I. C. Weir of Pennsylvania followed Mr. Langston. He argued that the most fearful question we had now, or could ever have to contend with, was this only half subdued, and unreasonable doctrine of State Rights or State Sovereignties. He reviewed the rise, and progress of this doctrine, till it dared to grapple in a hand to hand struggle with the Government for supremacy.

He referred, with great ability and logical reasoning, to the impossibility of

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