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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 19.pdf

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Whereas, The association known as the National Equal Rights League, has ceased to be an active institution; and whereas, we believe that a society, of that kind, is much needed to forward the great cause of the disfranchised American citizens, and as the above-named institutions have been the means of moulding and bringing about a politica reform in public sentiment—

Resolved, That we, the representatives of the colored citizens of the United States of America, in convention assembled, do hereby organize ourselves into an institution, to be known under the style and title of the National Equal Rights League of the United States of America.

Mr. John F. Cook, of D. C., moved their reception and reference.

Carried, and referred to a committee, as follows:

W. D. Foster, of Pennsylvania; G. L. Mabson, of North Carolina; Henry Thomas, of Ohio; A. W. Handy, of Maryland; J, M. Williams, of New Jersey; Lewis Linzey, of Virginia; William Jones, of Delaware; L. S. Berry, of Alabama, and J. Spellman, of New York.

On motion, the names of William Rich of New York, and Edward V. Clark of Virginia, were placed upon the Roll of Credentials.

On motion of Mr. Purvis, Mr. Edward M. Davis, of Philadelphia, was elected an Honorary member.

Mr. Bowers, of Pennsylvania, submitted the following:

Resolved, That George T. Downing, John F. Cook, George B. Vashon, and Carter A. Stewart, be appointed as a committee to act as representatives of the views of the convention during the remaining portion of the session of the Fortieth Congress, urging such matters as they may deem proper, favoring this Convention.

Referred to the Business Committee.

On motion, J. H. Keffer, of Alabama, was added to the list of Delegates.

Mr. A. M. Powell, Editor of the Anti-Slavery Standard, was introduced, and entertained the audience for some time upon the best method of getting the suffrage question before Congress.

The President of the Convention presented the following letter which had been received from Bishop D. A. Payne, of Ohio, which was read by the Secretary, and ordered printed with the minutes:

To the National Convention of Colored Citizens of the United States, at Washington, Assembled.

MR. PRESIDENT, MEN, BRETHREN, AND FATHERS:—The numerous duties of my double office, with repeated and prolonged absence from home during the past autumn, prevent my presence among you now, and therefore, I beg permission to be heard by letter.

Perhaps at no period of our history, was it so needful that the voice of Colored Americans be heard addressing the State and National Legislatures, and counselling one another as at the present time. In all the reconstructed States, we are enjoying the rights and immunities of American citizens, excepting Georgia, whose mobocratic Legislature, by a vote, violative of every principle of moral, natural and political law, ruled out every one of its colored members, but such as might be mistaken for white men. In no portion of the Southern States where the whites are in a majority, is the life of a colored person safe, unless he, or she exhibits, both in word and deed, the spirit of a slave. In all the

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