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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 35.pdf

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29

Whereas, Five Millions of our race are equally interested with the rest of the American people—and claim Equality of Right in the great principles, upon which this Government founded its political Institution, thereby declaring the natural rights of all men; and whereas, memoralization, is the proper medium of appeal, from political grievances, by the American citizen, to the law-making power, therefore,

Resolved, That this Convention, for the people they represent, do petition Congress to so amend the Constitution, so as to secure to its colored citizens in every State of the Union the right of suffrage.

Resolved, that we refer with just pride, to the fact, that in those States, wherein we have exercised the right of suffrage, there is not an instance, on record, of our abusing it; that we have exhibited intelligent discrimination, and judgment in the use of the ballot, as we have attested brave and loyal devotion to Liberty, Justice, and the Union in the use o f the bullet.

Referred under the rule.

F. G. Barbadoes presented the names of Hon. Charles Sumner, Wm. Loyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and Wm. C. Nell, of Mass., as honorary members, which was received with great applause and they were ordered enrolled.

The question on the report of the National League, was raised again, when Dr. Purvis opposed it in the strongest terms, believing that there should be no colored leagues, but simply leagues of American citizens, irrespective of color.

Mr. Wadkins, of Tennessee, said they had all the privileges of white men, and the name "color" is never heard there. The colored citizens of his State were willing to come North and help their colored friends to get a vote, but they could not vote for a national league formed alone by a colored convention.

Dr. Brown, of Maryland, was opposed to distinctive places in churches, cars, opera houses, steamboat tables, or anywhere else. He claimed that this was a convention of both black and white. The white people force them, he said, to keep to themselves, and he was in favor of forming leagues. He had travelled nearly over the world, and found no nation on earth so prejudiced against color as the American. He wanted to form leagues into which both black and white may be admitted.

Professor Sampson thought that the black men were not safe in the South, so long as they are identified with the disfranchised colored men of the North. This convention had the right to demand of Congress universal suffrage, and he hoped they would not stop until they got it.

He believed that when black men of this country had to suffer, the free whites would have to also. In conclusion, it was for equal privileges to all that they must battle.

Mr. Rourk, of North Carolina, opposed the Equal Rights League, as from experience he knew it to be injurious.

Dr. Brown. How many white men have you known to belong to leagues in the South?

Mr. Rourk said he could vouch for 2,500 in his State.

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