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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 37.pdf

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31 privilege under a republican form of government, notwithstanding all contrary facts that may have been created in an antagonistic pro-slavery interest; therefore Be it resolved, That it is our conviction that Congress may secure every citizen of the United States in the right to vote; but inasmuch as it has not assumed to do so, in conse- quence of the nil-controlling influence which slavery has had over its legislation in the past, and if it will not, that we ask for an amendment to the Constitution, so as to put the matter beyond all cavil, so that citizens may not be proscribed in the exercise of their rights, because of their race, color, or condition. WHzRzAs in the economical arrangement of the Government of our country, the sover- eignty is placed in the people through the ballot; and whereas the legally elected members of the Georgia Legislature have been expelled therefrom simply on the ground of color, thereby annulling their power and the sovereignty of their will; Resolved, That the action of the said Georgia Legislature in expelling therefrom the colored members of that body, is repugnant to the laws of the United States and of that State, inconsistent with the acts reconstructing the late rebel States, and subversive of all the rights, privileges and immunities guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the Uni- ted States, and of that State; and we most respectfully urge upon Congress the necessity of some fnrther legislation, that this outrage upon the colored citizens of Georgia may be redressed, and their just rights restored. WILEREAS under the present condition of affairs in Kentucky, the colored citizens of that State are totally deprived., in the interior of the State, of the protection intended to be given them by the civil rights bill; and, whereas, in our opinion, this condition could be remedied by placing the Federal courts within the reach of those to be benefited by that bill; therefore Resolved, That the committee already appointed to confer with the Judiciary Committee of Congress, do represent to said committee this condition, and solicit them to report a bill increasing the circuits of Federal courts in that State. Resolved, That we respectfully petition Congress to strike out from the naturalization laws the word white, in accordance with the bill already before the United States Senate. Resolved, That the Convention hereby respectfully requests of Congress the passage of an act providing that in the payment of bounties to colored soldiers, no distinction on ac- count of former condition shall be made, but those borne upon the muster-rolls as slaves, shall receive the same bounties allowed to other soldiers for the same period and term of service. Also, a resolution recommending the colored people to establish manual labor schools, and cordially endoising the Tennessee Manual Labor Union, and sim- ilar institutions. Mr. Downing made a few remarks in support of the adoption of the report, and made an explanation of tha resolution relating to bounties. On motion, the Convention then adjourned to meet at nine oclock to-morrow morning.

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