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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 61.pdf

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OF THE TO THE COLORED MEN OF THE NATION. By the action of your National Conven- tion, hekt in Washington, D C., January lath to 17th, 1869, the undersigned was cre- ated a National Executive Committee, the Acting Board of which are to be located in Washington, D. C. In conformity with the obligations which our position imposes upon us, we shall very closely notice every movement that may ef- fect the rights, already secured to us, or which may effect any right justly ours, that is withheld from us. We shall appeal to the American people, to their Legislatures, State and National; and we design to press earnestly upon this 40th Congress, the ne- cessity as well as the justice, of passing a constitutional amendment, providing for im- partial and uniform suffrage, throughout the entire Union; and we shall endeavor to in- duce State Legislatures, to ratify the same. We design, also, to the extent of our ability, to effect such changes in laws and enactments, in all parts of the country, as shall relieve the colored man from every thing that savors of proscription. We shall endeavor to obtain Congression- al action, for throwing open public lands in the southern States, in such a manner as may enable the freedmen to become p~osessors of homesteads upon the very soil which has yielded abundant harvest to their unrequited labor,to foster and encourage in them that spirit which will impel them to acquire lands, engage in agricultural, mechanical, and commercial pursuits, and in all things so comport themselves as to secure a posi- tion of worth and respectabillity, unassail- able in the eyes of the country and of the world; and to this end we shall appeal to cap- italists and Benevolent Homestead associa- tions to look with favorable consideration upon a people, poor indeed, but landibly struggling to better their condition, and under the influence of a generous philan- thropy, to make to worthy individuals amqng them pecuniary advances, upon such terms as will reasonably compensate them, while enabling the recipients to engage with a hope of success in different branches of industrial enterprise. We shall appeal to the white tradesmen and artisans of thiscountry, to conquer their prejudices so far as to enable colored men to have a fair field for the display of competi- tive industry; and with this end in view to do away with all pledges and obligations that forbid the taking of colored boys as appren- tices to trades or the employment of colored journainen therein. We shall earnestly strive to promote their educational advancement, and to ad- vocate all measures, tending to the diffusion among them of that knowledge which is essential in their capacity, as men,

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