- A Brief Introduction to the Movement
- To Stay or To Go?: The National Emigration Convention of 1854
- The 1853 Manual Labor College Initiative
- Bishop Henry McNeal Turner
- Mobility, Migration, and the 1855 Philadelphia National Convention
- Henry Highland Garnet's "Address"
- What Did They Eat? Where Did They Stay?
- Black Wealth and the 1843 Convention
- Black Women's Economic Power
- The First National Convention
- The "Conventions" of the Conventions: Political Rituals
- A National Press? The 1847 National Convention and the North Star
- Equality Before the Law: California Black Convention Activism, 1855-65
- Conflict on the Ohio: The 1858 Convention in Cincinnati
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Proceedings of the Colored national convention, held in Rochester, July 6th, 7th, and 8th, 1853.
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incapacity is regarded, fall upon us, and that too, when we have had no means of disproving the injurious opinion of our natural inferiority. I have, during the last dozen years, denied, before the Americans, that we are an inferior race. But this has been done by arguments, based upon admitted principles, rather than by the presentation of facts. Now, firmly believing, as I do, that there are skill, invention, power, industry, and real mechanical genius among the colored people, which will bear favorable testimony for them, and which only need the means to develop them, I am decidedly in favor of the establishment of such a college as I have mentioned. The benefits of such an institution would not be confined to the Northern States, nor to the free colored people: they would extend over the whole Union. The slave, not less than the freeman, would be benefitted by such an institution. It must be confessed that the most powerful argument, now used by the Southern slaveholder and the one most soothing to his conscience is, that derived from the low condition of the free colored people at the North. I have long felt that too little attention has been given, by our truest friends, in this country, to removing this stumbling block out of the way of the slaves liberation.
The most telling, the most killing refutation of slavery, is the presentation of an industrious, enterprising, upright, thrifty and intelligent free black population. Such a population, I believe, would rise in the Northern States, under the fostering care of such a College as that supposed.
To show that we are capable of becoming mechanics, I might adduce any amount of testimony; but dear Madam, I need not ring the changes on such a proposition. There is no question in the mind of any unprejudiced person, that the negro is capable of making a good mechanic. Indeed, even those who cherish the bitterest feelings towards us have admitted that the apprehension that negroes might be employed in their stead, dictated the policy of excluding them from trades altogether; but I will not dwell upon this point, as I fear I have already trespassed too long upon your precious time, and written more than I ought to expect you to read. Allow me to say, in conclusion, hat? I believe every intelligent colored man in America will approve and rejoice at the establishment of some such institution as that now suggested. There are many respectable colored men, fathers of large families, having boys nearly grown up, whose minds are tossed by day and by night, with the anxious enquiry, what shall I do with my boys? Such an institution would meet the wants of such persons. Then, to, the establishment of such an institution would be in character with the eminently practical philanthropy of your transatlantic friends. America could scarcely object to it, as an attempt to agitate the public mind on the subject of slavery, or to "dissolve the Union.” It could not be tortured into a cause for hard words by the American people; but the noble and good of all classes would see in the effort an excellent motive, a benevolent object, temperately, wisely, and practically manifested.
Wishing you, dear Madam, renewed health, a pleasant passage and safe return to your native land,
I am, most truly, your grateful friend,
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