- 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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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the Colored national convention, held in Rochester, July 6th, 7th, and 8th, 1853.
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bondage, as well as this Convention assembled for the good of the whole race, to do shall they sleep till the good time coming? No! While one being, made in the image of God, is held a slave, Can human beings be doomed to perpetual bondage? Can human patience endure everything We have just read of a plot of 2,500 slaves for insurrection being discovered. Think you they feel not the heavy load 2 Think you their souls are ravished with joy to see their children or their wives torn from their embrace to see their homes deserted, their daughters and wives insulted, and compelled to propagate a mixed race? This is beyond human endurance ; and the slaves will rise, or in a more shrewd and cautious course will quietly submit till they form some cool policy of poisoning the whole family of masters in a day, and take possession of the State government select their Senators and Congressmen and there having peaceable and quiet possession of the country, Wil demand their representatives to be heard.
From such consequences may we be spared. Perhaps I am too timid ; but I cannot but dread three millions of foes, goaded to desperation by a sense of their wrongs. But in this matter you, as the free citizens of this despotic Republic, can act a great and glorious part. Let wisdom and discretion in all your councils prevail if you will suffer me to make these remarks. Let brotherly feeling and Christian charity characterize all your acts; and as knowledge is power, I should regard it part of the business of your Convention (if you will allow me to say it) to try to elevate the free people of color throughout the world—to inspire them with a strong feeling of self-respect and self-dependence. As a means to this end, I would recommend a general system of education, sound and practical; and if there could be a book written upon the science of government, adapted to the use of common schools, got up similar to books of Chemistry, Philosophy, Geography or Rhetoric with questions on the margin of each leaf it would be of inestimable service Our forefathers formed this government on the principle that the people know best what they want. But, in practice, we find that party strings and factions, and slave-dealers, dictate what kind of men shall be candidates, and the people feel very proud that they are at liberty to go and vote for them.—The great trouble is, the white people, the voters, as well as the colored, in a great majority of cases, have no correct knowledge of the science of government, and never will have, in my opinion, till this science is studied in common schools. Hence we see that in our great political campaigns there is more fuss made at a raccoon skin,” a barrel of hard cider,” a filthy or a blackguard speech, or vulgar expression, than at the matters of consequence to the nation.
I hope you will excuse the length of this letter, as I intended to say but a few words—but the subject seems inexhaustible. It is my desire to see the colored people, and all races of people, enjoy their rights; for "God created of one blood all nations to dwell upon all the face of the earth;" and what is more contemptible than for people to boast of their race, or quarrel with another people because of a different race. We have questions enough of a personal nature, of a private nature, of self-interest, of public good, to support
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