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Proceedings of the first convention of colored men of Kentucky held in Lexington, March the 22d, 23d, 24th and 26th, 1866. With the constitution of the Kentucky State Benevolent Association. Printed by order of the convention.

1866 Kentucky State Convention in Lexington.24.pdf

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duties, new obligations, new responsibilities, and we trust new energies and new purposes. We realize and accept the fact, that, we have no wealth save horny hands, no skill but what untaught nature gives; that we must work, must acquire property, must educate our people, and make for ourselves and our posterity undying characters—reputations which will grow brighter as time with rapid whirl rolls on the ages.

We know the position we occupy in Kentucky; we know that we do not stand upon the same legal platform with the whites: we do not desire nor do we expect social equality; we know that there is a social barrier which we cannot overstep even if we would. We know that some of the best friends we now have, lately held our brothers in bondage, and when the chain was snapped asunder, by no consent on their part—acquiesced in the new order of things.

We have faith in the intelligence and integrity of the great mass of the American People, as well the people of Kentucky as the other states, and are fully persuaded, that they will yet do us justice. We believe that when they have settled down to a realization of the change which does exist in our relations, they will rather help than retard us in our desire and efforts to elevate ourselves.

We see in the earnest endeavor of some of our late largest slaveholders, now foremost in the cause of humanity in efforts for the amelioration of our condition a bright omen, a happy augury of the future.

We do not believe that the great commonwealth of Kentucky can afford to let us live and drag out a miserable existence amongst her people, steeped in ignorance and degradation: we can see in the enactments of the past Legislature even, a faint glimmer of the coming day, and believe firmly that they will grant us ere long our just and natural rights.

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