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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the State Convention of Colored Men of the State of Tennessee, :with the addresses of the convention to the white loyal citizens of Tennessee, and the colored citizens of Tennessee. : Held at Nashville, Tenn., August 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th, 1865.
1865-NASHVILLE TN-STATE CONVENTION OF THE COLORED MEN OF TENNESSEE.11.pdf
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order? Does it not make ungrateful return to the 158,270 colored men who have, according to the last official report of Secretary Stanton,16 been mustered in as soldier of the United States army, to say nothing of the sailors in the navy, and the thousands of Government employees. Secretary Stanton says that the colored troops formed one-fifth of the immense military force in the United States. I ask, can a loyal people deny the brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters, wives and daughters and sons of these men, and the men themselves, the privilege of testifying to outrages committed upon them by traitors and outlaws [illegible] they cannot. A loyal people will not. They will tear themselves from old prejudices; they will spurn the counsels of the haters of Federal Government, and rising to the exaltation of right, they still extend to the colored man that which their own interest dictates, humanity approves and God demands.
Thirty-three thousand one hundred and thirty-three colored men have fallen in this struggle for Union. From the ground their blood crieth, Who testified against the would-be assassin of W.H. Seward? Who put the pursuers on the track of Booth, the assassin? Who gave indications of the road which Jeff. Davis took to escape? Who informed Union Generals of the course, strategy, and plans of rebel Generals. Let the testimony of the Generals of the army suffice. They say colored men did it.
We ask the loyal white men of Tennessee to do what their fathers did when we ask them to give us our vote. We ask nothing more than what our ability and importance in the State demand, of that they may be judges, pro-vided they judge us by the same rules that white men are judged.
We are daily increasing in knowledge, wealth and influence. Our friends seem to rise up as if by magic--not because we are the most worthy of love, but because is justice is revered, and the United States, comprehending her mission, will not be pampered by predjudices, but strike out unfettered and in-trammelled into that great path where the eternal smiles and the world casts her longing eyes. [Here an elaborate argument was made in favor of negro suffrage, for which the speaker gives credit to prominent leaders in the Republican party.]
Some talk of the colored man being supplanted by the emigrant of Europe as a laborer. How absurd? Will the emigrant pick up the hoe and plow when the black man drops it, for a few cents a day, when he can go to the great West and get a homestead for a mere nominal sum (not more than it would cost him to come South), and there enjoy a climate like that to which he has been accustomed, besides his independence as a man? No, never, never!
I am full of faith to-day. Faith, not in Mr. Campbell's supporters and the like, but faith in the President of the United States, faith in Gov. Brownlow, faith in the loyal men of Tennessee, faith in God--faith to believe that he is with us.
A report from the Committee on Business was then received.
A resolution was then introduced that each county report on their return, one name, as a committee, to act in conjunction with the State Committee. Other business of desultory character was performed, and the Convention ad-journed till 10 A.M., on Thursday.
The convention met. The President in the Chair. After Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Tremble, the minutes were read and approved.
The business was disposed of rapidly during the session.
Among the resolutions introduced and adopted were the following:
By Mr. J. R. Gentel, of Knox county.
Whereas, The colored citizens in many of the remote counties of this State, do not receive just compensation for their labor, and are otherwise badly treated by the disloyal whites. Therefore,
Resolution, That each county delegation, of this Convention, constitute a committee, to look after the interests of our people throughout the State, and
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