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Proceedings of the Convention of the Equal Rights and Educational Association of Georgia : assembled at Macon, October 29th, 1866 : containing the annual address of the president, Captain J.E. Bryant

1866 Macon GA State Convention.8.pdf

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have been severely punished ia accorJance with the Ltws of the State, and, if he bad been killed, the verdict of the entire community woulJ have been, 'served him ri;.>;bt.' I knew that laws and cu to:ns as old as these, which the people were forced to give up against their will, must leave a prejudice, and ba ·d to overcome; I knew that, if I accepted thiR position, I should be ast.rocized fnr years from the society of most white citizens of this State, and I knew that I risked even life itself, neverthclsss I did not, for a moment, hesitate. What is life ! We have but a few years to live, and be who does most good, accomplishes most. It is pleasant to enjoy the advantages of good society; it is pleasant t'1 die a natural death, for die we all must, but that man is a coward who fails to do good, because there are dangers in the way; he is unfit to live, if qe will fail to do good, because, perchance, he may be deprived of some of the pleasures of society.


The great work, in my jud gment: which fi:qt presented itself to me, was to organize Suboruiuate Associations throughout the State as rapidly as posRible, and establish, upon a permanent basis, the organ of your Association, the Loyal Gwrgian. Indeed, ttat bas beeu the great work of the past year. I have found much difficulty in establishing Subordinate Associa­ tions in the diff.:Jrcnt counties. When you were slaves, you had no leaders, no smart men, or, more properlv, your smart men were not permitted to become your le::1ders. The laws prevented you frum securing an education. You could not become aquainted with each other through the public press, or by letter, as free per>i@S can, and as you now may. Indeed, I found that, outside of the eities and large tl'Jwns, th colored pePplc knew nothing of each other, except in the JJeighborhood in which they lin•d. It was necessary that I should find out who could r':ad ilDd write, and also who were most respected among you. For the rc:>"scns given, it bas been a difficult task; nevertheless I have succerclcrl i,11 d2seovenng some of these men in fifty counties, and Associatir,n s have ':ieen crganized in those counties. rhe ConstitPtion pro,·ides that each mem !Jer sbali pay an initiation fee of one' dollar, \;;)..1ich is to bcscut by each Subcrdim:tc Association to the President of the Slate /H;s·- ciation. Very few Subonlinatc Associations luive done this. I been informed that in some counties the mon ey has hen rni ed and given to tLe Vice President of the county, v, ho b s tailed 10 forwarcl it, aid that, in other counties, the Vice President has foiled to furwarcl all that L •s been entrusted to his care. I desire that, if you are pcpared to prove such chargts, you will n 1t fail to report t li (;m at tLis time, for 1 c:c ire to apr·omt a committee to investigate all cbar::es of tl." is himl. If any ofricer of this Asseeiation has been dishonest, lrn should be expelled from -Office and denou n ced, \V C have  :l great Work 1 ar.d OnG

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