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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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5

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, bitt.er 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.

SVIlORDINATE ASSOCIATIONS.

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 hn.ve 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 undert0.hn  :l great Work 1 ar.d OnG

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