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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.10.pdf

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in Him, we should never cease our efforts, as long as any plan presents itself that is considered feasible.

When this Association was organized, I thought that it could and would easily support the paper. I knew that the object, and the only object in view, was to improve the condition of the colored citizens, and thus advance the interest of the State and Nation. I therefore felt that every colored man in the Georgia would, as soon as he learned our object, assist us. I have been disappointed. Before our Association was organized, there were societies in several cities in the State known as Union Leagues. Delegates were present, I believe, from all of these Leagues except the Savannah League. Unfortunately that society was not represented, and, for reasons which it is unnecessary to mention, its members have been unwilling to unite with us. For this reason, mainly, we have received but little assistance from Savannah. There are in this State about five hundred thousand colored persons, and at least 100,000 men who are old enough to join the Association. As the initiation fee is one dollar, if one in ten should join and pay the initiation fee, $10,000 would be raised. Thus the paper could be easily supported, even if nothing was received from subscriptions to it, or from advertisements. But for the reasons given above, and because most of the Vice Presidents have failed to send money from those counties where Associations have been organized, the State Association has been unable to render the paper much assistance.

I have received from Associations $625,72 and from this sum have paid T. P Beard, Agent and Treasurer of the paper $523,97. I suppose that another reason has prevented the friends from sending money. The Assistant Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau for Georgia, General Tillson, has accused your President of dishonesty, and, although the charges made by him have been investigated and proved to be false, nevertheless bad men continue to repeat these charges. I believe that your paper has received more injury from the reports, circulated by General Tillson, than from all other causes. The colored people have been taught to look to the Freedmen's Bureau for protection. It was established to protect them, and they naturally suppose that officers, appointed by the Government, are their friends. When, therefore the chief officer of the Bureau, for the State, asserted positively that the money, which was given by the freed people for the Association, was stolen by the President, we can not wonder that they hesitated about sending it; and, when you remember that an agent of the Bureau has been appointed for each county, all of whom are subject to the command of the Assistant Commissioner, and are of course, expected to believe the statements made by him, and, when all of these men were informed of the statements made by General Tillson, and instructed to prevent the freedmen, so far as possible, from sending money to the officers of State Association, you can not be surprised that we received but little assistance from them. A ? ? have continued to labor

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