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Scripto | Transcribe Page
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.17.pdf
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ties. They have no more authority to prevent colored citizens from entering it, than they have· to deny that right to white citizen. The Civil Rights Bill declares 'that all persons, born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed,' are citizens of the United States. Colored men being citizen, it follows of course that they are entitled to all and the same civil rights to which white citizens are entitled, and that they can not legally be denied them, any law, statute, ordinance, regulation or custom to the contrary notwithstanding. Colored citizens in Augusta were denied the privilege of entering the cemetery by the Mayor, but he would allow white citizens to enter. General Tillson was appealed to, to protect the colored citizens, and, as an officer of the Freedmen's Bureau, it, was his duty. A few weeks later, the city authorities of Savannah forbid the colored citizens from entering the city park, and General Tillson interfered in their favor. If he could interfere in one case, he could in the other. Colored citizens wished to enter a city cemetery to decorate, with flowers, the graves of men who had fought to make them free, and, being prevented, General Tillson refused to interve in their behalf. Colored citizens wished to enter a city park for pleasure, and, being prevented General Tillson did interfere in their behalf.
I have demanded, and I shall continue to demand that colored citizens shall be protected in the full and free enjoyment of all the rights to which they are entitled. This I shall do, although Gen. Tillson and all the rebels and dough-face Generals from the Potomac to the Gulf denounce me. But I do not wish that my friends shall misunderstand my motives.
My friends, you have much to encourage you. One year ago, but few white Union men in the South were willing to give you equal political rights; now they demand these rights for you: one year ago, there was no party at the South that advocated your cause; now the Republican party is organized, or is being organized in every Southern State. This is the party of freedom and presents, 'tis the party that conducted the war, that saved the country and made you free. Thanking God for what he has already done for you, take courage, and enter upon the work that now presents itself with fresh zeal. Labor to educate your people, and while your white friends are laboring to secure for you those rights to which you are entitled, show by your own industry, economy and good behavior, that you will make good use of political rights, when they are granted to you.
On motion of Rev H M Turner, of Bibb, the rules of the last Convention were adopted to goveru this Convention. Rev Lewis Smith, of Bibb, was appointed Marshall of the Convention; Mr
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