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Proceedings of a Convention of Colored Citizens: Held in the City of Lawrence, October 17, 1866

1866 Lawrence KS State Convention.7.pdf

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[3]

ADDRESS

TO THE

CITIZENS OF KANSAS.

We address you on the sacred subject of Human Liberty and the Equal Rights of Man. "Hear us for our cause." Assembled as we are in State Convention, to adopt measures for our moral and intellectual improvement, which depends mainly upon ourselves, we would call your attention most earnestly to our constitutional and legal disabilities, the removal of which depends mainly upon you.

We are among you, constituting a portion of the permanent inhabitants of this young and growing Commonwealth. We have been identified with its past troubles. We are identified in its present prosperity. We are laboring, like yourselves, to make for it a future greatness. God, by the chances of war, placed us in your midst. No schemes of expatriation or colonization will ever induce us to leave our adopted home. Since then we are to remain among you, bearing our share of the burden of the Government of the State and the nation, we believe it is unjust, unwise, inhuman and impolitic, to continue in force a constitution and laws which take from us, a a class, many of our dearest, natural and justly inalienable rights. It may be proper for us to state, definitely, in what particulars the constitution and laws make unjust discriminations between us and other citizens.

1st. By putting the word "white" in the first section of the fifth article of the constitution, colored men are denied the use of the ballot, so our personal liberty, our civil rights, our property and legal protection, are all placed at the disposal of others. This is a sort of despotic class legislation of which we most bitterly complain.

2d. The constitution makes the militia of your State consist only OF or white men. This article denies us the poor boon of uniting with you in repelling invasion or suppressing domestic violence.

3d. Being denied the elective franchise, we are excluded from the jury box; and hence, when we are accused of crime, we are not tried by a jury of our political or legal equals.

In asking you to remove these disabilities, by which we are sorely and grievously oppressed, we approach you in the name of God, who has created of one blood all the nations of men. In the name of that impartial justice which, ignoring all distinctions

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