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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the Southern States Convention of Colored Men, held in Columbia, S.C., commencing October 18, ending October 25, 1871.
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Let us ask the Federal Government for an increase of school facilities for both white and colored, and I hope that the subject of compulsory attendance at school may be deliberately considered. Society cannot afford to let a single individual, white or black, grow up in vice and ignorance.
The real worth of an American citizen is his usefulness to society, his fitness to develop, in his own life and character, the blessings of free government. Let us invite the entire colored element in this country to concentrate in these Gulf States. Here is to be the future home of our race on this continent; here we are ordained, by a manifest destiny, to act an important part in the ultimate triumph of Republican government on this continent.
If the great mission of the American people is to give to the world a system of law and government most compatible with individual development—personal liberty—here in these Gulf States, on the great future highways of travel and commerce between the East and West, let us plant ourselves, where all the benefits and appliances of modern civilization are attainable.
From this point easy communication may be had with the millions of our race in the West Indies, Brazil and Africa, and as a component part of the great American people, we are now fully incorporated with the prosperity or failure of this nation.
The benefit of the Homestead Act should be persistently agitated among our people. No people can be said to be independent and civilized who do not own the soil they till. Free schools, free soil, and free men, are indispensable to free government in this country. The herding of laborers, as in common to the old plantation system, without the benefits and blessings of a well ordered home, perpetuates many of the worst evils of slavery, and utterly destroys freedom of thought and action.
Small farms, mixed industries, are the needs of the South, before our beautiful country is covered with villages and towns, as Massachusetts and Vermont.
Earnestly hoping that abundant success may crown the action of this Convention, permit me to subscribe myself,
Your, for Liberty, Equality and Fraternity,
JONATHAN C. GIBBS,
Secretary of State of Florida.
On motion of Mr. ANTOINE, the letter was ordered to be spread upon the minutes of the Convention.
Mr. TURNER, of Georgia, presented a letter from Dr. R. J. Cromwell, a delegate from the State of Louisiana, and requested that it should be read to the Convention.
The communication was read and referred to the Committee on Communications and Resolutions:
NEW ORLEANS, October 15, 1871.
To the President and Members of the Southern States Convention:
GENTLEMEN— By the request of a call for a Southern States Convention, and the authority of our State Convention, held at the city of New
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