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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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Southward upon their acts and their heads, bidding them a cheery "God speed" in their labors of love and patriotism, our persons must remain here—our ballots must find their boxes.
But we are sure you will not charge us with officiousness or presumption, if, whilst expressing our deep concern in all matters affecting our race, which call for your consideration, and engross your attention, we suggest your profound consideration, and enlightened judgment, upon one or two subjects, which, in our opinion, overshadow all others. The first is the policy, if not necessity, of compulsory education, by National legislation, in those States of the South where free schools have not been established, or where the Constitutional clauses calling them into existence have been rendered practically useless and worthless by reason of antagonistic partisan legislation, as is the case in this State, where our enactments are but cobwebs, and our laws but as dead letters. Our reason, fortified by our experiences, assures us that we cannot afford the experiment of entrusting our educational hopes to the unfriendly hands and prejudiced minds of Democratic State Governments. A stronger and broader basis is called for; a more reliable and trustworthy guarantee of permanence is demanded; and we can conceive of no method so likely to obtain this consummation as that of placing this great question as we have done to others heretofore, under the protecting argus of the General Government. We throw out these brief suggestions, content to abide your decision. One other subject, and we shall have done. Promising that we do not, and shall not, ether into any lengthened or hackneyed arguments, involving the relations of capital and labor, we yet declare, in view of our relation to this subject, that the time of your honorable body could be well spent in devising ways and means whereby the one shall be protected and encouraged from the assailments and encroachments of the other, and placed upon a footing of self-protection.
To this end, a complete and extended system of labor unions should be devised and encouraged, and protective societies should everywhere be organized. there, once established and popularized, will not only enable us to contend successfully for our elevation, and combat sordid combinations against us, but they will also beget an independence of thought and action, encourage a spirit of thrift and industry, develop a degree of self-reliance, and thus eventually form a more potential guard and shield to our race, than the famed circle with which the Church of Rome has been want to invest its children.
Again, retreating our regret at our inability to meet and commingle with our brethren from other States, and expressing the hope, and cherishing the belief, that their acts will tend to hasten the day when right, and not might shall be the rule—when silly prejudice and unfounded caste shall sleep in a grave from whence there shall be no resurrection, and even-handed justice shall hold the scales, according to all men and all nations even according to their deserts.
We are truly your friends and brethren,
JAMES A. TAYLOR,
WM. S. BOWIE,
In behalf of 3d Congressional District Virginia
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