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National Convention at New Orleans, LA

1872LA-National-reports-page70.pdf

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Now, in reference to this question of civil rights, I will relate to you an anecdote. While in Philadelphia I was nominated as a delegate to the loyalist convention, which was to meet in the above named city. While attending to my duty as a member outside of the convention, the delegation came to me in the name of the Indiana delegation, and asked me to waive my right—to give up my seat—not that they objected to sit beside me, for one of them said he would occupy the seat next to mine on any other occasion but at the present time; they could not bear the idea of having a colored man hold a seat in that convention, under the circumstances; they did not like the idea of the amalgamation. I said to them "Gentlemen, you might as well as me to put a pistol to my head and blow my brains out," and gentlemen, I kept my seat and carried my points to this loyalist convention. [Applause] I, as a Republican, will never give up my principles. I will never cease to work for the interests of my race. Let weak-kneed Republicans do it; I never will. You want a civil rights bill passed that will enable your wife and family to occupy decent carriages on the railroads, and not be thrust into a dirty smoking car, your wife's clothes and your own to be covered with the filthy mass that surrounds such accommodations. I have

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