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- Equality Before the Law: California Black Convention Activism, 1855-65
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Scripto | Transcribe Page
State Colored Men's Convention
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We owe our successes, gentlemen, under God, first to ourselves. Without abatement to the meed or dues of the true men that helped us in our distress, I affirm we possessed the elements in ourselves that needed the occasion only of a great revolution to develop them.
The colored race of America, in their individual manhood, furnished an aggregate of political and commercial forces that, in contact with and under the quickening influence of a Christian civilization, like seeds in the field of the husbandman, maturing and ready to germinate, needed but the summer of liberty to spring into life and fruitfulness, and the wisdom of the American people, even more than their mercy, was demonstrated when they took us up.
Still, while truth and manhood requires this statement, we have had generous and powerful friends, and it is meet and our bounden duty to thank them for what they have done.
We can not name them all; we owe much to every Senator, Congressman and citizen who has spoken the truth in our behalf, to every paper that has published it, to every man, woman and child that has prayed that the truth might prevail, but, after each has received his meed of praise, we owe most for our present success to President Grant, who, aided by his noble Cabinet, when our condition was chaotic and undefined and our peril most imminent, with the clear head of an honest man grasped the true philosophy of our case, promptly accepted the responsibility that devolved upon him and, despite the hesitating and uncertain action of Congress and in the face of vilification and abuse, has stood in the breach and like "the beaten anvil to the stroke" has been true to his duties as embraced in the constitution and the laws.
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