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State Colored Men's Convention

1873LA-State_New-Orleans_Report__1873-11-18_excerpt-13.pdf

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changed, so that 4,000,000 of people should own it, instead of 300,000 as formerly.

We are not insignificant and uninfluential elements, gentlemen, in the prosperity of Louisiana; all its industries feel our presence and would languish without our help. We are important commercially now, more than ever, as consumers. As bondsmen we consumed annually $80,000,000, as freeman $320,000,000, and to that extent we stimulate and build up the prosperity of the country. By the accepted tables upon the subject, an able-bodied emigrant in the West is supposed to be worth $850 annually to the wealth of the country. We, a people with muscle and endurance, and furnishing a million sturdy workers of equal value with the Western emigrant, bring to the country's great aggregate of products, in the many forms that our energies assume, annually, $850,000,000.

If domestic violence or foreign wars demanded a rally around the country's flag, we could furnish a half million of strong arms and brave hearts for the service.

Whether as a soldier, a consumer or a producer, our value and status are fixed. Honorable and influential, we can no more shirk the duties of the situation than we can afford to forego its privileges and abandon its rights.

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