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Scripto | Transcribe Page
State Colored Men's Convention
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An additional reason for my claiming your attention to these commercial questions is that in them, directly and indirectly, is found the guarantee of our social, civil and political rights. The immediate effect of pressing and perfecting the commercial enterprises particularly referred to, is that that the Mississippi, cutting our State and washing the borders of our chief city, will be the channel through which the intelligent and unprejudiced millions of the West and Northwest will ship their products to Europe and receive return products through the same channel therefor. The millions of values changed and interchanged will be followed by millions of owners, with large and liberal ideas.
The attention of thought and personal contact will wear off and destroy insensibly but surely all prejudices founded on color, so that we shall no longer exercise the rights guaranteed by the constitution and the laws with misgivings and under sufferance, but as freely and fully as though we had inherited the same for generations.
Gentle men of the convention, permit me in conclusion to be somewhat personal. I Think I have reached a just and sober estimate relative to the future of my race. Our condition is almost inconceivably better than before our enfranchisement, but we would come short of a correct conception of our condition, if under the exuberant and joyful feelings of a new found liberty we should count our lives a holiday. Freedom has brought not only its joys, but its duties and its cares. Neither liberty nor citizenship are the portions of children, but of men, and it becomes us, in the just appreciation of our high estate, to struggle earnestly for individual advancement in intelligence and in the virtues that adorn the freeman and for the public good.
Gratefully appreciating what my party and my country have done for me, and highly prizing the continued and generous confidence that my people have given me, I propose in the future, as in the past, never to give up the ship nor forsake my people, but in the new sphere in which I am called to serve them to give my best endeavors and watchful care to their interest and never to cease my labors until Hon. Charles Sumner's civil rights bill has become a law and free Cuba is a part of our great country.
At the conclusion of his address three rousing cheers were given for Senator Pinchback.
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