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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the Convention of Colored Men, Held in Edwards Opera House, Parsons, Kansas. April 27th and 28th, 1882.
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ing our condition as a race. Years have passed since the shackles were stricken from our limbs that made us freedmen; and though we have made some progress in many things, and the world has been startled at the progress we have made in the midst of so much opposition, yet there are but a few of us that have secured that greatest of all earthly blessings a homestead for ourselves and children. It is this that will give self-reliance and independence to us as a race. It was to gain this that we left the places of our former bondage in the South; and it is to secure this that we are assembled here in convention to-day. Fellow citizens, we have assembled here to-day to draft a petition to Congress asking the grant of a portion of its unoccupied territory, that we may settle upon it and pursue our usual evocation -- thecultivation of the soul. We have for years developed the resources of the South, but have received no credit for it. Why is it that we are not represented in the commerce of this grand republic? Is it not because we do not own homesteads ? and raise products and ship and consign them, to the credit of our race? We raise the products and others get the credit. We are excluded from the commerce and manufactories of the country; and it is said that it is on account of our color. This is true, to some extent, but I think it is mainly on account of the position we occupy in the midst of these branches of industry. Let us own a part of this great domain, and raise and ship our millions of bushels of grain and other products, raise and ship this and other countries; there we can demand the respect of other races and mingle in and be represented in the commerce of the country. Can we not reasonably expect the government that held us as slaves for more than one hundred years to help us to the much desired position by granting us the aid we shall as for to-day?
Fellow citizens, let us be careful in framing our petition and make it so reasonable that not one Representative or Senator can refuse to support itwithout putting himself on record as opposing the most humble and just claims ever made. We are told by some that the government cannot grant our petition -- that the land that we are going to as for belongs to the Indians; other tell us that the freedmen mentioned n the treaty at the time the government secured this land are those who were held as
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