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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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qualification to become a successful politician). Nor do I hope ever to reach it. Our object is of more importance to us than pulling strings for politicians, whose sole regard for us consists in our votes; and who forget us as soon as the election is over.
But, Mr. President, we have invited you here to sit with us and to carefully consider the situation in all its bearings, and, if possible, agree upon some plan by which we may reach the ear and the heart of this great nation, by an appeal to their sense of justice and humanity. Sixty thousand, out of the six million of our people in the U.S. have found shelter in this state. We need not look back at the bitter past, only to serve as a guide. For it is with the present and future we have to do.
The living realities of the present and future demand our best thoughts now! Some months ago friend Wilmer Walton, seeing the condition of our people; witnessing their struggles for bread and seeing the manifest dissatisfaction among them aroused his sympathy and he invited us to meet him in mass convention, which we did, about two hundred strong. It was turned into a farmer' "class" or "experience" meeting. Many of the farmers related their "experience;" not "of grace," but of difficulties in pursueing their avocation, and of success and failures in the culture of cotton, corn, sorgum, broom corn, castor beans, wheat, potatoes and other products. This may be termed "an experience of works." High rents for farms, lack of farm houses for renters and their families and unfavorable terms were considered. This may be termed an "experience of difficulties." Mr. Walton gave some good advice, but the men had reached a point bordering on desperation. Their children were crying for bread, w nter was upon them; there was no work to do. Gentlemen, this was our condition. Mr. Walton advised us to emmigrate to Harper county, and settle on those barren lands, without water or fuel. Perhaps he was not aware that this was the condition of the county. The proposition met with strong opposition. Judge Davis and Doctor Lamb essayed? to advise us, but bread, and how to obtain it, was the all absorbing thought of those two hundred men, representing eight hundred souls in the city of Parsons and surroundings. The men became desperate! I felt for my people—they are my kindred, and from my own
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