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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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sunny South. Acting upon the spur of the moment, I delivered an extempore address in which I called attention to the fertile lands in the Oklahoma Territory, of its mild climate and advantages of timber and water, and of its adaptability to cotton culture. I suggested the possibility of obtaining the privilege of a home thereon, as it was originally designed, to the freedmen and friendly Indians. We adjourned to meet the following Monday, and weekly, thereafter until something would turn up in our favor. I talked over the Oklahoma matter with my friend Richard Stafford every time we met. Finally, one evening on our way to the meeting the same subject was introduced. We agreed. Staffor and I, to make the effort. We met with opposition from our friends, white and colored but we meant business and had settled down on Oklahoma. We were at sea without any compass or pilot. Just at this time, learning of the interest in the welfare of humanity of that noble lady, like Augustus?? Wilson, of Parsons, I in with?? her to meet with us and to give us the benefit of her wisdom and experience. Not being able to attend in person, she addresses us a letter filled with expressions of earnest sympathy and wise counsel, and suggesting the calling of a convention. Her suggestions infused with light and hope into our hearts, and were acted upon. We decided to call a convention. and the result of that decision is before you.
We have met, not as paupers, but as men—tillers of the soil—homeless, but not hopeless; strangers in a strange land; but not without friends, tried and true! We are here to deliberate, to decided, and then to act! Will you help us? Will you make common cause with us, and say to this nation that the house has come and you must meet it? Several propositions will be laid before you consideration. But I will only speak of mine; of one that has long occupied my thoughts; one to which I have given much prayerful thought, long before we had decided upon calling a convention. It is one that it is not hard to accede to. It is to ask this government to do an act of simple justice to a part of her loyal subjects. We expect to meet with some opposition, but we expect also success. If God be for us we shall succeed. I propose to ask—not a gift, for sure, to proud to beg (as beggars)—for a loan and the privilege of entering the Oklahoma lands, and settling down for once
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