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Proceedings of Consultation Convention of 350 leading Colored Men of Georgia. Held in Macon, Georgia, January 25th and 26th, 1888

1888GA-proceedings-14.pdf

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12

MINUTES OF CONSULTATION CONVENTION

the men and things that will accelerate the education of our people. We are nearing the close of the 19th century, the greatest of all centuries, an age of progress, of mental excitements, and wonderful developments, a century in which Abraham Lincoln, by one stroke of the pen, liberated more than four millions of slaves, which was the central act of his administation and the greatest event of the 19th century. We owe to this century as a race, some demonstration of our progress, morally and intellectually and let us learn today that race pride, confidence in each other, unity of action, the possession of intelligence, the accumulation of wealth are the guarantees of honorable success and elevation. Let us remain in this southland, let us stand together, let us prove ourselves worthy of citizenship, let us know our rights and demand them. Let us agitate together. Let us sit down upon fraudulent leaders, office-seekers and tricksters. Let us write our name on the pages of future time as legibly as the stars on the brow of evening.

Prof. T. M. Dent made an eloquent five minutes speech endorsing the paper in the most complimentary of terms.

Bishop H. M. Turner was called upon and held the audience spellbound, while in glowing sentences and well rounded periods, he set fourth our many wrongs and deprivations which we suffer, and recommended, with some revision, the paper be printed and sent to every member of the United States Congress, in the hope that in its perusal by the members of Congress, it may fructify and its effect be felt the country over.

It was voted by motion of Bishop Turner, that the paper be turned over to the Committee on Education to be embodied in their report, said report to be printed and distributed among the members of Congress.

The Penitentiary System of Georgia was ably discussed by Hon. A. Wilson, member of House of Representatives Georgia:

The penitentiary system of Georgia is the most cruel in the country. The abuses are greater than anywhere else. Notwithstanding the agitation of years, the system has not been changed. A convict is sentenced to hard labor, but he is fed hard, clothed hard, and treated harder, and does not dare exhibit to the world the inside workings of the atrocious system. Going out to a convict camp unexpectedly, we had an opportunity of seeing what it really was. Although the law requires dry bedding, change of clothes and a weekly bath, all of these are denied them, and some of the convicts, having the courage to speak up, and tell us their condition, were beaten so bad that they were unable to work, and the doctor going out to see them found their back so badly blistered that the flesh was dropping from their backs. Such is the inward workings of the penitentiary of Georgia. Can Georgia stand it longer? May every voter in Georgia see to it that they cast their votes only for men that will consider the better treatment of those poor unfortunate beings. Georgia is disgraced by the management of such a system. As there is one Creator there is one law-giver and His will is the foundation of all law and authority, that is the God of heaven; for the securement of man's well-being, God ordains government. But the people are not the sole authority, and the citizens owe obedience to the rule, because every true ruler of every grade represents in his office not merely the will of the people as giving form to the constitution and law of he State, but that which underlines it and gives it all the authority and power that it has, the Divine law and constitution of the universe. The Apostle Paul exhorts citizens to obey rulers as thee representatives of Divine authority. Those who administer a just law by legitimate authority represent in the sphere of this office, God. Authority is derived from the people only in that it is the office of the people to determine the form of it. The right to do this depends upon its being so done as to conserve the ends God designs government to secure. The punishment of crime is a part of the business of human government only because it is necessary to punish the crime in order to accomplish the ends of the government. The right of the people to punish crime by methods prescribed by law is perfect; people living under organized government have absolutely no right to punish any offender without law ; to punish without law is the greatest violation of law, it is crime. Lynch law whenever it exists, is brutish, and it is

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