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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the Colored People's Convention of the State of South Carolina, held in Zion Church, Charleston, November, 1865. Together with the declaration of rights and wrongs; an address to the people; a petition to the legislature, and a memorial to Congress.
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positive obstructions and disabilities as past, and the recent Legislators have seen fit to throw in our way, and heap upon us.
Without any rational cause or provocation on our part, of which we are conscious, as a people, we, by the action of your Convention and Legislature, have been virtually, and with few exceptions excluded from, first, the rights of citizenship, which you cheerfully accord to strangers but deny to us who have been born and reared in your midst, who were faithful while your greatest trials were upon you, and have done nothing since to merit your disapprobation.
We are denied the right of giving our testimony in like manner with that of our white fellow-citizens, in the courts of the State, by which our persons and property are subject to every species of violence, insult and fraud without redress.
We are also by the present laws, not only denied the right of citizenship, the inestimable right of voting for those who rule over us in the land of our birth, but by the so-called Black Code we are deprived the rights of the meanest profligate in the country—the right to engage in any legitimate business free from any restraints, save those which govern all other citizens of this State.
You have by your Legislative actions placed barriers in the way of our educational improvement; you have given us little or no encouragement to pursue agricultural pursuits, by refusing to sell us lands, but organize societies to bring foreigners to your country, and thrust us out or reduce us to a serfdom, intolerable to men born amid the progress of American genius and national development.
Your public journals charge the freedmen with destroying the products of the country since they have been made free, when they known that the destruction of the products was brought about by the ravages of war of four years duration. How unjust, then, to charge upon the innocent and helpless, evils in which they had no hand, and which may be traced to where it properly belongs.
We simply desire that we shall be recognized as men; that we have no obstructions placed in our way; that we have the right of trial by a jury of our peers, that schools be opened or established for our children; that we be permitted to acquire homesteads for ourselves and children; that we be dealt with others, in equity and justice.
We claim the confidence and good-will of all clauses of men; we ask that the same chances be extended to us that freedmen should demand at the hands of their fellow citizens. We desire the prosperity and growth of this State and the well-being of all men, and shall be found ever struggling to
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