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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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To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the State of South Carolina in General Assembly Met :

GENTLEMEN: -- We, the colored people of the State of South Carolina, do hereby appeal to you for justice.

The last four years of war have made great changes in our condition and relation to each other, as well as in the laws and institutions of our State. We were previously either slaves, or, if free, still under the pressure of laws made in the interest and for the protection of slavery.

But the events of the past four years have destroyed this state of things. Our State has been called upon to remodel her Constitution from its very foundation and first principles; and, we have been, and still are, deeply affected by all these changes in interests of vital importance to us, we have resolved, in the Convention which we have called together to consider our interests, to petition your Honorable body for justice.

We ask that those laws that have been enacted, that apply to us on account of our color, be repealed. We do not presume to dictate to you, gentlemen; but we appeal to your own instincts of justice and generosity. Why should we suffer on account of the color that an all-wise Creator has given us? Is it possible that the only reason for enacting stringent and oppressive laws for us is because our color is of a darker hue?

We feel assured, gentlemen, that no valid reason can exist for the enactment and perpetuation of laws that have peculiar application us.

We are now free. We are all free. But we are still, gentlemen, to a certain extent in your power; and we need not assure you with what deep concern we are watching all you deliberations, but especially those that have peculiar reference to us.

We would ask your Honorable body for the right of suffrage and the right of testifying in courts of law. These two things we deem necessary to our welfare and elevation. They are the rights of every freeman, and are inherent and essential to every republican form of government.

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