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Proceedings of the Colored National Labor convention : held in Washington, D.C., on December 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th, 1869.

1869-WASHGINGTON DC-Colored national Labor Convention 13.pdf

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Resolved, That a special committee of five, composed of genuine laborers or practical mechanics, or artisans, be appointed by the Chair to draft a plan for the organization of a national union of laboring men to the end of securing a recognition of colored laborers and mechanics in the various workshops of the land; that the said national union submit a plan to the colored people of the country for organizing subordinate unions for the furtherance of the object in view.

Mr. McLean, or Boston, was invited to address the Convention, and made an interesting address.

Senator Wilson, of Massachusetts, was next introduced. He said the Convention had assembled for a great cause, the elevation and improvement of a race who had long been trodden down—the toiling millions. It was important to act with charity to each other, but he thought the people of the country were making rapid progress in intellectual and mechanical improvement. Ten years ago the condition of the colored race was precarious, and none could speak a word for their rights without peril of life; and now the colored race is as free as any other in the land. Ten years ago the colored man was not permitted to go into the Capitol, nor enter the Capitol grounds; now he was as free as any one, and he hoped in a short time to welcome them as Senators. He did not believe in railway dynasties or any other dynasties, and if he had his way he would make a law making free railways. He wanted the public domain administered so as to be of benefit to the poor man, white and black.

At the conclusion of Mr. Wilson's remarks he was greeted by long-continued applause.

Mr. I.C. Wears, of Philadelphia, then addressed the Convention. He doubted very much if a white man is a natural man, or a black man is a natural man. The middle was the normal color of the human race. Both the white and black man are truants from the natural and original color of the human species. The color was only incident to the climate, and the physical development to the condition man is placed in. We demand our right to vote, not because of our color, but because we are men. If a man comes here from China,k what right have we to refuse him the right to vote? This right is a protection. He had no objection to making money out of men's muscle. We were all striving to do what we can for ourselves. Every man will gravitate to the condition he is fitted to perform.

Mr. J. T. Rapier, of Georgia, next addressed the Convention, and said if it could do something to relieve those of the South of their burden it will have accomplished a great deal. There never was a class made such progress as the colored laborers in the South. They have to pay high rents to their old masters for the use of their broad acres. If they can obtain the wild ds of Kansas or other new States, they can live and thrive there without paying tribute. As to the eight-hour law, it will amount to nothing unreadable South. As to women's rights, he hoped it would be confined north of the Ohio River.

Mrs. Mary Carey, of Canada, made a few remarks, and the Convention adjourned.


The Convention reassembled at 10 o'clock to-day, and opened with prayer by Bishop Campbell, of New Jersey.

A committee of three was appointed to revise the roll of delegates.

The Committee on Finance, through its chairman, B.M. Adgers, reported that $143 had been collected, and the expenses of the Convention had been $271, leaving a deficit of $128.

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