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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 22.pdf

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Miss Edmonia Lewis among sculptors, Mrs. S.M. Douglass and Miss Cole among physicians, Miss Ketchum among clerks, illustrate an aptitude and ability among colored women which, if cordially recognized and encouraged by colored men in their more matured experience in these directions, would be the beginning of an era of thought and effort among colored women creditable to them as a class, and highly promotive of the general well-being.

With women as with the other sex, organized effort, whether in associations with men or in societies of their own, could not fail to be of benefit, as lifting them up from the plane of indifference, frivolity, and dependence, to the nobler sphere of systematized industries and intellectual effort so essential to the growth and prosperity of an enlightened people.

We would recommend to our women, therefore, a steady inculcation of habits of industry, economy, and frugality, to learn trades, to engage in whatever pursuits women of the most highly favored classes now pursue, and in whatever honorable calling besides their inclination or capacities qualify them for, and which will tend to enlarge their sphere and influence of labor.

In addition to present avocations, we would like to suggest that profitable and health-inspiring employment might be found at market-gardening, small fruit and berry culture, shop and storekeeping, upholstering, telegraphing, and insurance and other agencies, and to connect themselves with co-operative building societies whenever opportunity offers. No women have had a sadder and more varied experience than thousands who have labored in the fields of the South, and to such we would say, engage in agriculture. Bring to the pursuits of freedom the knowledge of husbandry learned when in bondage, and make it magnify and beautify your present improved condition.

An enlarged benevolence is eminently in keeping with the ever-widening sphere of activities into which woman can now enter, as well as with the highest dictates of humanity and religion. The vicissitudes of war, and the accidents inseparable from the great change many have undergone, have thrown to the surface thousands of cases of destitution which appeal to men and women for assistance and remedy. The formation, therefore, of associations, whence practical aid and direction can be extended to the thousands of infirm, aged, and poor, could not fail to impress upon the sterner sex the importance of removing all barriers to the full recognition and success of woman as an important industrial and moral agent in the great field of human activities and responsibilities.

All of which is respectfully submitted,

M. A. S. Cary,

Caroline E. G. Colby,

Joseph P. Evans.

Belva A. Lockwood,

J. S. Griffing.



The Convention was called to order at 10 o'clock this morning, the President, J. H. Harris, in the chair. Prayer was offered by Bishop Loguen, of New York.

Mr. Lewis H. Douglas from the committee on the subject, reported a constitution of "The National Labor Union."

On motion to adopt, considerable discussion took place between Messrs. Green and Bowen, of District of Columbia, and Sorrell, of Maryland. It was finally decided to take it up section by section.

At this time Gen. O. O. Howard made his appearance in the room, and was invited to address the Convention. He said that co-operation was what the colored men of this country needed. The practical thought that he would throw out above all others for their improvement was a co-operative system. Labor was of greater importance than capital. He was gratified to see so many men from the South come here for the consideration of these important subjects, and he hoped the movement would be a success.

His remarks were received with applause. General Howard then retired, and the Convention proceeded with its business.

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