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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 29.pdf

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29

contend with much prejudice and opposition on the part of the majority of the white population. But there is no reason to believe, from present indications, that these hostile sentiments are gradually diminishing, and that many who are bitterly opposed to the political equality of the negro admit the expediency and justice of providing for his education. And it is an undisputable proposition, that the colored people of the South have, by their first for knowledge and their surprising aptitude for improvement, shown themselves deserving of the interest manifested in their behalf, and of the aid which has been so generously furnished to them. All classes among them, both old and young, male and female, have shown that they feel this thirst, and have exhibited this aptitude. Indeed, when their present speed of advancement is compared with the condition to which slavery had degraded too many of them, there seems to be no exaggeration in Whittier's lyric outpouring :

"Behold the dumb lips speaking !

the blind eyes seeing !

Bones of the prophet's vision

Warmed into being! "

From the report of the General Superintendent of Schools, under Freedman's Bureau, for the six months ending July 1, 1869, it appears that there were in operation during the period mentioned, 2,912 day and night schools, with an attendance of 149,244 pupils, of whom 73,896 were males, and 75,348 females. These schools comprise every grade—quite a number of them, perhaps thirty, being high schools, several of them colleges, and two universities. In view of this truly respectable exhibit, and of the fact that all of this surprising progress has been made within the last eighteen years, surely there is ample assurance that the colored labor of the South, constituting, as it does, at least seven-eighths of the colored labor of the Union, will be, in coming years, not only free, but also rendered effective and honorable through the generous influences of education.

In conclusion, your Committee would respectively submit the following resolutions for the consideration of the Convention:

Resolved, That, under the providence of an all-loving God, the members of this Convention will always hold in grateful remembrance the several educational associations, and their hundreds of auxiliaries throughout the North and West, that labored in behalf of the Freedmen, together with that noble band of teachers, who, at the cost of many sacrifices and perils, bore to that suffering class the blessings of mental and moral culture.

Resolved, That the system of schools originated by all the agencies referred to in this report is, to the members of this Convention, the subject of such grateful regard as leads them to trust that it will continue to be prospered in its good work until it attains to that perfected state which will witness the entire South dotted over with normal schools, complete in all needful educational facilities, from which normal schools as centers will radiate other schools of inferior grades, to light up every nook and corner of the land with the beams of useful knowledge.

All of which is respectfully submitted,

George B. Vashon, Chairman.

John A. Warren,

J. Milton Turner,

William F. Butler,

J.P. Campbell.

Mr. T.J. Mackey offered the following Memorial of the laboring men of the United States ; which was adopted :

To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America :

The memorial of the laboring men of the United States in Convention assembled respectfully showeth, that the condition of the colored laborers of the southern States appeals most forcibly to Congress to intervene in their behalf, by such just and timely measures as properly fall within the scope of the national authority.

Abundant evidence has been laid before this convention showing that the average rate of wages received by the colored agricultural laborer of the South does not exceed sixty dollars ($60) per annum. Out of this small sum he is required to clothe himself and purchase necessary articles for subsistence, for, as a general thing, the

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