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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 33.pdf
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tion in the barbarous prejudices of the late slave oligarchy, and was preserved by organizations all over the south for the purpose of keeping the laborers dependent upon the land-owners not only for employment but for very existence, with the object of controlling them politically as well as that of the price of labor. Here we had the spectacle of labor not simply struggling with capital, but capital sitting in judgment upon labor and controlling it at will. The Convention assembled for the purpose of putting labor where, in nature of things, it belongs—upon the level with capital, and to bind them in the bonds if wedlock, their proper relation. Labor is the eternal Rock upon which the stately edifice of capital finds its sure foundation—but it is labor and capital combined that erects the temple. The day of inequality has gone forever, and the Divine influence of the “Kingdom to Come” is prevailing the Earth. Let us heed it.
It behooves the Convention to look To the condition of the colored laboring people of the South, where nine hundred and ninety-nine are struggling with prejudice, poverty, opposition and danger, which you or the North know nothing about. You may adopt your Constitution, publish your fine address, define theories and policies, for this grand labor movement, but unless this mountainous obstacle, this land monopoly, is removed from the way of the advancement, The prosperity, the liberty of The millions of laborers in the South, this Convention will have proved a failure. I am asked how this is to be done. That’s the question this Convention must consider. It might be done by system of taxation—by the Legislatures of different States—whereby a certain quantity of land—a homestead—may be text at the usual rate, it all lands over the quantity of this homestead—say of one hundred and sixty or more acres, To be taxed at such rates as to make it more profitable to sell than to hold surplus land. It could be done in this way, and yet have taxation uniform.
He did not find fault with these men for possessing vast estates, but when it was to their interest to dispose of the part of them—when the men, who sweat and blood and flesh and labor had purchased these estates, were anxious, and ready to purchase land lying idle, for prejudice and inhumanity to say “no you shall not have a foot of land at any price,” is monstrous. Coming up on the train their South Carolina and Georgia he overheard the only way to keep the freed people in their proper place—to keep them poor, and dependent was the only way possible to get along with the colored people. Because it is thus willfully and maliciously maintained, I denounce this land monopoly, as monstrous as it is inhumane, barbarous.
Sella Martin offer the following which was referred:
Whereas the American Missionary Association is the principal nation Society working in an educational Direction among the color laborers of the self, expending, at this time more than $350,000, and employing more than 500 teachers and missionaries the Malisse people, therefore
Resolved, but this convention tenders it’s hearty thanks to, and expressing its full confidence in, this Association and other kindred societies, and calls up on the colored working people of the country to support these benevolent labors by sending their children to school, and buy contributing to their funds.
Sella Martin offered the following, which was referred:
Resolved, that this convention regards with great solicitude the efforts which are still being made to transfer the public domain to the hands of private sectors through a continuation of that unfortunate policy of donating the public lands to the railroads and other corporations, and we earnestly call upon Congress to guard the
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