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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 45.pdf
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As a constitution for the government of a carpenters' association will not suit for the government of a laborers' association, it is important that you organize each branch separately. Five men of any one branch organized, can accomplish more in the interest of that particular branch, than being associated with five hundred men of several branches. Mixed organizations have always proven disastrous to the labor reform movement, except in delegated bodies. The above organizations referred to, are simple organizations for the protection of labor and wages.
We could call your attention to, and advise, second, that you form yourselves into co-operative Trades Unions. While these are the most beneficial associations of modern times, they require much judgment, and intellectual ability to make them a success. They seem to be a necessity at this time in order to furnish employment to colored men in many States in the Union. We could not furnish a general plan of organization. Each particular association must be governed by special rules. We can only advise you how to organize, when you inform the Bureau what you propose to organize. We can but say the general principle is, for each man to take a given amount of stock, and pay that in weekly or monthly installments until they have enough to commence business with, so that, by a combination of their money and labor, they will form a capital and business that will give an independent living. In organizations of this kind no restrictions should be placed upon parties investing, because of their other relations. Let any man who will, take an interest with you.
3. We should advise you to organize building and land associations. These can easily be established in connection with your "Trades and Labor Unions," and will have a tendency to strengthen and perpetuate them. Experience has proved that all men can, by the agency of a well regulated building association, buy a house for what he would pay rent for one. We shall be pleased to advise you upon the most improved plans of organization.
4. In order to effect a more thorough organization of the colored workingmen of the United States, and advise and enlighten them upon all questions affecting their interest, and battle with the prejudices manifested because of our peculiar position, the Bureau has decided to issue a weekly paper, to be known as the organ of the Colored Workingmen of the United States. It shall to our object to keep you informed as to the condition of the trades in each State, rates of wages, demand for labor, value of real estate, forms of organization, and to meet all questions, national and local, affecting the interest of the workingmen.
The necessity for such a paper is admitted by all who are the least acquainted with our present disorganized condition, and as it is barely possible to disconnect our labor and social interest from our political, we shall at all times, when the necessity demands take a decided stand in advising you upon all questions that will be to your interest as a race, and to the good of our common country.
As we shall have one or more agents, who shall travel in and through all the States to assist you in organizing all the departments of labor, we hope that every man will make himself an agent to take the paper, and see that his neighbor has one also, until it may be found in every house in the country.
We shall make it, if possible, the cheapest weekly paper in the country, and secure the best writers that can be found. Our course is onward! Let every man put his shoulders to the wheel, and victory and success will perch upon our banners. All communications must be marked "official," and addressed to the President, Box 191, Washington, D. C.
P. S. --Your Attention is particularly invited to the Constitution of the National Labor Union, published in the proceedings of the Convention.
ISAAC MYERS, President.
GEORGE T. DOWNING, Vice President.
W. U. SAUNDERS, Secretary.
LEWIS H. DOUGLASS, Assistant Secretary.
COLIN CRUSOR, Treasurer.
SELLA MARTIN, JOHN H. BUTLER,
ISAIAH C. WEIRS, GEORGE MYERS,
G. M. MABSON.
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