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Minutes of the fifth annual convention of the colored citizens of the state of New York : held in the city of Schenectady, on the 18th, 19th, and 20th of September, 1844.
1844 Schenectady NY National Convention_cropped.14.pdf
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1. A general diffusion of Literary, Scientific and Religious knowledge among the people. This can be done, as it has already been done in some places, by the establishment of Public Libraries, Lyceums, and Public Lectures.
2. By the careful education of our youth, and holding out to them additional encouragement, in proportion to the extra difficulties which they have to encounter.
3: By giving our children useful trades, and by patronizing those who may have engaged in useful handicraft.
4. The committee would urge as first in importance the removal of our people from the cities, and large towns,and the betaking of themselves to the country. Prejudice is so strong in cities, and custom is so set and determined, that it is impossible for us to emerge from the most laborious and the least profitable occupations.
For instance, in the city of New-York, a colored citizen cannot obtain a license to drive a Cart! Many such like inconveniences beset them on every hand. Thus scores of men,whose intelligence (we would say nothing of their enterprise) is sufficient to entitle them to stations of trust, and profit, are compelled to drudge out their lives for a scanty subsistence. It has been seen, that when they have satisfied the demands of the landlord, provided their fuel, and have paid devotion to the shrine of fashion, there is nothing left for "a rainy day," and they often die in want.
Not so in the country, where every man is known, and even our people who are abused so much in cities are respected almost according to their moral worth. The committee would not say that there are none of those difficulties in the country—but that there are far less than are met with in cities, we do affirm.
In the country, no man is prohibited from driving a cart! Nay, he can raise his own horses and cattle, and drive them over his fruitful fields, or to the Fair, or to the Market, or elsewhere He can go to the woods and get his fuel, and burn the same in his log cabin, when winter winds are abroad, without fearing lest his solid comfort should be interrupted by a surly landlord, who is as certain to come every three months, as death is, at the end of life.
In the towns of Syracuse and Geneva, among a colored population of some eight hundred, there are more voters according to the odious $250 qualification, than there are in New-York city, which has eighteen or twenty thousand colored inhabitants.
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