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Conference for the Colored People of Texas

1879 TX State Convention in Houston 4.pdf

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acted of our people throughout the country, together with the oppressive landlord and tenant laws, does and will continue to prevent our people from generally becoming the owners of small farms and home in the south.

Eleventh—The brave white republicans of the south, who have done their utmost in maintaining all the great principles of a just form of government, have been subjected by the "bourbon" element to every form and species of persecution and wholesale slander; many of these brave, good and true men have been assassinated, others have been stripped by bands of ku-klux and night-riders, their bodies frightfully lacerated by the cruel lash, and many forced into exile. Nor has persecution been confined, with its fiendish work, alone against these brave men, but their families have been ostracized and derided by our old masters' class and their supporters. No stone has been left unturned to make the name of all true republicans of the south a term of reproach, opprobrium and insult. Such general terms as "scallawags," "carpet-baggers," "white niggers," "traitors," "thieves and plunderers," have been freely bestowed upon them by the democratic press and leading bourbon politicians of the south. This has been done to force all white men of the south to vote and act with the democratic party in all of its repressive and retrogressive measures against our people.

STILL REGARDED AS PROPERTY.

Now, without enumerating other grievances, we submit the above facts as evidence that our former masters still regard us as legal property illegally taken from them, and that our race was created and intended for some form of slavery or servitude to the white race. Acting upon the supposed soundness and justice of this doctrine of principles, they enact laws which have for their real purpose and object the continued general degradation ignorance and poverty of our people, in order that they may be the more easily retained in a state of dependency under the white people of the south.

Therefore, it is self-evident that as the old master-class own the great bulk of southern land and control all of the executive and judicial and legislative departments of the state governments of the south, that impregnable barriers and obstacles will be perpetually interposed to impede the progress and well-being of our people so long as we remain upon southern soil. Surrounded as we are upon all sides by white men who have both the power and will to retain our people in their present deplorable condition, the imperative necessity exists for a speedy and an effectual exodus of our oppressed race from the south and their colonization upon practicable and well devised plans and regulated principles in some section of county adapted to their labor, and above all other considerations to their best interests, where they will be made secure in the full enjoyment of all their rights of life, liberty and good government. We appeal to all

INTELLIGENT COLORED MEN

throughout the country whose past opportunities and circumstances surrounding them enabled them to become independent land-owners, etc., to remember that their good fortune is no evidence that the masses of our people can, with the different circumstances now surrounding them, generally become land-owners in the south. We further appeal to all intelligent colored men through the country to aid us in the great work tending toward the

PRACTICABLE IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION

of our people. Let the watchword be the noble sentiment expressed by Ruth, 1st chapter, 16th and 17th verses: "Whither thou goest I will go, and where thou lodgest I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest there will I die and there will I be buried."

"The Lord do so to me and more also, if aught but death part thee and me."

We are urged

NOT TO IMMIGRATE

to a more northern latitude because we are natives of a tropical climate, but when we consider the difference evinced in thrift and enterprise between inhabitants of southern and northern latitudes, we reasonably conclude that a tropical climate virtually produces indolence and retrogression. This is attested by the past history of all races. The descendants of the hardy white northern races who overran and conquered southern Europe and Italy are to-day the most indolent and ignorant people of Europe, and the same causes have in the still more tropical climates of Africa retained our race in ignorance and barbarism. We therefore urge the necessity of colonizing in the northwestern states and territories of the union, and we conscientiously believe that such colonization will eventually result in great good to our race. But if it should result in our extermination, as is predicted by those who oppose our exodus from the south, it will be better for us as a people that we should pass away the face of the earth, than to remain in our present unfortunate condition. unreadable trying ordeals and vicissitudes through which we have been passing since our emancipation among the master element of the south further demonstrates to us the infinite wisdom and mercy of God in speedily removing the emancipated Jews far away from the control and persecutions of their Egyptian masters. Are those who oppose our exodus from the south

WISER THAN OUR CREATOR?

"Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? He that reproveth God let him answer it." (Job, chap. xl, v.2.) There are some leading men of our race who oppose our exodus because many of them, holding lucrative positions and being owners of real estate, are thus placed beyond the reach of the evils that menace the great masses of our people, consequently they can not realize our situation and condition as a people. Let their words of fear and discouragement pass unheeded, for "great men are not always wise, neither do the aged understand judgment." (Job, c. 32, v. 9.) We are sneeringly asked how can we emigrate and colonize? This is easily answered, for the people that made the south one of the wealthiest and most prosperous agricultural sections of the world will, by well-directed efforts, not only be able to emigrate and colonize, but eventually become a prosperous and progressive people, when they are placed in a position where they can reap the full fruits of their labor. We therefore advise the colored men in every neighborhood and county throughout Texas to organize into colonization clubs, and use unremitting industry and economy in order that they may be prepared for emigrating when the proper time shall arrive. When arrangements are concluded for and exodus of the

COLORED PEOPLE OF TEXAS,

they will be informed through the proper channels. Our people must emigrate upon well organized plans and principles, and it may take a great while to accomplish a gradual emigration, because our thrifts and most enterprising men must go forward first and open up the way for the less thrifty of our race. We further call the especial attention of the colored people throughout the south to the alarming fact that many thousands of emigrants from Europe are constantly pouring into our country, and that if our people delay many years longer, all of the vast unsettled territories of the great northwest will soon be closed against our colonization, and in that event we would be compelled to remain "hewers of wood and drawers of water" in the south, yielding a quiet submission to the will and behests of the old master element. We recognize the fact that a great work lies before our people, and that they have much to do before they will become a prosperous and a progressive people. They will have to undergo many hardships and severe ordeals before they can reach the promised land of liberty and justice. But our people have been educated in the school of slavery to endure every form of hardship, and they will not now shudder nor cowardly falter before the many obstables that will be thrown across their way to hinder their

ONWARD MARCH TO PROSPERITY.

We are still in the wilderness that borders slavery—ignorance and poverty on the one hand, liberty, education and prosperity on the other. We will never cease our efforts to at last emerge from this wilderness of doubts, fears and tribulations, until we are finally made secure in the enjoyment of our civil rights and liberties in a land where all classes of people unite in maintaining all of the principles that perpetuate a free and a just form of government. We call upon our people throughout the south to unite together in this

SECOND AND REAL EMANCIPATION

struggle and irrepressible conflict for liberty and justice. By unity, harmony and a faithful adherence to the great principles of universal suffrage, liberty and equal rights to all men, the dark clouds of ignorance, poverty and tyranny that now overshadow our people will drift away, and the bright morning beams of the glorious sun of liberty, justice, prosperity and progression will illume our way and lead our people on to a higher and a more advanced state of civilization. Animated by heartfelt gratitude, we herewith extend to his excellency, John P. St. John, governor of the state of Kansas, and all of the noble philanthropists of the west and north, the sincere thanks of the colored people of Texas for the prompt aid and sympathy so freely bestowed upon our oppressed brethren fleeing to "free Kansas" to escape fearful persecution from the blood-stained hands of their white tyrants and assassins of Mississippi and Louisiana. Also the sincere thanks of the colored people of Texas is hereby extended to judge S. A. Hackworth, of Washington county, for the untiring efforts he has made during the past six years in colonizing and encouraging the colored people in procuring homes of their own. Trusting in the God of hosts, who has in the plentitude of His mercy and infinite wisdom guided and led other emancipated slaves to a promised land; and reposing full faith and confidence in the justice and wisdom of the spontaneous movement teeing towards a final exodus of our people from the south, we submit to the just and candid consideration and judgment of mankind this declaration of causes and facts, which impel our people to lift up their voices in the southern wilderness and to cry aloud:

"O Lord, thou has seen my wrongs,

Judge then my cause."

"Our persecutors are swifter than eagles of heaven; they pursued us in the mountain; they laid wait for us in the wilderness."

Respectfully C.P.Hicks.

In accepting the above address, we find it only necessary to add that it is with feelings of deep regret that we mention

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