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Minutes of the State Convention of Colored Citizens, Held at Albany, on the 18th, 19th, and 20th of August, 1840, for the purpose of considering their political condition.
1840 State Convention in Albany NY.compressed.3.pdf
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At a meeting of Colored Citizens, favorable to a call for a State Convention, held in the city of New-York, May 29th, 1840, C. B. Ray in the chair and C. L. Reason, Secretary, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That a Convention of the colored people of the State of New York be invited to assemble at Albany on the third Tuesday in August, to consider their political condition, and to adopt such measures as will be calculated to remove their disabilities, and that a call be issued to that effect.
Resolved, That Charles B. Ray, John J. Zuille, Theo. S. Wright, Charles L. Reason, and Timothy Seaman, be a committee to prepare a call in the spirit of the above resolution, and also to correspond with gentlemen in other places throughout the State, to interest them in the object of the Convention.
FOR A CONVENTION OF THE COLORED INHABITANTS OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK.
Fellow citizens,—We issue this call, to invite you to attend a State Convention, to be held in the city of Albany on Tuesday, the 18th day of August next.
The primary object we have, in inviting you to assemble, is, to take into consideration the political condition of our people in this State, and to adopt such measures as can be simultaneously carried out by our brethren in every section of the State, to obtain a relief from those political disabilities under which we labor.
The principal legal disability which affects us, is, our deprivation of the free exercise, in common with other men, of the elective franchise. A free suffrage is the basis of a free government, the safeguard of a free people, the strength of the strong, the defense of the weak, a powerful auxiliary to respectability, wealth, and usefulness ; and just in proportion as men are deprived of this, they are shorn of their strength, and are subject to poverty, disgrace, and abuse.
We are convinced, fellow citizens, that not only our political, but our depressed condition in all other respects in the State, owes itself, not in the least sense, to the fact that we are politically weak, not possessing the unrestricted use of the elective franchise. The body politic see in us, therefore, no favors to court, and nothing to fear. It is to them a matter of no concern, what may be the abuses we suffer, or how unhappy our condition.
You are aware, that while other citizens have a free and unrestricted use of the elective franchise, a property qualification is required on our part, in order for us to exercise this right, so important to a free people, and without which, a man cannot be considered, in a democratic sense, a freeman. This invidious requisition to the exercise of a birth-right privilege, weakens our standing as citizens of the State, and subjects us to all the consequent inconveniences. It also degrades our population, because it virtually lowers us in the scale of humanity, and reflects disparagingly upon our character. To seek a removal of this radical evil, is the object of calling you together in convention.
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