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Proceedings of the State Convention of the Colored Freemen of Pennsylvania, Held in Pittsburgh, on the 23d, 24th and 25th of August, 1841, for the Purpose of Considering their Condition, and the Means of Its Improvement. (Copy 1)

1841 Pittsburgh PA State Convention.02.pdf

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AGREEABLY to previous notice, a large and respectable meeting of the Colored People of Pittsburgh was held, in the public School-Room, on Tuesday evening, Jan. 12th, 1841. The meeting was organized by appointing John Peck, President; George Gardner and J. B. Vashon, Vice Presidents; T. A. Brown and John N. Templeton, Secretaries.

The object of the meeting was stated by the President to be, the consideration of the present disfranchisement of the Colored People of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and of measures for obtaining the exercise of that sacred right.

On motion, a resolution was adopted, approving of the holding of a STATE CONVENTION.

The hour growing late, and the meeting having greatly increased in interest as well as in numbers, it was, on motion, resolved, that the meeting adjourn to meet again on next Tuesday evening, and that a Committee of seven be appointed to draft a proper Preamble and Resolutions for the consideration of the next meeting.

On this Committee the meeting appointed Lewis Woodson, Martin R. Delaney, P. Jackson, Thomas Norris, J. B. Vashon, George Galbreath, and Daniel Carney.


Public meeting of the Colored People of Pittsburgh, in Bethel Church, in Front Street, according to adjournment. The officers of the previous meeting were present, and in their seats. The meeting was opened for the despatch of business with prayer.

The proceedings of the previous meeting were read, and remarks explanatory of its object were made by the President, and one of the Vice Presidents.

The Chairman of the Committee to draft a Preamble and Resolutions for the consideration of the meeting was then called on for his report, which was read by him, as follows:

The Committee appointed by a public meeting of the Colored Citizens of Pittsburgh, on the 12th day of January, 1841, to draft a Preamble and Resolutions expressive of their views on the subject of holding a State Convention, to consider measures for obtaining the exercise of the right of the elective franchise, beg leave to submit the following

REPORT.—WHEREAS, among all the rights of a Republic none are so sacred, and among all the safeguards of the liberties of freemen none are so powerful, as the right of suffrage—a right, indeed, which gives political existence to those who possess it, and is political annihilation to those who are deprived of it—a right paramount in vitality and importance to all political rights; and to obtain which when deprived of it, no labor should be counted too severe, no sacrifice too great—and, WHEREAS, the Colored Citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are, by her present Constitution, deprived of the exercise of this sacred right, for no other cause than that it has pleased the Almighty Creator to clothe them with a dark hue, a circumstance over which they had no control, and for which no just tribunal can or will hold them accountable, and to punish them for which, with the highest political privation, is not only doing violence to nature herself, but is offering insult and mockery to the Almighty Creator of all things and Judge of all men—and, WHEREAS, the history of the past, the observation of the present, and the word and providence of God, show, that those who exert themselves most are the most successful in the attainment of the object of their lawful pursuit; and that those who will exert themselves none, even lose that which they have; and that no honest condition is so hopeless, but that it may be improved and elevated, by the use of just and honorable means—and, WHEREAS, in opposition to this just and wholesome maxim, the Colored People of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have hitherto maintained an apathy and indifference, not only to the exercise of the elective franchise, but to other collateral rights of high importance to them as freemen; an apathy and indifference highly criminal, and for which it is feared they are not prepared to give a satisfactory account, neither to God, their own consciences, nor posterity; and to maintain which apathy and indifference longer, would degrade them still lower in the eyes of all enlightened and good men.


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