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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.14.pdf
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thousand of our people in the United States; and will we lay to, with our own self-murdering hands, and help on this work of death?
6. By settling in the country, and becoming independent farmers, we would escape almost entirely that prejudice which operates so injuriously against us in the cities. It is a mistake to suppose that there is any prejudice against mere color. Gentlemen and ladies, distinguished alike for their learning, their virtues, and their taste, have articles of dress, furniture, and equipage, of black, and every variety of color. Indeed, a full suit of black is universally considered the most rich and magnificent that can possibly be worn. Hence prejudice is not against color, but against condition; therefore improve the condition, and you destroy the prejudice.
We can pursue this part of our address no further; but again most earnestly entreat all our people, who are not successful mechanics, to settle in the country, and become cultivators of the soil.
The last resolution of the Convention to which we shall invite your particular attention, is that in regard to holding
We recommend this measure to you in the confidence of experience. It has been tried in several counties, with the most eminent success. In many places the people knew nothing of their resources or ability to help themselves, until they called one of these general meetings. There are no means like it, for stirring up the feelings, creating public spirit, and bringing about important results. Hold your County Conventions, and out of them will grow your Temperance, Education, Literary, and Benevolent Societies. And in them you can devise means for raising the funds mentioned in the resolution of the Convention. To carry out the measures of the Convention will require much labor and some funds; more perhaps than any one district can well bear; and it would be unjust to expect that one district should bear all the burthen, when the whole are to share in the benefit. Each district, and each individual, will therefore come forward cheerfully, and contribute their share.
We have thus briefly called your attention to the principal general resolutions of the Convention, the considerations which induced them, the means of accomplishing their objects; and it only remains for us to speak briefly of their result, if carried out in the spirit and intention of the Convention.
We wish to impress most distinctly upon your minds, what we mentioned in the outstart, that the Convention never intended the passage of the resolutions to be the end of our labor, but rather only the beginning. It was well aware that we have been too long, and too justly, charged with beginning every thing, and accomplishing nothing; but it was believed that the time has come, when we are prepared to put this charge to silence; when we will not only begin, but accomplish our designs. It passed them under the full expectation that every individual in the Commonwealth would heartily respond to them, and cheerfully assist in carrying them out. And if thus responded to, and thus carried out, just as sure as the rays of the sun warm the frozen earth, and cause it to produce its fruit in its season, or as the rivers run from the mountains to the ocean, we will be raised to the rank of a wealthy, intelligent, and virtuous people.
In conclusion, it is true, that in this Commonwealth we suffer some grievances; but at the same time we enjoy many privileges; and let us not abuse one of them, but use all to the best advantage. Thus we will show, that although we do not enjoy all our rights, we at least deserve them.
The present is a most important crisis in our history. The whole country is more or less agitated on our account, and all eyes are upon us. Every one
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