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National Convention at New Orleans, LA


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National Convention at New Orleans, LA




The call for a national convention of colored men, to be held in this city, brought together yesterday in the Hall of the House of Representatives forty very intelligent specimens of our colored fellow citizens. Quite a large number of outsiders—white and colored, of the male gender, and a few of the female gender—were present to witness the proceedings.

The convention was called to order a few minutes after twelve o'clock by the Hon. Alonzo J. Ransier. Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina, who, after reading the call for the convention, addressed it as follows:

GENTLEMEN—We are here pursuant to the above call, to consider ways and mans necessary to the conservation of the material and political interests of the colored people of our country.

I know, gentlemen, that there are those among us, white and colored, who question the propriety or the wisdom of colored men, as such, coming together in regular convention, to the exclusion of the other race or races, to consider matters relating to themselves, being as they are a component part of the great American body politic, composed of other races. But in my humble judgment, gentlemen, if those who take this position will give themselves sufficient time to reflect—will consider for a moment what kind of government we are living under; the wrongs we, as a class, have suffered for years; the tremendous revolution that has swept over the country within the past ten years; the position in which we find ourselves today, though declared to be American citizens; still laboring without adequate compensation, our education and that of our children almost totally neglected; shut out from decent accommodation at the hotels, places of amusement and in common carriers, and exercising that most valuable of a freeman's rights, the right to cote as one conscience and judgment may dictate, at the very peril of our lives in many localities, they would see the propriety, they would be at once convinced of the necessity—if they claim to be human and so regard us—of our coming together, being the aggrieved party, that we may bring our grievances before the country and ask for that relief from this condition, and that protection from these outrages, as citizens of this country, which it is its duty to give.

I trust, gentlemen, that you will be cool and deliberate, yet firm and independent in your deliberations: that you will allow no inharmonious elements to obtrude themselves upon you and engraft themselves upon the records of this most important assembly. The eyes of the country are upon you, and not only your immediate constituencies but the friends of liberty, law, order and progress everywhere are anxiously looking to you for such a report of your doings as will gladden their hearts, confirm their hopes and strengthen their faith in republican institutions in this country.

I behold, gentlemen, before me those who have fought the good fight; gentlemen who labored in the cause of freedom and equal rights through good report and through evil report, to whom our people are looking for guidance, for counsel, for direction: men to whom we are indebted for much, and to whom the country is indebted.

The remarks of Lieutenant Governor Ransier were listened to with marked attention, and are well calculated to inspire members of the convention with a proper sense of their duties at this time.

Immediately after Lieutenant Governor Ransier had concluded his address, Mr. Ruffin, a delegate from Massachusetts, moved that Lieutenant governor P. B. S. Pinchback, of Louisiana, be elected temporary president of the convention, which motioned prevaded, and Mr. Pinchback was escorted to the chair Mr. Ruffin and Mr. J. Henri Burch.

In taking the chair Mr. Pinchback briefly thanked the convention for the honor it had conferred upon him remarking that as he was not fully informed as to the objects of the convention, he must refrain from making any further remarks at the time.

On motion, Senator G. T. Ruby, of Texas, was then chosen secretary.

A committee on credentials was then appointed, and on motion, made ten minutes after one o'clock, the convetion took a recess for twenty minutes, in order to give the committee time to examine and report upon the credentials of members.

When the commitee on credentials had retired to examine the documents, the members of the convention employed the intervening time in discussion and opinion expressing, in which the future political bearings had a large share.

About one thousand lookers on. not wholly uninterested, filled the lobby of the hall, thronged the stairways and peopled the sidewalks in front of the building.

When the session again took place, temporary chairman Pinchback asked if the committee were ready to report. This was answered by the secretary of the committee. who rose and read the following report. which is found to embrace the complete list of all accredited delegates and the respective States which they represent:

Alabama—Jerry Harrulson, James T. Rapier, G. W. Washington, H. Thompson. R. W. Whitaker, Frank McKid, William V. Turner.

Arkansas—M. W. Gibbs.

District of Columbia—John M. Langston.

Georgia—H. M. Turner.

Louisiana—P. B. S. Pinchback, James Lewis, J. H. Ingraham, George Devizan, J. H. Burch, Harry Lott, David Young.

Maryland—Isaac Meyers.

Massachusetts—George L. Ruffin, J. Sella Martin.

Mississippi—James HIll, J. J. Spellman, G.W. White, H.B. Jacobs, J. H. Piles, C. M. Boles, A. Handy. J.D. Webster, A.K. Davis.

Ohio—Peter H. Clarke, W. H. Jones.

Pennsylvania—F. Merrig Chester.

South Carolina—A. J. Ransier, F. L. Cardozo, R. B. Elliot, W. B. Nash, F. H. Frost. W. J. McKinley.

Texas—Richard Allen, G.T. Ruby, Johson Reed, Walter M. Burton, N.W. Cuny, F. J. Webb.

Virginia—W. N. Stevens, W. H. Trent, Albert Brooks, P. G. Carter, R.G. L. Page, Rufus Morse, William P. Mosely, John Freeman.

The report being adopted, the accompanying resolution concerning the future disposition of delegates having been carried, Mr. Pinchback moved that a committee on permanent organization, to consist of one delegate from each State, be appointed, which being adopted, the following committee was formed: F. L. Cardozo, of South Carolina, chairman; Messrs. Jerry Harralson, of Alabama: M. W. Gibbs, of Arkansas; John M. Langston, of District of Columbia; H. M. Turner, of Georgia; David Young, of Louisiana; Isaac Myers, of Maryland; J. Sella Martin, of Massachusetts; J. H. Piles, of Mississippi; Peter H. Clarke, of Ohio; T. Morris Chester, of Pennsylvania; A. W. Cuny, of Texas; W. N. Stevens, of Virginia.

A. J. Ramsier, of South Carolina, having moved that the rules of the United States House of Representatives be adopted as those governing the house. Mr. Clarke, of Ohio, in order that there may not be confusion, moved that a committee of three on rules be appointed, and the committee was

constituted as follows: Messrs. Clarke, of Ohio, Ingraham, of Louisiana, and Martin, of Massachusetts.

The motion of T. Morris Chester, that the evening sessions be devoted to discussion and public speaking hereafter, provoked a lively interchange of views upon the question, not unmixed with touches of humor, which set the house in a roar.

Jerry Harralson, of Alabama, in reply to the motion, stated the members of the convention had come all the way to New Orleans to transact whatever business that had brought them together, and then go home. "Many of us," said he "can't stay in Louisiana more than a few days," and hence there was no time for spouting.

J. H. Burch was of the same opinion of T. Morris Chester.

H. Lott, of Louisiana, reminded the convention that they were at a daily expense of $25 for gas, but he was in favor of assembling at nine o'clock in the morning, and without devoting so much time to speech making, go to work at their business until nine at night, with an intervening recess at midday.

F. I., Cardozo seemed to think that speech making and sentiment expressing was just about the business which had brought the members together, it being understood that all the distinguished luminaries of the country were convoked for no other purpose.

A cross fire of repartee took place between the speaker and J. Harralson, in which the latter agreed not to open his mouth if his opponent would do the same, saying, in reference to the distinguished luminaries, that the most of the members here, in their own minds, thought themselves distinguished, much as the world might not be disposed to accord that fact, and if an evening was set aside too many would be willing to class themselves as of distinction. For himself, he might do some spouting, too, by and by.

The motion prevailed, and a committee of three members on address were appointed, and consisted as follows: Messrs. Chester, Ruffin and Harralson.

The convention then adjourned until nine o'clock this morning.


The second day's proceedings of this convention was not marked throughout with the same orderly and dignified spirit as the first. After a permanent organization had been secured, politics was unfortunately introduced in the convention in the shape of a resolution submitted by Mr. Harralson, of Alabama. The discussion on this resolution took rather a wild and rude shape, and at times bordering on the ridiculous, forcibly reminding us of scenes that are sometimes witnessed in ward club rooms and bar-rooms, where political meetings are frequently held under the inspiration of "whisky straight." These scenes do not excite our special wonder when enacted in such places, but in a national convention-even of intellectual colored men-they must be regarded by their friends and well-wishers as sadly out of place.

The convention met at half-past ten o'clock, and was called to order by Lieutenant Governor Pinchback, of Louisiana, its temporary president. Rev. C. H. Thompson, D. D., of Straight University, was invited to open the convention with prayer.

On motion of Mr. Burch, the minutes of the previous day were read and approved.

Mr. Ransier, of South Carolina, submitted letters from General O. O. Howard and Mr. Quailes, a member of Congress from Florida. As these letters were considered very important, the reading of them is deferred until a larger number of delegates are present.

About eleven o'clock, on motion, the convention took a recess for fifteen minutes in order to give the committee on credentials time to report additional members. At ten minutes after eleven, Mr. Pinchback called the convention to order again.

Mr. Myers, from the committee on credentials, reported eighteen additional members, making in all some sixty members present, considerably less than the required number for a quorum, according to the basis of representation laid down in the "call" for the present National Convention of Colored Men.

On motion of Mr. Burch, Mayor Flanders was escorted to a seat on the platform of the convention.

Mr. Cardoza, from the committee on permanent organization, reported as follows:

For President—Fred. Douglass, of New York.

Vice Presidents—James H. Ingraham, of Louisiana; George L. Ruffin, of Massachusetts; George T. Downing, of Rhode Island: T. Morris Chester, of Pennsylvania, J.C. Rivers, of Maryland; W. N. Stevens, of Virginia; J. M. Langston, of District of Columbia; F. L. Cardoza, of South Carolina; H. M. Turner, of Alabama; J. H. Pilles, of Mississippi; Richard Allen, of Texas; M. W. Gibbs, of Arkansas; Charles H. Langston, of Kansas; W. H. Jones, of Ohio, and Charles Stevenson, of Kentucky.

Secretaries—George T. Ruby, of Texas; R. B. Baquie and W. G. Brown, of Louisiana.

The committee also recommended the appointment of two sergeants-at-arms by the president of the convention.

The report of the committee was adopted, and the chair appointed Thomas Kelley and P. Z. Canonge sergeants-at-arms.

Immediately after the adoption of the report, Mr. Douglass being still absent, Mr. Ingraham, as first vice president, was invited to take the chair.

It was at this stage of the proceedings that Mr. Harralson introduced his bombshell into the convention in the shape of the following resolution:

Resolved, That we, in the name of the colored men of the United States, repudiate any sympathy or connection whatever with the late Labor Reform Convention, held at Columbus, Ohio, and also the convention of Liberal Republicans, called for the first of May, 1872, at Cincinnati.

The resolution proved an inexhaustible subject for discussion, participated in freely and earnestly, if not eloquently, by Messrs. Pinchback, Ransier, Cardoza, Burch, Martin and Harralson. Mr. Pinchback opposed the passage of the resolution at this time on the ground that such action would be premature and impolitic. He believed it was intended to strike at a good man—the Hon. Charles Sumner—one of the best friends the colored men ever had. Mr. Pinchback continued his speech as follows:

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention—I regret exceedingly that the remark made in reference to Mr. Sumner has caused so much debate. It was not my intention that it should. My former remarks on this resolution had a tendency to define my position, and I intended that the whole subject matter should be discussed calmly, but this, it seems, is not the case, for the gentleman from Alabama has made personal and extremely pointed allusions to me individually, which I deem necessary, as a representative of the colored people, to answer.

The gentleman who has just sat down remarked that General, now President, Grant was the only man that could save the colored man. I beg leave to differ with the gentleman. Mr. Grant has no more power to "save" the colored people than Charles Sumner. Who is Mr. Grant? Where was he when Mr. Sumner was fighting and struggling for the colored people? General Grant was not then known but to a small circle of acquaintances, and, sir, I consider the assault upon Mr. Sumner in the Senate chamber an outrage. Like the beautiful and expressive quotation from Shakespeare. "It was the unkindest cut of all," for lo! when they struck Charles Sumner, they struck though the body of every true colored man in the United States. [Applause]

General Grant, it must be remembered, is simply a servant of the people. If he is elected President, I do not doubt but that he will serve to the best of his ability. I was once a warm supporter of Grant. I was one that attended the convention in 1868 and helped to nominate him. I gave him my unwavering support, but since he has occupied his pround position I do not like his administration. I did not and do not think that he gave the attention or done his duty as a Republican to the colored race.

Now some of the gentlemen here smile scornfully when Charles Sumner;s name is mentioned as a rival to General Grant's Presidential aspirations, but let them remember that "time works wonders." We little thought that "such things could be" a few years ago, as now do actually appear. It is but a question of time. The meeting of the Cincinnati convention will determine the question, and there are thousands and thousand who are waiting for the choice of the Cincinnati Republican Convention, and I say here, gentlemen, and to the lobby, that it does not seem at all wonderful to me that Charles Sumner should be nominated for President by this Cincinnati convention, and I would support him even if there were forty thousand Grants.

I do not intend to be the suppliant tool of any party or clique, and to tell you of the knavery and intrigues of this Grant party. The acting chairman of this convention has been telegraphed to see that the convention "runs right/" He is made the tool in his official capacity. He must see "that the convention runs right." Now, what does that sentence mean?

The acting chairman, Mr. Ingraham, here stated that he had received no communication from President Grant.

Mr. Pinchback—I know it was, not from President Grant individually; he would be a fool to trust his signature under a telegraph dispatch to you. The President did not send it, but his brother-in-law, Casey, did. Now what is the difference? I tell you colored men, that the time has come when you must be men, not the tools of General

Grant, or his party, or any other man's. [Applause.] We are sent here to represent the people of our race. Sent here to state our grievances, and if possible, suggest and carry out a remedy, not to think of your individuality. We must wipe out all the obnoxious and objectionable impediments to the welfare of the colored race. That we may project a basis of equal representation in the Congress of the United States, and more especially a full representation of the Southern States. [Applause.] I do not intend to speak upon this question now, as it is entirely out of place. I want to keep down all superfluous debate, and speak to the resolution, but my distinguished friend from Alabama was pertinent enough to drag into his discussion the executive of the State of Louisiana, Governor Warmoth. What has Governor Warmoth got to do with this question? He also says I am one of the "needles" of Louisiana; I am "sharp." Why, gentlemen, in our early struggles, when it was almost death to say you were a Republican in this Southern country, I was in his State speaking, and urging Republican sentiments. I would like to know why he should call me a needle. He knows that before the blacks had a vote I was fighting the wrongs of his race.

The gentleman referred to here arose, and said that the first Republican speech he ever heard was delivered by Mr. Pinchback, and that it had roused him to the highest pitch of enthusiasm, and that he literally owed his seat in the convention to his exertion.

Mr. Pinchback—I thank you, sir, for the compliment. I do not understand whether or not your remarks were meant in a sarcastic manner. Now, in reference to this resolution which has caused so much discussion; the convention will pass this resolution, or a similar one, and I want every member to vote intelligently. I can do so now. I may vote for it, or may not. I asked that no gags be put upon this convention; that every member would conscientiously vote and do what they thought best for the interest of the Republican party. And I say here, gentlemen, that I think that if the majority of the delegates favor the resolution, the minority should vote; but I am positive that when the question comes to a direct vote it will be voted upon with unanimity, and I say that with the majority vote in this house, so will go the majority of the colored people.

While in Washington, I had a pleasant interview with Mr. Sumner, and I asked him with a direct question, "Whether he would support the Philadelphia nominee for President, or not" and he answered me by saying, "I am not prepared to answer that question." I state this upon authority. I then said to him, "In case President Grant is nominated, will you support him?" His answer was: "I can not tell."

Mr. Ransier, or South Carolina—Oh! he's standing on the fence.

Mr. Pinchback—No, he is not standing upon the fence. He has not given any opinion. In fact, he has not made up his mind.

My honorable friend from Alabama has said that President Grant was the only man that could protect them. I dislike very much to hear any such remarks. We are an American people, and we should look to ourselves for protection. Of course, the President has the advantage of the law, and he can say there is a law that protects you. But the question naturally arises: Does he and will he protect you?

Then we have heard a great deal of talk about civil rights. Why, sirs, our Legislature has enacted and made laws which would secure civil rights, but they are not almost useless upon our statute books today.

After alluding to his supporting a good Republican candidate, Mr. Pinchback retired amid the hearty applause of the conventionists.

On motion of Mr. Young, of Louisiana, Governor Warmoth was invited to a seat on the platform of the convention, and Mr. Young and Mr. Cuney, of Texas, were appointed a committee to escort his excellency to a seat.

After Mr. Pinchback had concluded his remarks, on motion of Mr. Lewis, further action on the resolution under discussion was postponed until to-day at eleven o'clock, when it was hoped a larger number of delegates would be present.

On motion of Mr. Lewis, the following rules for the conduct of the convention, reported by the committee on rules, were adopted:

1. The convention shall meet each day at ten o'clock A. M., and adjourn at 2 P. M. The evening session shall begin at 7:30 P. M., and close at 10 P. M.

2. No member shall speak more than twice on any question, nor more than fifteen minutes each time, without the consent of the convention.

3. All resolutions or amendments thereunto shall be reduced to writing.

4. A report from the business committee shall be at all times in order, provided that said report shall go upon the table without motion, to remain there until called up in order by motion.

5. The rules of parliamentary practice usual in deliberative bodies of this nature shall prevail, except in such cases as are provided for in these rules.




The convention adjourned at three o'clock, to meet again at half past seven in the evening.


A good deal of the third day's proceedings of this convention was consumed in quibbling about points of order.

The following additional members presented their credentials, and were admitted to seats: M. W. Smith, Joseph B. Brooks and F. G. Barbadoes, of the District of Columbia; Daniel Seals, of California; William A. Jones, of New York; Edward Brown, of Texas.

Mr. Rapier, of Alabama, presented a resolution, which was referred to the committee on resolutions, resolving that hereafter there shall be no more colored conventions in this country; that the colored man in the future will be content to wipe out color.

An effort was made by Mr. David Gordon, of Kansas, to have the election of Mr. Fred Douglass as president of the convention canceled, and a new president elected, in consequence of an apprehension that that gentleman would not attend the convention. The convention refused to accede to the proposition unitl it could be more definitely ascertained that Mr. Douglass would not be here.

The special order of the day - the resolution of Mr. Rapier, of Alabama, repudiating the Labor Reform and Cincinnati conventions was then called up, and its consideration deferred until twelve o'clock.

A telegram from the Hon. John M. Langston was read to the convention. It was addressed to Colonel J. H. Ingraham, first vice president of the colored convention, and reads as follows:

I have just returned from Cincinnati en route to convention. Prevented form coming by freshet. Douglass is on the way. Let our demand be "legal equality." This will be seconded by passage of civil rights bill. Congress will not adjourn without its passage. It will probably be done next week.

Mr. F. G. Barbados informed the convention that Mr. Fred Douglass and party would arrive about twelve o'clock last night. They had been detained on the road forty-eight hours by freshets.

On motion of Mr. Turner, of Alabama, a committee of three was appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the deep regret of the colored people of this country at the death of the late Lieutenant Governor Dunn. The chairman appointed Messrs. Turner, Frost and Ruby said committee.

At twelve o'clock the special order of the day—Mr. Rapier's resolution—was again called up and read.

Mr. Pinchback offered the following as an amendment to the same:

Resolved, That Hon. Charles Sumner, by his disinterested advocacy of our rights, and his consummate statesmanship in securing a recognition of these rights in the constitution of the United States, has endeared himself to the colored people of the nation, and until Hon. Charles Sumner shall himself announce his secession from the Republican party, we shall hold him to be as he has ever been, one of the purest and ablest members of our great party.

The chair ruled the amendment out of order, but stated that it could be considered separately.

Mr. Pinchback appealed from the decision of the chair.

Pending the appeal, Mr. Ruffin, of Massachusetts, obtained the floor, and spoke at length, eulogizing the course of Mr. Sumner, and depicting in choice oratory the noble part he had taken in defense of the rights of the down-trodden colored people of this country in the past; denouncing at all times their deep wrongs, and still contending that justice shall be done them. Mr. Ruffin declared himself to be a Republican, and that intended to follow the fortunes of the Republican party, and was convinced no man in the country better understood Republican principle and acted up to them than Mr. Sumner. Mr. Ruffin urged with much force the blighting effects of the Democratic victory next fall, and thought the convention should not waste its time in creating divisions in the Republican party, but should go to work at once and demand those civil rights that have thus far not been fully accorded to the colored people of this country; that is what this convention was called for and that work alone should occupy its valuable time. "This," said Mr. Ruffin, "is what the Hon. Charles Sumner has been working form and is working for now, white

this convention is wrangling about far less important matters to the great mass of colored people."

Mr. Jacobs, of Mississippi, followed Mr. Ruffin, and spoke in opposition to the passage of Mr. Rapier's resolution condemning the Cincinnati convention. He said this was not a one-man government. No one knew who would be the candidate of the Philadelphia convention, or what would be its platform. Nor did any one know what would be the complexion of the Cincinnati convention, or who would be its candidates; and until these things were known it was not meet for members of this convention to be taking action upon subjects entirely foreign to the objects for which it was called.

Mr. J. Sella Martin, of Massachusetts, thought Mr. Sumner had as good a chance for the Philadelphia nomination for president as any other man. He was opposed to the Cincinnati convention because he thought it was to be the opening wedge to divide the Republican party. He did not think recent converts to Republicanism as good as such well-tried Republicans as Mr. Sumner, and was opposed to hob-nobbing with men we did not know, and had no reason to believe would assist in enforcing the civil rights of the colored people.

Mr. Burch was in favor of Mr. Pinchback's amendment. He thought it should pass, to show that the convention was not opposed to Mr. Sumner; that the colored people still had confidence in that great champion of human rights.

Mr. Stevens, of Virginia, offered a resolution as a substitute to both the resolution and amendment before the convention.

The chair decided that this resolution was also out of order, and from this decision Mr. Pinchback also appealed, and spoke at considerable length in defense of his position, and condemning the man- in which amendment to the original resolution had been treated. He contended, in some very pertinent remarks that the convention must be governed in its action by parliamentary rules.

Mr. Clarke, of Ohio, stated that while he though the decision of the chair correct in regard to Mr. Pinchback's amendment, he believed the decision of the chair in regard to Mr. Stevens' resolution wrong; that was offered as a substitute, and he believed it should have been entertained.

Mr. Pinchbank withdrew his appeal from

the decision, but in doing so desired to make some closing remarks. He said his conduct in the convention the previous day had been misrepresented by the National Republican of this city. This paper had so repeatedly villified and misrepresented him that, under ordinary circumstances, he did not feel called upon to refute its slimy and villainous slanders. But he would call the attention of members of the convention to the last attack of the filthy sheet that pretends to be Republican because it pretends to relate what occurred in the convention. Members have only to read the statement of the paper in question in regard to his conduct in the convention the previous day to find out that it has willfully and maliciously misrepresented him. That paper had done all it could to drive him out of the Republican party, but that can not be done. It is true he does not favor the renomination of Mr. Grant, but he did not think this could be construed into sufficient cause for reading him out of the Republican party.

Upon being interrogated as to whether he would support Mr. Grant's re-election if he received the nomination of the Philadelphia convention, Mr. Pinchback answered yes. Upon being further interrogated as to whether he would do so in the case Mr. Sumner was the Presidential nominee of the Cincinnati convention, Mr. Pinchback very candidly answered no—explaining, however that he did not consider Mr. Sumner's nomination by the Cincinnati convention at all probable; but he still admitted that in the event of such an contingency he should undoubtedly support MR. sumner of the Presidency in preference to Mr. Grant.

Mr. Harralson, of Alabama, said that as he had been misrepresented by the Picayune, he also desired to place himself right. In his remarks the previous day he did not mean to denounce Mr. Sumner, but Mr. Blair, who is undoubtedly a Democrat; and what he (Mr. Harralson) said was, that if Mr. Sumner was going to leave the Republican party and go with Mr. Blair, why, he (Mr. Harralson) would be compelled to let Mr. Sumner go his own way even though he might regret to part with him.

Mr. Harralson then inquired of the chair whether all the amendments to the original resolution had been disposed of, and, upon being answered in the affirmative, he moved the adoption of the resolution under a call for the previous question.

Mr. Pinchbank asked to have the vote on the resolution delayed until to-day, as he held in his hand a dispatch from Mr. Fred Douglass, stating that he would arrive here in a few hours.

Mr. Cardoza, the acting chairman, asked the convention if it was prepared for the previous question. The question was then put and decided in the affirmative. Under this decision the chair announced that through the operation of the previous question the introducer of the resolution had the right to speak one hour.

Mr. Rapier then availed himself of his privilege to close the debate, and after speaking thirty minutes in support of his resolution, yielded the balance of his time to such other gentlemen as were anxious to say a few words before taking a vote upon the resolution.

At the expiration of the hour a vote upon the resolution was demanded, and the yeas and nays called for. The resolution was adopted—yeas 27, nays 17.

The convention then unanimously adopted Mr. Pinchback's resolution indorsing Mr. Sumner, and adjourned until half-past seven in the evening.


The convention was called to order last evening at eight o'clock. After the usual preliminaries, Mr. Stevens, of Virginia, moved that the regular order of the day be postponed, owing to the great pressure of business. Amended by Mr. J. Sella Martin, by offering the following resolution:

Resolved, That the speakers who have been invited to speak this evening have declined on account of the great pressure of business.

After some little filibustering the question was lost.

Mr. Cardoza said that it was understood that the convention would adjourn on Saturday. He hoped that it would not, as a large number of distinguished gentlemen would not arrive until that day. The convention decided not to adjourn until Monday.

A telegram was received from J. J. Spellman, a delegate, dated Jackson, Mississippi, who said he would be here on Saturday; also stating that Frederick Douglass had passed Jackson.

Two resolutions were offered indorsing President Grant's administration and asking that the Philadelphia convention renominate him. The resolutions were sent to their appropriate committees.

Considerable discussion arose in reference to receiving resolutions, as the evening was set aside for speeches. A few of the gentlemen who were not appointed as the orators seemed anxious to relieve themselves of their eloquence and electrify the convention with brilliant essays. This did not suit a number of the members, but gave the ambitious elocutionists a chance to talk about their rights as conventionists. Good sense finally prevailed, and business went on. Resolutions came up, among them one from J. Henri Burch, which Mr. Cardoza and a number of gentlemen objected to reading at that time.

The chairman seemed determined to put through the resolutions before the "spouters" could give vent to their indignation in burning words. This did not please those in who wished to get through their speeches before they forgot them. In this he was successful, for the business continued until all the resolutions were in the secretary's hand. The business was finally concluded and the chairman of the committee on orators announced as the first speaker the Hon. George L. Ruffin, of Massachusetts. who said in substance: Coming from his New England home to this Southern country, his first thoughts were to inquire into the condition, the prosperity and the hopes of people he was identified with, and he was pleased to find so many of them holding positions of honor and trust, and esteemed by all the population. He spoke of great deeds colored men had accomplished, and said that the movement was inaugurated in Massachusetts, and lo, what has been the result!

Louisiana has a black Lieutenant Governor [applause] and one-half of the Legislature is black. He then referred to the civil rights which now occupied the attention of the leading men in that direction. Under

the constitution the negro was entitled to all the rights of an American citizen.

That these rights were denied no one could doubt. It was plainly evinced in Louisiana, for what chance has a poor man against a rich corporation? What men who held proud positions, men of influence, would help them? They, the poor negroes, had not the slightest chance to win a verdict in a court of justice.

There is a clause in the constitution of the United States which provides for this. It provides money for the agrieved party to prosecute his claim, but it is not done. It needs more legislative enactments on this point. He wanted to know what was the use, what honor was there in holding such positions as Lieutenant Governor or similar positions, when they are liable to be insulted by some low, mean persons. He wanted the convention to engraft such resolutions as would secure to them their just rights, and while they were doing this good work, to give some attention to the poor slaves in Cuba. It was too near the United States. He then gave a fearful description of the tortures and outrages perpetrated in the isle of Cuba. He appealed to the convention to work for the interest of the race they represented; to throw off the delusion that had gained such predominance in the minds of certain individuals, that the negroes could not be elevated—that they were not susceptible of education and improvement. Show to the white people that this was false.

After the gentleman had concluded a vote of thanks was tendered to him.

The next speaker introduced was Hon. G. T. Ruby, of Texas, who, in an eloquent and able manner, spoke of the wrongs inflicted upon his race; of the debasing influence of slavery, which so disgraced the United States, had upon the black men; it had to a certain extent made them incapable of demanding their rights, and there were few who had enforced their rights. He spoke of the insults that the colored man, no matter how proud his position, was subjected to. This, of course, must be remedied. The colored man must vindicate his manhood. There is a feeling, said he, in the breast of almost every colored man, that if he could be something else besides black, he would be so. They were ashamed of their race. To be called "black" is to insult them. They did not like the odium that is attached to the name of "black." This feeling was brought on by slavery. It was its influence that made them feel so. This was not manly, yet it was true.

He gave striking illustrations of the wrongs that were imposed upon the colored race, and said that in the future those who case their stigma upon them now would feel deeply the degradation thrown upon our American people. The question of civil rights does not mingle with that of social equality.

Hon. Jerry Harralson, of Alabama, next addressed the audience in his characteristic manner, eliciting much applause for his witty and salient points.


The principal feature of the fourth day's proceedings of this convention was the advent of Mr. Douglass - the intellectual giant of his race in this country. His fame as an orator, as a man of far more than ordinary mind, and a philanthropist, had preceded his coming and prepared our people, without distinction of color, for beholding a noble specimen of mankind. And all who had the pleasure yesterday of hearing his eloquent address, upon taking the chair as president of the convention, will testify that their highest expectations of the man have been fully realized.

Long before the hour for the assembling of the convention, the people began to assemble in the hall of the House of Representatives, definite information having been received that Mr. Douglass had arrived and was the guest of Lieutenant Governor Pinchback. Just before twelve o'clock—the time for calling the convention to order—the venerable form of the distinguished visitor was seen to enter the hall of the convention accompanied by the Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana and others of the committee appointed to meet Mr. Douglass at the railroad depot. The presence of Mr. Douglass was the signal for a round of applause from the very large congregation convened to greet his advent.

At twelve o'clock Mr. Ingraham called the convention to order, and instructed the secretary to call the roll. A quorum being present, the Rev. Mr. Thompson was invited to offer up a prayer in behald of the assembled representatives of the colored people, and the cause which had brought them together. He prayed that they might have the wisdom, discretion and patriotism necessary to accomplish the great ends that had brought them together.

Mr. Pinchback moved that a committee of three he appointed to escort Mr. Douglass to the chair. His motion prevailed, and the chair appointed Messrs. Pinchback, Ransier and Myers said committee. Mr. Douglass was accordingly conducted to the chair and introduced to the convention by Mr. Ingraham in a few appropriate remarks. Mr. Douglass then proceeded to address the convention. He thanked the chairman for the very kind and flattering manner in which he had introduced him to the convention, and returned thanks to members for the distinguished honor they had conferred upon him in making him president of a national convention of colored men, He said he felt satisfied

that there was at least twenty gentlemen present better able than himself from experience and intellectual ability to fill the place. He felt that this preference had been made more in consideration of his humble services in endeavoring to obtain a proper recognition of the rights of his race than for any extraordinary ability he possesses. After explaining the reasons that had prevented his sooner arrival, he proceeded to state his views in regard to the rights and privileges of colored men, It was the business of the convention to urge upon Congress and the people of this country all those civil and political rights for the colored people that are enjoyed by the white people. While doing this Mr. Douglass did not fail to acknowledge the great benefits that had been bestowed upon his race by startling events of the past few years.

The time was not far back, he said, when colored men in this country were not permitted to meet in political convention. He then recited an anecdote illustrating how his race formerly appeared in public in New Orleans. It was the ease of a colored man in the days of slavery. He had been arrested and taken before a recorder on a charge of some petty offense. The charge was not sustained, and the poor colored man was told that he could go, being gently admonished, at the same time, not to appear there again. The poor colored man gladly availed himself of the opportunity to escape this kind of public notoriety, remarking at the same time that he would not have graced the court with his presence if he had not been dragged there by a police officer.

Mr. Douglass then proceeded to descant upon the marvelous changes that had taken place in regard to the negro in this country within the past few years. He eloquently and truthfully depicted these almost miraculous changes. Now, he said, by the logic of events and the blood of patriots, the negro was no longer lawful game for the slave hunters and oppressors of his race. The changes were indeed wonderful. The country does not seem the same. The dark clouds of slavery no longer overhang it, and the air we breathe inspires us with a love of liberty. But colored men, like other men, might be forgetful, and he would therefore remind them of the trouble and danger it had cost the country to give them the boom of freedom and that degree of equal rights they have attained. Mr. Douglass would impress this seriously upon colored men, in order that their conduct in the future may prove that their conduct in the future may prove that they are deserving of the blessings that have already been conferred upon them. They have been invested with the mantle of manhood, and they can no longer be hunted, and harrassed from Lake Erie to the Gulf of Mexico. History in Europe, where men fought for freedom, gave no such extraordinary results. Tyranny and despotism had attempted to step in between man and his God, and make slaves of men. This day has passed. Now every man was a freeman-was free to act for himself. But Mr. Douglass did not de-

sire to rake up the dead past, further than useful lessons could be furnished for the future. He could not forget such men as Garrison, Phillips and Garrit Smith. They were the pioneers of the abolition of African slavery in this country.

Mr. Douglass then went into a history of the parties that had fought slavery in this country, going back to the earliest days of the anti-slavery party, when but few men rallied under its standard, up to 1856, when the Republican party was organized for the purpose of resisting the further growth of slavery, and in 1860, when the Republican party was blessed with its first victory under the immortal Lincoln. After this, and when the struggle for the Union was successful, came other struggles. It was then asserted that this was a white man's government, and that the negro was not wanted. He was not wanted as a soldier nor as a citizen. But Mr. Douglass thought the colored man might as well put in a claim as anybody else. He had got the cartridge-box and the ballot box, and he is now contending for the knowledge-box. He has not obtained these functions of the citizen by common consent. He has had to struggle for them. Mr. Lincoln, whose memory the colored people would never cease to cherish, was not at first in favor of the immediate emancipation of slaves. It was not until after the war had actually commenced and was desolating the land that Mr. Lincoln became convinced of the necessity and justice of issuing his proclamation declaring slavery at an end in this country.

Mr. Douglass then spoke upon the subject of civil rights, and said that he had not fully realized the condition of the colored people South until he left Washington to attend the convention in New Orleans. The indignities that had been heaped upon him and others in endeavoring to reach here convinced him that something more had to be done before the equal rights of all could be enforced.

In conclusion he said: In reference to this question of nationality, I do not care

from what nation a man may come. He may be a German, an Irishman or an Englishman, and if he is fighting for the common cause of liberty he is an American. I am a German, if Germans are fighting for the liberty: I am an Irishman, if Irishmen are struggling for liberty; an Englishman, if fighting for the same cause, and an American, fighting for the freedom and liberty of every creature.

I admire the Republican party because it is a party of progress. It is led by men whom I admire; yet there are other leaders beside President Grant—like the Hon. Carl Schurz, Trumball and others—men whom I would say nothing against: men who are fighting for States rights. This policy I do not like, for is in direct opposition to liberty, and any party or men that are opposed to liberty to them I am no friend. They are opposed to progress. I am in no sympaty with principle. Yet these gentlemen are honorable men, and I do not want to hear one word against them by any member in this colored convention.

We have had the rights of American citizens since the year 1776. The Declaration of Independence gave us that right, for it says "all men were born free and equal." We have our thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments to the constitution, but that does not cover all the ground necessary to secure civil rights. What benefit do we derive when men are placed in power who are in direct opposition to their execution? But to whom are we indebted for the rights we enjoy? Some say to the State governments. I say not. We owe more to the federal than state governments.

What good to us our twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendment? What benefit are they to us in securing civil rights? We have had rights—had them long ago by the influence of these amendments. You know it. I know it. Our party, like a bark, is tempest-tossed, but it is the deck of the ship, and all the other parties are the outside, in the sea. Now, my object is, although powerful as the Republican party is, their ambition must be to go higher. I am here to tell you my idea of how this party may do this—to tell you that the party must go up higher. [Applause.] Though General Grant is a very able man, an honorable man, a skillful administrator, and I intend to cast my vote for him for the next President, he learns wisdom at the feet of Charles Sumner. [Applause.] He is everywhere a majority—in the sight of God a majority. He does not only represent a State, but he represents the entire party of progress, and the colored people of the United States. [Applause.] He is no flickering light. For twenty five years has he labored for the Republican party, and he will never cease to do so, and I say now that may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; may the day that I was born be accursed if I cease to support and honor that great statesman, Charles Sumner. [Applause.] He is everywhere a majority-in the sight of God a majority. He does not only represent a State, but he represents the entire party of progress, and the colored people of the United States. [Applause.] He is no flickering light. For twenty five years has he labored for the Republican party, and he will never cease to so do, and I say now that may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; may the day that I was born be accursed if I cease to support and honor that great statesman, Charles Sumner.

On motion of Mr. Martin the entire convention arose and gave three hearty cheers for Charles Sumner.

Immediately after Mr. Douglass has concluded Mr. J. Sella Martin rose to a question of privilege. He read the strictures of the Times in regard to the remarks of a member of the convention, made on Friday last. They related to the Germans of this country, and were only the expression of the sentiments of an individual member of this convention. Therefore, Mr. Martin thought the strictures of the Times very unfair. In connection with this subject he introduced the following resolution, which passed unanimously:

Resolved, That as certain unfortunate allusions to Hon. Carl Schurz, by speakers, have been seized on by friendly journals as an occasion to misrepresent the sentiments of this convention, it is fit and proper for us to repudiate any depreciation of the German or any other race of people, and to express our gratitude for the noble part the German have taken in laboring and fighting for our emancipation and enfranchisement.

Mr. T. M. Chester rose to a privileged question. He read from the Times of Saturday morning an article reflecting on the colored people, and offered a resolution intended as an answer to the Times. The resolution was referred to the committee on resolutions.

Mr. Clarke, of Ohio, chairman of the committee appointed to draft a civil rights address, made a report. The address was read, and Mr. Downing objecting to it as not being explicit enough on the subject of education, it was referred back to committee for the purpose of having such changes made as might be deemed necessary.

Mr. Ransier, chairman of the committee on platform and resolutions, made a report, and it was adopted by the convention.

The committee on civil rights address made an amended report, but as objections were still made to it, its further consideration was deferred until Monday, when it is made the special order of the day.

The convention then adjourned until half-past seven in the evening.


The convention was called to order by the president last evening at half-past seven.

After several minor circumstances, a resolution was offered providing that the session of Monday next be held with closed doors. This gave the "spouters" a chance to talk about holding secret sessions. Many thought it below the dignity of a colored convention to hold an executive session. The motion was finally laid upon the table.

Some discussion arose in reference to appointing Mr. Frederick Douglass chairman of the committee on civil rights to petition Congress to pass the civil rights bill, in place of F.G. Barbadoes.

Mr. Douglass declined to serve as chairman.

Speeches were then made by A. M. Greene. C. H. Langston and H. M. Turner, after which the convention adjourned.


The proceedings of the fifth and last day of this convention were confined principally to discussions on the "platform" submitted by the committee on platform and resolutions.

The convention was called to order at half-past ten o'clock by the Hon. Fred. Douglass.

Mr. J. Sella Martin rose to a question of privilege. He asked the secretary to read an extract that appeared in the Times of yesterday morning, taken from the German Gazette. He said the purport of the article was calculated to depreciate the talent and intelligence of the colored representatives here assembled, place the negro element of this country in a wrong attitude, and misinterpret the objects of the convention. He understood the objects of this convention to be the securement of the same civil rights for the colored people that are enjoyed by other citizens of this country. He denied the assertion that this convention had been called either to build up a negro party to threaten the integrity of the Republican party or in any way act in antagonism to the Caucasian race. As he understood it, the object of the convention was to secure a fair and full opportunity to show that the colored people of this country are capable of improvement,

not to arrogate a superiority they do not possess. The very fact, said Mr. Martin, that unfriendly journals were throwing obstructions in the way of the development of negro intelligence and a full recognition of their rights, proves that they are fearful, if we are given an equal opportunity with others, we may contradict, by the progress we make, their assertions of negro inferiority. In consideration of this fact, and to place the colored people of this country right in the eyes of the world, he would ask that this convention disavow the charge made by the German Gazette, to wit: That this convention desires to build up a negro party in this country.

Mr. Clarke, of Ohio, followed in the same strain, deprecating the idea that any such motive should be imputed to the convention as a body.

Mr. Burch, of Louisiana, would only ask for the negro a fair and square chance in the race of life. To fully appreciate the slime and spleen that animated the articles in the Times and German Gazette in regard to this convention, they should be read in full. When the men who control those papers would compare the "twaddle" of this convention to the proceedings of the mass meeting recently held in Cooper Institute. New York, they show the real animus of their motive for misrepresenting this convention.

Mr. Burch thought the colored people had no ill-feeling toward the followers of either John Mitchell or Carl Schurz. He believed there was no disposition to build up a separate party in this country to be known as the negro party. He would insist on the adoption of Mr. Martin's resolution, disavowing that the object of the convention was to build up a negro party. The resolution to that effect was then placed before the convention and unanimously adopted.

Mr. T. Morris Chester, of Pennsylvania, from the committee on platform and resolutions, read a lengthy report, and Mr. Pinchback moved its adoption.

Mr. Rapier. of Alabama, would like to have stricken from the report that portion that condemned members of Congress for not sustaining the civil rights bill when before Congress, known as the supplementary civil rights bill.

Mr. Clarke, of Ohio thought: it impolitic to have anything in the platform calculated to embarrass the republican party in the coming Presidential election. That party was not able to carry any dead weight in the race about to be run. its success next fall is of more importance to the colored people than any attempt at this time to force social equality. He would have them look at this matter in a sensible way, and not attempt to do anything that is calculated to bring defeat upon the party.

Mr. Green of the District of Columbia, thought the time had passed when the million of negro voters in this country are to be deterred from casting their votes or asking their rights. he thought the colored people could not afford to lower the dignity of their manhood. He said the time had passed when bullies and bravos in any section of the country--either in the words of cities or the precincts of the country--could longer deter freemen from exercising their rights. Mr. Green was in favor of the platform as reported by the committee, and hoped that gentlemen would not attempt to dodge the responsibility of manhood and the enlarged principles laid down in the platform now being discussed. he was opposed to lowering the political standard of the Republican party. He thought such action would do as much good to the Cincinnati convention as harm to the Philadelphia republicans, who will meet in that city the coming summer to make choice of a Presidential candidate, and believed the best way to make the Cincinnati movement a success was for the friends of the Philadelphia convention to lower their standard on the subject of civil rights. He hoped the present convention would not make any concessions to the Ku Klux rebel element of the country. He wanted the platform clear and explicit on the subject of civil rights.

Mr. Turner, of Georgia, was also pointedly in favor of enforcing the civil rights of the colored people, and hoped the convention would not compromise its manhood by striking from the platform now under consideration the very just rebuke administered to these members of Congress who have been sent there by negro votes, and from fear or otherwise have failed to support the supplementary civil rights bill presented in Congress by Hon. Charles Sumner.

Mr. Brooks, of Arkansas, hoped that the convention would not adjourn until it bad expressed itself fully in favor of the enforcement of civil rights for the colored people. He was in favor of the platform as reported by the committee.

Mr. Harralson, of Alabama, was not for threatening members of Congress. He had seen just a good men as his friend from Georgia (Mr. Turner), who were also anxious to die for principle—when making a speech; but when the time came to die by the hand of Ku-Klux they were not ready—no more ready to die than himself, who certainly had no desire to hand in his checks in that way. Mr. Harralson did not think it good policy to threaten anybody. He thought w=that when one time comes we could get rid of men who had not done their whole duty; but we should d this without threatening anybody or making divisions in the party.

Mr. Jones of Arkansas, was opposed to "striking out." whatever gentlemen might think of the "policy" of letting the platform go forth to the world as reported, he thought it right that sentiments and acts of the convention on the subject of civil rights should be known. He would not have colored men shrink from their duty, but speak out boldly upon a subject of such vital importance to them, He was opposed to striking out of any portion of the address on civil rights, and though if the party must go down it should go down contending for principle and honor.

Mr. Pinchback believed that if any member of Congress had failed to do his duty in speaking and voting for the supplementary civil rights bill of Mr. Sumner, he was responsible for such conduct, and would be held responsible when the time come by the colored voters of this State. Mr. Pinchback spoke at length, showing that nothing was to be gained by a timorous course. He went into a history of the condition of the colored people of the South in 1865. He said he was in Alabama in that year, and was cognizant of some of the outrages that were then perpetrated on colored men by Union soldiers disguised in rebel uniforms. Colored men were frequently attacked, beat and robbed in the streets of Mobile, and they were actually afraid to make their grievance known. He remonstrated against their quietly submitting to such treatment, and at least succeeded in getting them to hold a meeting to protect against the out-

rages perpetrated upon them and make the some known to the military commander of the post. One of the very men who opposed the calling of the meeting, because he considered it dangerous, and called him (Mr. Pinchback) crazy or something else even worse for advising such a course, is now a member of Congress, and when he (Mr. Pinchback) was in Washington recently, that very member of Congress had acknowledged that the course taken by the speaker in Alabama in 1865 had been the means of ameliorating the condition of colored men in that State and sending him to Congress, and Mr. Pinchback said the name of that member of Congress is Turner. Mr. Pinchback said he was satisfied that nothing is to be gained by a timorous and time-serving course. He was in favor of the colored people speaking out like men for all those rights belong to American citizenship.

Messrs. Martin, Ransier, and Burch continued the discussion in favor of civil rights, and were followed by Mr. Douglass, who spoke substantially as follows:

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention—I do not propose to occupy the attention of this convention for more than one or two minutes, but I must say to those who are opposing this section of the report of the committee on civil rights, I do not wish to do injustice to my distinguished and exemplary friend Mr. Clarke, for I know him to be a man in every respect worthy. He is a gentleman who has been battling for this same cause of liberty that I have, but I must say that he has only shown the conservative side of this question, and he must have known that this was a radial convention. He has given his views in regard to this supplemental civil rights bill, form which I must differ a little with him. His idea of the Republican platform differs a little from mine, but I do not think that Mr. Clarke would do anything or say anything that would prove disastrous to the Republican party or its principles. I want the Republican cause to hoist its standard; I want it to come higher, for it is, as I said before, the party of progress, but I want it ti have a solid platform that will stand firm in the coming election.

Now, in reference to this question of civil rights, I will relate to you an anecdote. While in Philadelphia I was nominated as a delegate to the loyalist convention, which was to meet in the above named city. While attending to my duty as a member outside of the convention, the delegation came to me in the name of the Indiana delegation, and asked me to waive my right—to give up my seat—not that they objected to sit beside me, for one of them said he would occupy the seat next to mine on any other occasion but at the present time; they could not bear the idea of having a colored man hold a seat in that convention, under the circumstances; they did not like the idea of the amalgamation. I said to them "Gentlemen, you might as well as me to put a pistol to my head and blow my brains out," and gentlemen, I kept my seat and carried my points to this loyalist convention. [Applause] I, as a Republican, will never give up my principles. I will never cease to work for the interests of my race. Let weak-kneed Republicans do it; I never will. You want a civil rights bill passed that will enable your wife and family to occupy decent carriages on the railroads, and not be thrust into a dirty smoking car, your wife's clothes and your own to be covered with the filthy mass that surrounds such accommodations. I have

talked with railroad managers, and they have told me that they did not object, but their passengers might.

Another incident I will relate to you. While in St. Louis I went to Planters' Hotel and registered my name. I had no more than turned my back than the clerk scratched my name out of the book. I asked him why he did so. He did not answer. I asked him again. He said: "I have no answer to give." I turned around to him and said: "I understand, sir. You can give no reason. You decline to give a reason, for if you were to give any it would be an infamous one." So it is, my friends. They can give no reasons but infamous ones There is no prejudice against color. You might go into the finest society, sit in a carriage and beside a lovely lady, her hand covered with gold and her neck sparkling with diamonds, but you must go as a servant, as menial. There is no prejudice against color, but this idea of social equality these with people can not bear.

In reference to this resolution I hope the members will vote unanimously. Let there not be a dissenting voice. Stand by civil rights. Look out for the black man's rights. Do whatever you think conducive to their interest and welfare.

While I am up I may ask speak of General Grant. He has done, a great deal for me. He has, by the iron hand, stayed bloodshed in this Southern country. He has kept thousands of my race form being assassiuated?. He has in every way showed his appreciation. He may be a little crotchety, but many of those crochets are influenced by his wife, Mrs. Grant.

After again appealing to the convention to stand by platform and adopt such measures as would secure success to the Republican party, he retired amid the cheers of the immense crowd present.

Mr. Clarke, of Ohio, answered in a very able manner the remarks of Mr. Douglass, and was followed by Mr. Downing, of Rhode Island who was satisfied to have colored men wait any longer for a recognition of his rights.

Mr. Turner then obtained the floor and moved the previous question, but the motion was withdrawn in order to give Mr. Green an opportunity to offer the following additional clause to the platform:

That white men professing strong Radical sentiments and elected to Congress by overwhelming majorities of colored voters were found voting against the supplementary civil rights bill in the Senate of the United States, we honor that manly exhibition of devotion to the principles of the Republican party which influenced the Hon. Schuyler Colfax, Vice President of the United States, to honor the cause of justice by recording his vote, as President of the senate, in favor of equality before the law, as indicted in the supplementary civil rights bill as it passed the Senate by virtue of the afores? casting vote.

The following is the report of the committee on platform and resolutions submitted by Governor Ransier, of South Carolina, which, together with the above additional clause passed unanimously:

Regretting the necessity which has called into existence a colored convention, and deeply sensible of the responsibilities which have been intrusted to our consideration, we hereby acknowledge our gratitude for past triumphs in behalf of equal rights, and respectfully submit our peculiar grievances to the immediate attention of the American people in the following platform and resolutions:

1. We thank God, the friends of universal liberty in this and other lands, the braves of colored soldiers, and the loyalty of the colored people for our emancipation, our citizenship, and our enfranchisement.

2. Owing our political emancipation in the country to Republican legislation, to which all other parties and political shades of opinion were an justly and bitterly opposed, we would be blind to our prospects and false to our best interest did we identify ourselves with any other organization ;? and as all roads out of the Republican party lead into the democratic camp, we pledge our unswerving devotion to support the nominees of the Philadelphia convention,

3. We sincerely indorse the administration of President U.S. Grant in maintaining our liberties, in protecting us in our privileges, in punishing our enemies, in the dawn of recognition of the claims of men without regard to color, by appointing us to important official positions at home and aboard, in the assurances that he has given to defend our rights, and that while we, and that while we, our gratefulness, acknowledge and appreciate his efforts in behalf of equal rights, we are not unmindful of his glory as a solider, and his exalted virtues as a statesman.

4. Our thanks are due and hereby tendered to President Grant for overriding the precedents of prejudice in the better recognition of the services of men without regard to color in some parts of the country, and we earnestly pray that the colored Republicans of States where there are no federal positions given to colored men may no longer be ignored, but that they may be stimulated by some recognition of federal patronage.

5. It would be an ingratitude, loathed by men and abhorred by God, did we not acknowledge our overwhelming indebtedness to the services of the Hon. Charles Sumner, who stood for a long time alone in the Senate of the United States the Gibraltar of our cause and the north star of our hopes; who forfeited caste in the estimation of a large portion of his countrymen by his unswerving devotion to equal rights; who has been maligned for his fidelity to principles; who has been stricken down by an assassin for advocating liberty throughout all the land, and unto all the inhabitants there-

of and in whose giant body, rising, as it were, almost out of the grave to marshal the hosts of impartial justice with his mighty ideas, going to farthest part of the land, and finding a responsive echo in the triumph of liberty over slavery, we have an assurance of this good, great and beloved patriot that he will be as faithful to the Republican party in the future as he has been unfaltering in the past.

6. Having been by solemn legislation of the American Congress raised to the dignity of citizenship, we appeal to law-abidibg people of the States, and especially to those who in the days of the fugitive slave law exhorted obedience to statutes, however offensive, to protect and defend us in the enjoyment of our just rights and privileges upon all conveyances which are common carriers, at all resorts of public amusements, where tastes are cultivated and manhood is quickened, and in all places of public character or corporate associations which owe their existence to the legislation of the nation on States against the spirit of slavery, which attempt to degrade our standard of intelligence and virtue by force our refined? ladies and gentlemen into smoking cars?, amid obscenity an vulgarity; which humiliates our pride; by denying the first class accommodations on steamboats, and compelling us to eat and sleep with servants, for which we are charged the same as those who have the best accommodations, and which closes the door to hotels against faminishing? colored persons, however wealthy, intelligent or respectable they may be, while all other public places and convevances welcome and entertain all white person, whatever may be their character, who may apply. Now, in view of this disgraceful inconsistency, this affectation of prejudice, this rebellion against the laws of God humanity and the nation, we appeal to the justice of the American people to protect us in our civil rights in public places and upon public conveyances, which are readily accorded, and very justly, to the most degraded specimens of our white fellow-citizens.

7. That wherever Republicans have betrayed colored constituencies, we recommend that better men be elected to succeed them, and especially do we pledge ourselves to elect successors in Congress, wherever we have the power, to every Republican who voted against or dodged the supplementary civil rights bill recently introduced into the United States Senate by Hon. Charles Sumner; and also successors to those who shall show a satisfactory record on the civil rights bill now in the United States House of Representatives.

The address on civil rights was then read and adopted unanimously.

The report of the committee on organization was also read and adopted.

The convention then, on motion of Mr. Pinchback, took a recess until half-past seven in the evening.


The convention was called to order by Hon. F. Douglass at 7:30 P.M.

Mr. Cardoza rose to call for the unfinished business.

Mr. Martin, of Massachusetts, objected; the evenings were to be devoted exclusively to speech-making, and he, therefore, maintained that the unfinished business was not in order.

The chair decided Mr. Martin's point ill taken, and ruled that unfinished business was in order.

Mr. Cardoza—On Saturday evening I moved a reconsideration of the vote to send a delegation to Washington. I was actuated in this because you, Mr. President, objected to being appointed chairman. Having heard that you have changed your mind, I withdraw my motion to reconsider.

Mr. Lewis, of Louisiana, offered a resolution requesting the press throughout the country to publish the platform and civil rights address adopted by this convention. The resolution was adopted.

Mr. Turner, of Georgia, offered a resolution that the first of January be henceforth observed with honor and respect by the colored race.

Mr. Jones, of Arkansas, offered a resolution to extend the sympathy of the convention to the orphans and widows of those who have fallen in the cause of the colored people. Adopted.

Mr. T. Morris Chester, from the committee on orators, reported: We have the honor to introduce as the first orator of the evening, Mr. G. Downing, of Rhode Island.

Mr. Downing-I have been introduced as the orator of the evening. I claim no such honor. I have not the gift of oratory. Being sent here by the colored people of Rhode Island, I can say on behalf of my constituents that they are terribly in earnest-that they are true Republicans. They feel they are more indebted to Charles Sumner than any other man. They feel it proper that a bill should be passed securing all civil rights to all colors and classes. They fully indorse Grant's administration. They desire amnesty as a duty and policy; they think, however, that those to be amnestied should first show that they are willing to accept the results of the war.

Mr. Downing then reviewed the various phases in which the civil rights questions may be seen. The question is, if a man be a freeman, how is it to be reconciled that he may be invidiously proscribed, color and race not being recognized by the government as a cause of enjoyment or the deprivation thereof. It has been said, let the State governments move in this matter. I take issue on this question. The federal government exacts obedience from all colors of people, and it is bound to protect them, one and all, alike, by guaranteeing to every State a republican form of government, as required by article four of the constitution. Mr. Downing continued: Fellow citizens, the important relation we sustain in regard to the Presidential election is a question which calls for serious consideration; it is a fact that in November there will be 900,000 votes cast by colored people in this country. In the South the colored people hold the balance of power. If we can present outselves as a unit, we could obtain anything lawful and reasonable we choose to demand. Let us pull together to remedy the evils that have sprung from the accursed institution of slavery.

A vote of thanks was moved to Mr. Downing and carried.

Mr. T. Morris Chester then introduced Professor A. M. Green, of the District of Columbia.

Professor Green—If I desired to go over in detail the many rough experiences we have gone through in the period which has intervened since the time when colored people were not permitted to converse of their own accord, I could relate some curious tales. I have been repeatedly told by Confederate soldiers that had it not been for the negroes rallying round the federal banner "we would have whipped the Yankees." [Loud applause.] The war was not a war for the negro; it commenced against the negro on both sides; it ended in favor of the negro on both sides.

We are standing in a position where the opportunity is as grands as it was at the time the rebellion closed. It depends upon us whether we shall make a backward or a forward movement in the coming Presidential canvass. It is not alone a question of securing to the negro his vote, but also in protecting ourselves against the oppressions of those who carried the confederate flag during the war. I say whenever the intervention of the federal government is made manifest, the more secure will be the Republican party. We can not afford to lose the power of victory in the Presidential campaign. I would not make any concession to those who still nourish the spirit of treason and ku-kluxism, because I believe that those who ask it, however much they accept the position in theory, they will not accept in practice.

I am satisfied that when the sun shall set on the second Tuesday in November, we shall have witnessed another success of the administration that is now conducting our party. I want the colored men of the South backed by the millions of votes in all parts of the Union. I want them to go to the national capital and see that their representatives attend to their duties and vindicate the rights of their race. I want them also to go to the best hotels of the city and vindicate their rights as free men of the nation; Lieutenant Governor Pinchback did so when he went to Washington, and registered his name on the books of the Arlington Hotel, and was politely asked by the proprietor what rooms he would choose, thus proving there was some virtue in colored men occupying high positions in the South.

Mr. Charles Langston, of Kansas—I had not expected to speak a word here to-night; I was not informed that I should be called upon. I have been here since Wednesday afternoon, and during that time I have heard much said, much that should be said, much that should not be said. Still I have much to talk about. It is something nobody else has thought about. I still look on the dark side of the matter, despite what has

been said of Charles Sumner, etc; and should my friends go home without hearing me, they would think that only white men have a word against slavery. There are negroes, aye, black negroes, in this country, who have been at the head and front of this movement. We must remember Walker, General Nat Turner, of Virginia, etc. I will not talk of my friend Douglass, here, for like the mouth of Henry Clay he can speak for himself. We should bear in mind the labors of Charles L. Remond and others.

The convention then adjourned.

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New Orleans






“National Convention at New Orleans, LA,” Colored Conventions Project Digital Records, accessed May 23, 2024,