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Official proceedings of the Ohio State Convention of Colored Freemen : held in Columbus, January 19th-21st, 1853.


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Official proceedings of the Ohio State Convention of Colored Freemen : held in Columbus, January 19th-21st, 1853.


Pamphlet (8 p. ; 23 cm.)













COLUMBUS, Jan. 19, 1853.

Pursuant to a call of the State Central Committee of the State of Ohio, the colored citizens of the State, met in convention in the 2nd Baptist Church. The convention was called to order by appointing SABRAM COX of Lorain, President pro tem., and ALEX. FERGUSON, Secretary. On motion of H. F. Douglass,

Resolved, That each county be allowed nine delegates.

On motion, persons not delegated by their respective communities were admitted to membership. The following delegates were enrolled:

Belmont County.—Jesse Hargrove, S. T. Jones.

Champaigne County.—Wm. Waring.

Clark County.—Wm. P. Morgan.

Columbiana County.—James Davis.

Cuyahoga County.—William H. Day, A. J. Gordon, John Brown, R. B. Leach, George Vosburgh, Thomas Carroll, Phillip Williams.

Delaware Co.—William Hope.

Erie Co.—J. J. Pierce.

Fairfield Co.—Jeremiah Bowman.

Fayette Co.—S. G. Smothers.

Franklin Co.—C. H. Langston, John Booker, John Brown, D. Jenkins, L. D. Taylor, H. F. Douglass, John T. Ward, Edward Davis.

Greene Co.—Anthony Young, John R. Bowles, Wilson Eavens, Dempsey Roberts.

Hamilton Co.—Alexander Ferguson, B. Bowser.

Licking Co.— ——Page.

Logan Co.—J. Archer, W. Walden, Sterling Hathcock.

Lorain Co.—John Watson, S. Cox, J. Mercer Langston.

Miami Co.—James H. Yancey.

Morrow Co.—Isham Martin.

Montgomery Co.—John Johnson, Thos. Jefferson.

Pickaway Co.—R. R. Randolph.

Ross Co.—J. F. James, T. J. Jean, Wm. Norman.

Seneca Co.—Darius Roberts.

Stark Co.—Wm. T. Holliday.

Union Co.—A. J. Scott, Wm. Hill.


On motion, the following gentlemen were appointed a committee on nominations:

Jno. T. Ward, J. J. Pierce, Thomas Jefferson, R. B. Leach, J. Mercer Langston.

On motion, the convention adjourned to meet at half past 2 P.M.



President Cox in the chair. Prayer by the Rev. Jeremiah Bowman of Fairfield.

After reading the minutes of the forenoon session, the committee on nominations reported the following:

For President, ANDREW J. GORDON of Cuyahoga.

For Vice Presidents, J. J. Pierce of Erie, H. F. Douglass of Franklin J. Mercer Langston of Lorain, Alexander Ferguson of Hamilton, Wm. Norman of Ross, Thos. Jefferson of Montgomery, D. Roberts of Seneca.

Secretaries, C. H. Langston of Franklin, John R. Bowles of Greene, Jas. H. Yancey of Miami, Rev. E. Davis of Franklin.

Chaplain, Rev. I. Martin of Morrow.

On motion of L. D. Taylor, it was

Resolved, That there be a committee of nine appointed to report business for the consideration of the convention.

The following gentlemen were appointed:

Business Committee, W. H. Day, John Johnson, John F. James, Alex. Ferguson, S. Cox, Anthony Young, James Davis, J. Mercer Langston, and L. D. Taylor.

Mr. L. D. Taylor presented the following resolution, which was adopted:

Resolved, That there be a committee of five members, to prepare rules to govern our deliberations.

The following gentlemen were appointed: D. Jenkins, John Watson, John Tooker, R. B. Leach, James H. Yancey.

L. D. Taylor presented the following resolution:

Resolved, That as birth gives citizenship, we claim under the Constitution and Declaration of the United States, and the Constitution of this State, our rights as citizens; therefore, laws that have been, or may hereafter be passed, depriving us of citizenship, are unconstitutional, thereby null and void; and as we are taxed, we have and claim the right to vote.

The following resolution was offered by C. H. Langston:

Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to request the House of Representatives now in session in this city, to allow one of the members of this convention to present to their honorable body while in session, the claims of the colored people of Ohio.

These gentlemen were appointed said committee: C. H. Langston, D. Jenkins, J. T. Ward.

Mr. E. M. K. Glen then, by invitation, came forward and addressed the convention at length, in behalf of the bail of Wm. L. Chaplin. He thought that Mr. Chaplin was doing the work of God and humanity, and the bail should be aided. He said that $18,000? had been raised and paid for the bail in Maryland, and two thousand paid on the bail of six thousand dollars in Washington. He then called upon the audience to throw in what ever they might think proper to aid him in this great cause.


convention was severally addressed by Messrs. D. Jenkins, R ond, John Watson, Wm. Holliday, T. J. Jean and others.

The committee on rules reported the following for the government of the Convention, which were amended and adopted.


1. At the proper time, the President shall call the convention to order, and, call on the Secretary to read the doings of the preceding meeting.

2. The Business Committee shall have the power to report at any time they may think proper, which report shall lie on the table to be acted upon in the order of arrangement.

3. When any motion is made and seconded, it shall be stated to the convention by the President, at which time members may discuss, but no member shall speak more than twice upon the same subject, nor more than ten minutes each time, unless by leave of the convention.

4. When the convention adjourn it shall be until 9 o'clock A.M. and when it take a recess, it shall be at half past 12 o'clock and re assemble at 2 P.M.; and from 5 P.M. to 7 P.M.

5. The committee recommend Jefferson's Manual as a guide for further rules to govern our deliberations.





L.D. TAYLOR } Committee

On motion, the convention took a recess until 7 o'clock in the evening.


The president in the chair; an anti-slavery song was sung by John Watson and S. Cox. After some conversation about the fare on the Railroad, A. Ferguson was appointed to prepare a synopsis of the proceeding for publication in the city papers.

Wm. H. Day was then called forward and addressed the convention. The convention was further addressed by J.M. Langston and H.F. Douglass.

On motion the convention adjourned till 9 o'clock Thursday morning.

Thursday, Jan. 20.

FORENOON SESSION, —The convention met pursuant to adjournment. President in the chair. The convention was opened by prayer by the chaplain.

Rev. J. Bowman presented the following resolution:

Resolved, That we recommend to our people, education, temperance and religion

Which was laid on the table.

C. H. Langston then moved that the next convention be held in Springfield, Clark county.

J. Booker moved that Springfield, Clark county be stricken out, and Reynoldsburgh, Franklin county, inserted.

Pending which motion, the whole matter was laid on the table to hear the report of the Business Committee.

The Business Committee then reported through their chairman, Wm. H. Day, the following resolutions which were laid on the table to be taken up one by one:

Resolved, That we regard American Slavery, as we have always regarded it — morally as "the sum? of all villainies," politically as the great enemy of Democracy; [illegible], as the rapturer of the ties by which community is bound together: that it should be attacked morally, politically and socially, and that church organi-


nations, political parties and individuals of this land, should make it a first duty to relieve themselves of all responsibility for its continuance : that any "finality" of discussion thereon, decreed by any party or parties, is an insult to the intelligence of freeman, and deserves the deepest reprobation.

Resolved, That all our legal disabilities, growing out of the influences of Slavery, should be immediately removed. Of these, the deprivation of the Elective Franchise, our exclusion from the Jury Box, and from the benefit of our taxes for the Poor, are the most important. That we hereby pledge ourselves to form, in this Convention, a State Anti-Slavery Society, which shall support one colored man to traverse the State, to urge before the people the removal of these disabilities.


Whereas, three millions of our brethren and sisters are yet in bonds; and Whereas, in the free states, the colored man is only nominally free ; and Whereas, the elevation of the colored man must depend mainly upon himself ; and believing that by union we can better attain the liberation of our brethren in bonds, and the elevation of the Colored American, half free, we hereby agree to form ourselves into a State Society, to be governed by the following


ART. 1. This Association shall be styled The Ohio State Anti-Slavery Society.

ART. 2. Its object, exclusively, shall be to forward the objects contained in the Preamble, namely, the liberation of the Slave, and the elevation of the Colored American, half free ; and laying aside all jealousy, we will "help the cause along" to the best of our ability.

ART 3. Any man or woman subscribing to the principles of this Society, as above expressed, shall become a member, by paying into its treasury or the treasury of its auxiliaries, annually not less than the sum of fifty cents.

ART. 4. County Associations, auxiliary to this may be formed, and shall be entitled to a representation in the annual meetings of this Association.

ART. 5. A certain portion of the funds of each auxiliary, shall be paid into the Treasury of this Society, on or before the day of its annual meeting; otherwise the representative of such auxiliary shall not be entitled to vote in said annual meeting.

ART. 6. The officers of this Society shall be a President, two Vice Presidents, a Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer, who, with seven chosen from the remaining members, shall? constitute? the Executive Committee, and shall all hold their offices one year, or until others are chosen.

ART. 7. The duties of the President, Vice President, Secretaries, and Treasurer, shall be those usually attaching to their respective titles, the Executive Committee shall be, in the interim of the meetings of the Society, to take charge of the particular and general interests of the Society, be wide awake to promote them, either by helping the fugitive or otherwise, by employing a Lecturer in the State, and to perform any duties which this Society may reasonably and constitutionally impose upon them.

ART. 8. The annual meetings of this Society for the election of officers, hearing the Annual Report of the Executive Committee and Treasurer and transacting business for the Association, shall be held on the last Wednesday of October in each year.

ART. 9. The Lecturer in the service of this Society, shall be employed and directed in his labors by the Executive Committee; and to them alone shall be accountable.

ART. 10. Whenever undue sectional influences in the doings of this Society, shall be apprehended by any ten of its members, and the apprehension be thus certified to the Executive Committee, they shall give notice that any auxiliary is entitled to one Representative, and that where the members exceed twenty, one Representative to every twenty members

Art. 11. This Constitution may be altered or amended, by a vote of two thirds of the members present at the annual meeting.

3. Resolved, That as a means to the same end; we hereby pledge ourselves to support, by all honorable means, a Newspaper soon to be started in Cleveland, by William H. Day, devoted to our interests.

4. Resolved, That the colored people of this state should, for their highest elevation, become farmers and mechanics; should prepare themselves to enter the Professions; should maintain a high standard of education and of morals, and strive for wealth.

5. Resolved, That the colored people of this state, in Convention assembled, are in favor of a law similar in its features to the Maine Liquor Law.

6. Resolved, That we recommend to the colored farmers as well as artisans, to make it a point to furnish something for the Agricultural Fairs of their respective districts, and for the State Agricultural Fair.

7. Resolved, That to he colored farmers of thisState be hereby suggested that the propriety of considering the cultivation of flax—and of aiding, thereby as much as in their power, the cotton flax movement.

8. Resolved, That we recommend to the colored people of Ohio, associated effort in business and in the acquirement of property.

9. Resolved, That this Convention hereby request the Vigilance Committee of each county to send to the State Central Committee, the number of colored persons entitled, by the Supreme Court's construction of the Constitution, to vote in said county, which account shall be filed and the number reported to the next Convention.

10. Resolved, That we regard the American Colonization Society as one of our worst enemies, in that, while in one breath it professes philanthropy—it says, for the North: "It (American Colonization Society) tends to rid us gradually of slavery," for the South: "Into our account the subject of emancipation does not enter at all;" for the East, "Every emigrant is a missionary, carrying with him credentials in the holy cause of civilization, religion and free institutions" and for the West: "The free blacks are a nuisance, scarcely to be reached in their debasement, by the heavenly light." We feel that to encourage such a society, however christian its professions, would be unchristian, or to countenance any bill in the State or National Legislature appropriating public money to forward that society's objects, would be not only unconstitutional, but self-degrading.

11. Resolved, That the Bill introduced into the Ohio Senate, lately, known as "CUSHING'S BILL," 'To prevent the further settlement of Blacks and Mulattoes in Ohio,' is diabolically worthy of its author. That while we will cheerfully keep and support every good law enacted to govern American citizens, we will never obey this Bill, should it assume the form of law, as we feel it to be at war with our self-respect, as well as the? the great principles of justice, and that like the "Fugitive Bill," being unconstitutional, like it, it should be discountenanced and resisted to the last.

12. Resolved, That in our view, the action of our Government in refusing to help Hungary, by professing no "entangling alliances," with foreign powers, and at the same time hastening to help slavery by sending Agents to Hayti to browbeat the Haytien Emperor, is all of a piece with the other slaveholding inconsistencies of our very republican and christian nation.

The first resolution was then taken up, and pending a motion for its adoption, W. H. Day addressed the convention at some length on the evils of slavery, its influence on political parties, and the servility of the church and clergy of the country to its mandates.

The second resolution was taken up, and on motion of E Davis, was adopted. The constitution growing out of said resolution was taken up and adopted Article by Article, without alteration or amendment, to Article 9th.

The hour for recess having arrived, the convention took a recess till 2 o'clock P.M.



President took the chair. Prayer by Isham Martin. The minutes of the preceding session were read and approved.

The chairman of the State Central Committee stated that the Railroad

Agents could not allow delegates to pass on the road free of charge, unless there should be forty going the same way, which number could not be obtained. Therefore, each member must pay full fare returning home.

The remaining 10th and 11th articles of the constitution of the Ohio State Anti-Slavery Society, were adopted.

The third resolution was then taken up, and while under consideration, J.M. Langston addressed the convention on the importance of establishing and supporting an efficient newspaper. He said we had no medium through which we can tell our wrongs to the world. He hoped the paper would be supported.

Resolution No.3 was unanimously adopted.

The fourth resolution was taken up, and while the motion was pending, the convention was addressed in support of the resolution by E. Davis, James Davis, J. Bowman, T.G. Gene and others. H.F. Douglass moved that that the following amendment be added to the resolution, “That the Colored Churches be recommended to take higher and anti-slavery ground.” After some remarks from H.F. Douglass, W.H. Day, and C.H. Langston, the amendment was on leave withdrawn. The resolution was adopted.

The fifth resolution was taken up, and pending its consideration, J.M. Langston said he would have the convention understand the principles of the Marine Liquor Law. He then read extracts from a sermon of Mr. ------, giving a concise view of the principles of the law. He then descanted at length on the evils of intemperance, and the great evil of liquor drinking among the colored people of Ohio. He thought these practices ought to be corrected.

The resolution was then adopted unanimously. The hour recess having arrived, the convention took? recess till 7 o clock in the evening.


The President having taken the chair, the convention was opened by singing by Messrs. S. Cox and John Watson of Lorain. The Secretary’s report was read and approved. D. Jenkins from the committee appointed to request a hearing from the Legislature, reported that the House of Representatives have had the subject under consideration: the resolution granting us a hearing before their body was lost by a majority of two.

The sixth resolution was then taken up, remarked upon by W.H. Day and adopted.

The 7th resolution was then, on motion, adopted, after some remarks of explanation by Mr. Day, setting forth the practicability and importance of the cotton-flax movement.

The eighth resolution was then taken up, and adopted, after remarks upon its importance by W.H. Day and J. Watson.

The ninth resolution was adopted.

The tenth resolution being under consideration, Mr. Gordon of Cuyahorga, was called to the floor, and proceeded to address the convention on the nefarious and diabolical character of the Colonization Society. He descanted at length on the preamble and resolution presented by


Mr. Riddle of Hamilton county to the Senate of this State. He pledged himself never to leave the country so long as there were three or four millions of slaves groaning in chains in the United States.

Mr. R. Hammond then addressed the convention, denouncing the Colonization Society as a band of wicked and nefarious apologists for American Slavery.

Mr. John Watson of Lorain also addressed the convention, opposing all discussion of using physical force, and also opposing Colonization in all its forms.

Mr. Hope of Delaware, then addressed the convention on matters and things in general.

Mr. Douglass of Franklin, then stated that he wished to define his position on the subject of colonization. He said he had been misrepresented on this subject, and his influence thereby injured. He was opposed to that diabolical scheme. It was formed for the perpetuation of Slavery. He thought that under some circumstances colored men may advance their interest by emigration.

W. H. Day was then called to the floor. He proceeded to read extracts from the Colonization Journal, and showed the falsity of its statement in reference to Frederick Douglass. Mr. Day proceeded to show the truth of the resolution from colonization and other documents. The resolution was then taken up and adopted.

The eleventh resolution was then taken up and adopted.

The twelfth resolution was adopted after some remarks by W. H. Day.

On motion of J. F. James it was

Resolved, That the delegates to this Convention constitute the Ohio State Anti-Slavery Society.

It was further

Resolved, that we now proceed to elect officers of this Society.

The following persons were elected:

President—A. J. GORDON of Cuyahoga.

Vice President—D. Jenkins of Franklin, S. Cox of Lorain.

Rec. Sec'y—C. H. Langston of Franklin

Cor. Sec'y—W. H. Day of Cuyahoga.

Treasurer—John Watson of Lorain.

Executive Committee—J.H. Yancey of Miami; J. R. Bowles of Greene; E. Davis and H. F. Douglass of Franklin; S. F. Jones of Belmont; John Brown of Cuyahoga; Thomas Jefferson of Montgomery

On motion of Wm. H. Day, J. Mercer Langston was appointed Lecturer for the society.

The delegates then on motion, were called up to pay their initiation fees.

Amount paid in, $5,50.

The Convention then adjourned till 8 o'clock, Friday morning.

FRIDAY, Jan. 21.

FORENOON SESSION.—The President in the chair, the scripture was read, and prayer offered by the chaplain. The minutes of the preceding session were read and approved.

D. Jenkins moved that so much of the proceedings of the last session as elected the Lecturer and the Officers of the Ohio Anti Slavery be reconsidered.


John Booker also, moved to mend the motion, so as to reconsider the resolution making the members of the convention constitute the Ohio State Anti-Slavery Society, which was adopted.

It was then moved by J. M. Langston that the members of the convention now come forward and pay in their initiation fee to the Ohio State Anti-Slavery Society, which was adopted.

J. Bowman's resolution was taken up and referred to the Business Committee.

The resolution appointing a place for holding the next convention, was on motion taken up and was amended so as to make Dayton the place for holding the next State Convention.

The following gentlemen were appointed.

State Central Committee for Ohio.

Thomas Jefferson,....................Dayton, Montgomery County.

Samuel Rouse,......................." " "

John Jonson,......................." ' '

C. H. Langston,......................Columbus, Franklin County.

W. H. Day,..........................Cleveland, Cuyahoga County.

Wm. H. Day presented the following:

Resolved, That this Convention hereby recommend to the people of this State, the recent work compiled by Mr. Wm. C. Nell, of Boston, upon the services of Colored Americans in the wars of 1776 and 1812.


On the motion of D. Jenkins it was

Resolved, That the proceedings be published in pamphlet form, under the supervision of the Secretaries and Chairman of the Business Committee.

On motion the Finance Committee made the following report:

Whole amount received................................$17,03

Expenses of the Convention............................10 86


Balance remaining......................................$6,17

To be applied to the publication of the proceedings. Report was adopted.

W. H. Day offered the following resolutions, which were adopted.

Resolved, That the thanks of this Convention be hereby tendered to the Trustees of this Church for their liberality in furnishing us a house in which to hold our meetings.

Resolved, that we highly appreciate the ability and the fairness of our Presiding officer in directing our deliberations, and hereby return our thanks to him and to our Secretaries for their services.

Amended by reading "Our thanks to our officers."

After making pledges to publish the proceedings, the convention adjourned sine die.

A. J. GORDON, President.

C. H. Lawrence,

John R. Bowman,.

J. M. Yancey,

Edward Davis, } Secretaries.

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Ohio State Convention of Colored Freemen (1853 : Columbus, OH), “Official proceedings of the Ohio State Convention of Colored Freemen : held in Columbus, January 19th-21st, 1853.,” Colored Conventions Project Digital Records, accessed July 23, 2021,