Colored Conventions Project Digital Records

A Call to the Colored Citizens of Maine and New Hampshire

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A Call to the Colored Citizens of Maine and New Hampshire












Fellow Citizens—We invite your attention to this Call for a State Convention to be held in the city of Portland, on Wednesday, the 6th day of October next.

Brethren, we think this meeting ought to be regarded, and hope it will be, with peculiar interest by every colored man and woman among us, and no pains spared to render it interesting and profitable.

Our own, our native land demands, our posterity, our enslaved brethren, and our own interests for time and eternity, demand an immediate effort for our moral and intellectual elevation. The consideration and adoption of the means to these great ends we ought no longer to defer.

As individuals we must mainly achieve our high purposes, yet it is proper and necessary for us to embody our efforts. We shall need all the counsel, sympathy, encouragement and strength of union; and by it, with the blessing of God, we may wisely plan, and successfully accomplish the mightiest enterprize. We need a nucleus around which may gather the moral energy of our whole population; and we beg of you a candid and prayerful attention to this matter. Citizens, as you love your country, and would have it a mountain of holiness and a dwelling place of righteousness, think of the subject, and come. Fathers, would you have the paths of wisdom, honor and profit opened, and every encouragement given your beloved offspring to walk in them, consider it well, and come. Mothers, withhold not your influence. The characters of Newton, Wesley, Whitefield and Washington tell of maternal influence. We may have noble minds among our people. Exert your influence to furnish occasion and encouragement, that they may be ornaments to society and blessings to mankind.

Come all. A trodden down and peeled people ought not to rest. Oppression is not heaven-inherited by any one. Such a condition is not, cannot be consistent with our duties as moral beings. The largest liberty is essential to humanity. The means for our full emancipation are within our reach; and we cannot longer refuse to use them, and be innocent.

The subjects which will come up for consideration and action are many and great. In a "Call," we can of course allude, and briefly too, to but a part of them.

Next to our personal relations to our Heavenly Father, the subject of Education should interest us. We cannot measure its importance, but we feel it in all our relations to man. And the power it has given to others, it offers to us. Through the goodness of God, knowledge is held to our lips, and we may drink even to that which is life eternal. It has no prejudices, but whosoever will, may come.

We are identified with the poor, suffering, bleeding slave of the South. He is our brother. The claims of kin are added to the claims of humanity upon us, to labor directly and heartily with the philanthropist, to undo the heavy burdens, and let the oppressed go free. The condition of our enslaved brethren greatly affects our own. We cannot expect the full enjoyment of all our rights while the influence of slavery is felt in our land.

The baneful influence of intemperance has been felt by multitudes among us. Prejudice is, alas! too strong without any cause. None of us, therefore, by intemperance or any vicious indulgence, should contribute in the least to foster it. Temperance is proving a blessing to all who embrace her. Elevating and purifying, her ways are pleasantness, and her paths peace. And in her ways alone is there certainty of final triumph.

We would also ask your attention to the important subject of the future occupations of our offspring. The employment naturally affects the disposition and mind as well as the condition. Some corrupt the principles; others contract the mind; while others leave its powers stagnant. If such employments do not degrade, they cannot have an elevating tendency. Our aims require that their minds and hearts be guarded from all evil influences; that their occupations be favorable to the development and cultivation of the mind, and consistent with sound principles; such as generate enlarged views and generous sentiments; and such as will render them as useful as their talents will permit. Such desirable employments there are, and some of them are open to us.

It is necessary that we should have all the statistical information we can procure in regard to our numbers, occupations, and resources, and benevolent and other societies supported among us. And we hope every one will come prepared to give such information.

Brethren, our enterprize is a great one, and will demand the influence and labor of every one. None can be spared. And none, we trust, will increase our difficulties by their indifference. Our brethren in other States are moving in this cause. Come, let us take counsel together; encourage each others' hearts; strengthen each others' hands; and planting, in humble reliance upon the Great Deliverer, await the sun and shower of His favor, and the plentiful harvest.

Yours truly, for truth and right,





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A.N. FREEMAN, J.W. LEWIS, A.W. NILES, Committee., “A Call to the Colored Citizens of Maine and New Hampshire,” Colored Conventions Project Digital Records, accessed July 23, 2021,