Colored Tennessean clipping

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Proceedings of the State Convention.

FIRST DAY – MORNING SESSION.

Pursuant to the call of the Executive Committee, issued May 27th, 1865, the Convention of the Colored People of this State met in St. John’s Chapel, A.M.E. Church, at 10 A.M., August 7th, 1865.

[…]

The Rev. James Lynch, of Baltimore, Missionary in South Carolina and Georgia responded to a call, and in a most eloquent and stirring speech spoke of the rights which had already been achieved, and those which were yet to be gained. The speaker made telling hits, and keeps the audience thoroughly awakened. Among other things he said:

We are engaged in a serious task; we have met here to impress upon the white men of Tennessee, of the United States, and of the world, that we are part and parcel of the American Republic. For four years this country has been [?] in war. This war, while it has decided the permanency of the nation, has not been without its influence upon us, and by its operations the shackles have been broken from the limbs of our race in America. In pursuance of the great work thus begun, we are here, by our counsels and by humble petition, to secure for ourselves the full recognition of our rights as men. We make no account of the wrongs and oppressions of the past, but would act for the future. We cherish no hostility to the whites; we love them, as we ever did, and if they be loyal men, we love the Southern men even better than the Northern. We simply ask for those inalienable rights which are declared inalienable. Why should we not have them? In the past struggle, when the nation stood trembling upon the verge of the precipice, the black man came to the rescue, his manhood was recognized in that hour of national trial, and why? From necessity – and I tell you, my hearers, that necessity will secure us our full recognition as freemen and citizens of this glorious republic. We were needed to fill up the army, we were needed to supply the place of copperhead conscripts who had no stomach for the fight. Senator Saulsbury, of Delaware, a drunken scoundrel, [here don’t misunderstand me, I do not wish to abuse any officer of the Government, but as he was understood to belong more to the Confederacy, I will speak of him,] said the whole negro race of America could be swept from the earth without loss; but even he found use for us, and the question of political power in this country will soon present another necessity which will give us the ballot box. There has been by implication unfriendly legislation in Tennessee, but Tennessee, proud and noble as she is, has a master, and that master is the United States. That master has decided that we are entitled to our oaths. The Freedman’s Courts will hear us when we swear for the maintenance of our rights.

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Colored Tennessean, “Colored Tennessean clipping,” Mississippi State University Libraries, accessed May 26, 2024, https://msstate-exhibits.libraryhost.com/items/show/2149.

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