OHS home

Ohio Historical Society / The African American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920








PreviousPrevious Item Description Next Next
Proceedings, Held in the City of Columbus, January 16-18, 1856

praying for relief from the oppressive laws         strike the word "white" from the section,
under which we suffer, to collect in each coun-     before referred to, and all other places in which
ty the statistics of wealth, education, mental      it occurs in the Constituion, and thereby abro-
and moral condition of the colored people of the    gate the unwise and unjust distinction therein
State, and to raise funds for defraying the ex-     made between the citizens of the State on ac-
pense of said meetings, publications &c.  And       count of the accident of color.  The section
the Central Committee shall make out and pub-       referred to is couched in the following lan-
lish an annual report, embodying all the sta-       guage: "Art. V. Sec. I. Every white male cit-
tistics collected by said agents, the amount        izen of the United States, of the age of twenty-
and mode of expenditure of all monies collect       one years, who shall have been a resident of the
ed by them or their agents, and shall recom-        State one year next preceding the election, and
mend such measures as they deem important           of the county, township, or ward in which he
to the welfare of the colored people of Ohio--      resides, such times as may be provided by law,
And the agent or agents of the State Central        shall have the qualifications of an elector, and
Committee and of the County Central Commit-         be entitled to vote at all elections."
tees, shall report the amounts of money raised        The first reason we will assign for the remo-
by them, quarterly, or oftener if required, to      val of this odious word from the Constitution
the State Central Committee:  the county            of a professedly free State, is, that we are
agents shall make monthly reports to the coun-      MEN.  This, to our minds, seems an all suffi-
ty committees.                                      cient plea.  Human rights are not to be gradu-
  Also, that the State Central Committee, and       ated by the shades of color that tinge the
County Central Committees, shall, immediately       cheeks of men.  Any being, however low in
on their organization, establish rules for the      the scale of civilization, that yet preserves the
proper keeping of their accounts, the mode of       traits that serve to distinguish humanity from
disbursing their funds, and shall define the du-    the brutes, is endowed with all rights that can
ties of their agents, and establish bye-laws for    be claimed by the most cultivated races of
the government of their own action.                 men.
  The County Central Committees shall aid             That we are men, we will not insult your in
and assist the agents of the State Central Com-     telligence by attempting to prove.  The most
mittee to hold county conventions, township         bitter revilers and oppressors of the race admit
meetings, &c., or shall, at their discretion, em-   this, even in the enactments by which they
ploy such competent persons as they may se          wrong us.  Statutes and ordinances are not ne-
lect, to lecture and circulate memorials and        cessary for the regulation and control of ani-
petitions, &c in their counties, and shall take     mals, but men, reasoning men, who can under-
measures to have their counties represented in      stand and obey, or plot to overthrow.  The
the annual meetings of the State Convention,        section of which we complain by defining that
and do all that lies in their power to advance      white men may exercise the right of franchise,
the moral, mental, and financial condition of       virtually admits that there are black men who
the colored people of the State.                    are by the rule prohibited from voting  We
   That we proceed to raise the sum of three        ask any who doubt our manhood, Hath not the
thousand dollars, to be expended by the State       negro eyes?  Hath not the negro hands, organs,
Central Committee for the before mentioned          dimensions, senses, affections, passions?--fed
objects; and that the delegates be required to      with the same food--hurt with the same wea-
pledge themselves to raise, within their respec     pons--subject to the same diseases--healed by
tive countries, a reasonable portion of said fund,  the same means -- warmed and cooled by the
and report the same to the Treasurer of the         same summer and winter as the white man is?
State Central Committee, who shall give bonds       If you prick us, do we not bleed?  If you tickle
for the security of said funds.                     us, do we not laugh?  If you poison us, do we
   The Committee on Address reported the fol-        not die?
lowing:                                               We ask you to ponder the danger of circum-
               A D D R E S S,                       scribing the great doctrines of human equality,
                                                    which our fathers promulgated and defended
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the   at the cost of so much blood and treasure, to
   State of Ohio:                                   the narrow bounds of races or nations.  All
   GENTLEMEN:--We, the disfranchised Colored        men are by nature equal, and have inalienable
Citizens of Ohio, assembled in General Conven-      rights, or none have.  We beg you to reflect
tion, feeling deeply the grievous wrongs un         how insecure your own and the liberties of
justly imposed upon us by the prohibitions im-      your posterity would be by the admission of
plied in the first Section of the fifth Article of  such a rule of construing the rights of men.
the Constitution of the State, and knowing          Another nation or race may displace you, as
the people have the right to assemble togeth-       you have displaced nations and race ; and the
er, in a peaceful manner, to counsel for their      injustice you teach, they may execute; per-
common good, and petition the General Assem-        chance they may better the instruction  Re-
bly for a redress of grievances;" and, believ-      member, in your pride of race and power, 'That
ing it to be a solemn duty we owe to ourselves,     we are all children of one Father, and all ye are
our posterity, and the honor and dignity of the     brethren.'
free State of Ohio, to use every constitutional       But the principles upon which our Govern-
means which the law-makers of Ohio have left        ment is founded, condemns the practice of ex-
in our power, to remove from our necks the          cluding colored men from the advantages of the
burdens too grievous to be borne; we do,            ballot box.  To uphold the principle that tax-
therefore, most earnestly, in the name of our       ation and representation should go together,
common humanity, in the name of the Declara-        the union between Great Britain and the Amer-
tion of Independence and the Bill of Rights of      ican Colonies was broken, and a desolating war
the State of Ohio, ask your Honorable Body          of seven years' duration was waged.   As
to take the necessary constitutional steps to       proof of the correctness of the principle, we


Download High Resolution TIFF Image
PreviousPrevious Item Description Next Next

OHS Archives/Library Pamphlet Collection

Proceedings, Held in the City of Columbus, January 16-18, 1856


http://www.ohiohistory.org || Last modified
Ohio History Center 800 E. 17th Ave. Columbus, OH 43211 © 1996-2011 All Rights Reserved.