NATIONAL EMIGRATION CONVENTION
To be held in Cleveland, Ohio, on the 24th, 25th
and 26th of August, 1854.
MEN AND BRETHREN:--The time has now fully come, when we, as an oppressed people, should do something effectively, and use those means adequate to the attainment of the great and long desired end. To do something to meet the actual demands of the present, and prospective necessities of the rising generation of our people in this country. To do this, we must occupy a position of entire equality of unrestricted rights, composed in fact, an acknowledged necessary part of the ruling element of society in which we live. The policy necessary to the preservation of this element must be in our favor, if ever we expect the enjoyment, freedom, sovereignty, and equality of rights anywhere.
For this purpose, and to this end, then.-- All colored men in favor of emigration out of the United States, and opposed to the American Colonization scheme of leaving the Western Hemisphere, are requested to meet in CLEVELAND, OHIO, on TUESDAY the 24th DAY of AUGUST, 1854, in a great NATIONAL CONVENTION, then and there, to consider and decide upon the great and important subject of emigration from the United States.
No person will be admitted to a seat in the Convention, who would introduce the subject of emigration to the Eastern Hemisphere--either to Asia, Africa, or Europe--as our object and determination are to consider our claims to the West Indies, Central and South America, and the Canadas. This restriction has no reference to personal preferences, or individual enterprise; but to the great question of national claims to come before the Convention.
All persons coming to the Convention must bring credentials properly authenticated, or give verbal assurance to the Committee on Credentials--appointed for the purpose--of their fidelity to the measures and objects set forth in this Call; as the Convention is specifically called by, and for the friends of emigration, and NONE OTHERS, and no opposition to them, will be entertained.
The question is not whether our condition can be bettered by emigration, but whether it can be made worse. If not, then, there is no part of the wide-spread universe, where our social and political condition are not better than here in our native country, and nowhere in the world as here, proscribed on account of color.
We are friends, to0, and ever will stand shoulder to shoulder by our brethren, and all true friends in all good measures adopted by them, for the bettering of our condition in this country, and surrender no rights but with our last breath; but as the subject of emigration is of vital importance, and has ever been shunned by all delegated assemblages of our people as heretofore met, we cannot longer delay, and will not be farther baffled; and deny the right of our most sanguine friend or dearest brother, to prevent an intelligent enquiry to, and the carrying out of these measures, when this can be done, to our entire advantage, as we propose to show in Convention--as the West Indies, Central and South America--the majority of which are peopled by our brethren, or those identified with us in race, and what is more, destiny on this continent--all stand with open arms and yearning hearts, importuning us in the name of suffering humanity to come. To make common cause, and share one common fate on the continent.
The Convention will meet without fail, at the time fixed for assembling, as none but those favorable to emigration are admissible; therefore no other gathering may prevent it.
The number of delegates will not be restricted--except in the town where the Convention may be held--and their number will be decided by the Convention when assembled, that they may not too far exceed the other delegations.
The time and place fixed for holding the Convention are ample; affording sufficient time, and a leisure season generally--and as Cleveland is now the centre of all directions--a good and favorable opportunity to all who desire to attend. Therefore, it may reasonably be expected that this will emphatically be the greatest gathering of the colored people ever before assembled in a Convention in the United States.
Colonizationists are advised, that no favors will be shown to them or their expatriating scheme, as we have no sympathy with the enemies of our race.
All colored men, East, West, North and South, favorable to the measures set forth in this Call, will send in their names (post-paid) to M. R. Delany, or Rev. Wm. Webb, Pittsburgh, Pa., that there may be arranged and attached to the Call five names from each state.
We must make an issue, create an event, and establish a position for ourselves. It is glorious to think of, but far more glorious to carry out.
REV. WM. WEBB
(Frederick Douglass' Paper, 26 August 1853, p. 3; and numerous subsequent issues)
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