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Colored People's Convention of South Carolina, Address of the Colored State Convention to the People of the State of South Carolina, November 24, 1865, Charleston, South Carolina

"Emancipation," Thomas Nast lithograph, circa 1865, zoomable image
In later 1865, conventions were being held across the old Confederate states to arrange elections and prepare for the political reintegration into the Union. None of these included African-American representatives and the black population of several states across the South called their own "Colored People's Conventions" to make their voices heard. One such convention assembled at the Zion Church on Calhoun Street in Charleston, South Carolina with 52 delegates representing wide areas of the state. This gathering published a letter to the white population of South Carolina, laying out their regret that they had not been included in the least in the debates over political reintegration. Using the rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the message assured that while the African-Americans of the state demanded the same simple and just rights as any other American, if given the chance and with obstructions removed, they would work hard to gain the economic, social, and intellectual trust of the State that would enable them to take this rightful place in the life of South Carolina. (By John Osborne)

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