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THE NORTH STAR, December 29, 1848

Public Meeting of the Colored Citizens of Detroit

A mass meeting of the Colored Citizens of the city of Detroit convened at the City Hall on the 7th inst. for the purpose of the discussing their relations to American Slavery. The house being called to order, on motion, George D. Baptist was called to the chair, and Benj. F. Dade appointed secretary, M.J. Lightfoot, Jas. Maten and Rich'd Gordon, Vice-presidents. The Chairman then in a few remarks made known the object of the meeting, after which, by request, Mr. H. Bibb sung a liberty song. A committee of three was then appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the objects of the meeting; Wm. Lambert , Henry Bibb and Ed. J. Cooper were appointed. After a brief absence the committee returned and through their chairman presented the following preamble and resolutions:

Whereas, The rights and liberties of the citizens of the free state of Michigan have been trampled under foot and sacrificed to the tyranny of southern slaveholders by the unrighteous decision rendered in the late suit brought by Giltner, Troutman & Co. of Kentucky, against Comstock, Gorham and others, of Michigan;

And Whereas, in our opinion the said decision has deprived us of all protection and security in our lives, our liberties and in the pursuit of happiness; for truly it may now be said of us that the birds have nests, and the foxes have holes, but the colored American hath not where to lay his head in peace - no, not even upon the soil that gave him birth. Heaven knows we have difficulties enough to encounter in this boasted land of liberty, religion, and bibles, without being hunted down like the beasts of the forest.

And Whereas, many of us have worn the galling chains of slavery, and have been hunted down and carried back, and passed through the fiery ordeal, and we know by sad experience its withering effects upon both body and mind, and its damning influence on the soul, we therefore cannot nor ever will believe that man has a right to hold his fellow man as property; therefore,

Resolved, That we hold our liberty dearer than we do our lives, and we will organize and prepare ourselves with the determination, live or die, sink or swim, we will never be taken back into slavery.

Resolved, That we will never voluntarily separate ourselves from the slave population in the country, for they are our fathers and mothers, and sisters and our brothers, their interest is our interest, their wrongs and their sufferings are ours, the injuries inflicted on them are alike inflicted on us; therefore it is our duty to aid and assist them in their attempts to regain their liberty.

Resolved, That as it is our earnest desire to be a peaceable and sober portion of the community, we will always abide by the constitution and laws of this and all other states which recognize no slavery within their borders, for we are not slaves but human beings, and never will submit tamely to be converted into goods and chattels.

Resolved, That this meeting appoint a committee to draft a petition to Congress praying for the repeal of the law of 1793, relative to the recapture of fugitive slaves.

After the reading of the foregoing preamble and resolutions, Mr. Wm. Lambert took the floor and supported them in a brief speech with much force and eloquence. Mr. Henry Bibb next came forward and was formally introduced to the audience by the chairman. Mr. B. spoke at length on the many topics which are now agitating the American continent; he spoke in detail of the wrongs of a large portion of the American people, of the horrors of slavery, of the late slave case and its unjust decision. Mr. B. closed by calling on the colored people of this city and state to prepare themselves with the means of self defence, for said he, ye are property in the eye of the laws of this free nation, equalized with the horse and the ox, and being held in this light by the manstealers of the south and liable to be seized as such at any moment by himself or his agents, all protection that is left you is that which nature has bestowed; therefore, as you have no other means, you must protect yourselves by whatever means you possess. Several other gentlemen addressed the meeting, among whom were Messrs. Richard Gordon and James Maten.

On motion, a committee of five was appointed to draft a petition to congress in accordance with the fifth resolution, consisting of the following gentlemen. Messrs. Wm. Lambert, Henry Bibb, Benj. F. Dade, Alfred Derrick and Rich'd Gordon.

After a vote of thanks to the city authorities for the use of the room, &c., the meeting adjourned.


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Updated 08/30/2010

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