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A Colored American to Frederick Douglass, May 8, 1849


New York, May 8th, 1849.

Frederick Douglass:ーI listened with lively interest to the addresses of Mr. Remond and yourself last evening, at the Abyssinia Church. They refreshed my memory of a series of resolutions, which were introduced by an humble individual to the last convention, called and held in Philadelphia some four, or perhaps five, years ago, for the purpose of making some arrangements to elevate ourselves in the scale of society. But, alas! the death of Mr. Paschal, and the want of energy of the President appointed to carry the resolutions into effect! The great big minister of the great big church of Philadelphia checked the progress, and put a stop to all the efforts contemplated for that good purpose. The plan, first of all, was to get the preachers interested in their own and all colored American's improvement. The interference of the ministers for improvement was objected to by themselvesーthat is, the minister who officiated for them. [See the "Elevator," published in Philadelphia, just before it stopped.]

By it the proposal was made that the city of Philadelphia be laid off in blocks or wards; that each ward establish a society to admit every man and woman, irrespective of complexion, who would pay one cent per week into the treasury, until a sufficient amount was raised, to be expended under judicious regulation to obtain the end in viewーour liberty. Several ward societies were in operation, some pamphlets were printed, &c. &c. But some of the preachers erroneously labored under the impression that the popular societies detract from the influence of the church, shorten their means of support, and give influence to the people, which they claim for themselves. Hence the whole matter fell through. Would some such plan succeed better in New York?



Colored American, A




A Colored American to Frederick Douglass. PLSr: NS, 25 May 1849. Suggests failure of earlier abolitionist efforts to organize New Yorkers was due to church opposition.


This document was calendared in the published volume and has not been published in full before.


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