"Address to the Free Persons of Colour of these United States"
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In September of 1830, the first National Negro Convention was held in the Bethel Church in Philadelphia. From the convention emerged "The American Society of Free Persons of Colour. . . ," which published, the following year, a document that included the proceedings of the convention, the society's constitution, and an "address to the free persons of colour."
The address stated the society's disapproval of the American Colonization Society's efforts to relocate free blacks to Africa, while "not doubting the sincerity of many friends who are engaged in that cause." The document encouraged free blacks to emigrate to Canada and concluded that establishing and supporting a permanent settlement in Canada "would be a great advantage to the people of colour.
The decision to advocate mass emigration was short-lived, though. In 1833 the society resolved "that there is not now, and probably never will be actual necessity for a large emigration of the present race of free colored people."
The address was signed by Richard Allen, who had been named president of the society.
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