Memphis Daily Appeal, August 4, 1877

Memphis Daily Appeal, August 4, 1877

MISSISSIPPI.

Review of the Proceedings of the Democratic Convention – The Colored Delegate Webster – His Nomination and his Speech.

He Offers the Party Some Wholesome and Timely Suggestions – Follow Lamar’s Advice – “Deal Justly and Fairly By All Classes and Colors.”

Discussion on the Adoption of the Platform – Singleton’s Speech – Assurances of Support of the Ticket by Defeated Candidates – Closing Scenes.

From a Staff Correspondent of the Appeal.]

JACKSON, MISS., August 2. The State Democratic convention, the largest ever held in Mississippi, has concluded its work. In reviewing the magnitude and character of this convention, its important objects and the nominations it made, as well as the resolutions and platform adopted, there are many things of no ordinary bearing to be recounted. A noticeable and novel feature of this Democratic convention was the large number of negro delegates appointed by the Democracy from the different counties of the State. In Grenada county, for instance, twenty-five colored men were elected as delegates. The colored delegates of course occupied seats among the white people in the convention, and were recognized in its deliberations and proceedings. This is the first, though it will not be the last, time in the history of Mississippi Democracy where colored men will be given representation. Perhaps this no longer doubted question of equal rights to all, irrespective of previous condition of race, color, servitude or birthplace, illustrated and proved as it has just been, when a usurped Presidency of the nation might seem to give the Republican party additional pretences for deceiving the credulity of the negro, will serve to establish and perfect the precedent for the future in the Democratic parties of the southern States. Among the candidates for secretary of state was General Joseph R. Davis, a nephew of Ex-President Jefferson Davis, and a gallant commander in the Confederate army. Yet this gentleman, worthy as he is of the emoluments and honor of the office to which he aspired, and the duties of which he would have discharged satisfactorily, did not receive one-half the votes as did John D. Webster, a colored citizen of Washington county, from which he was sent as a delegate to the Democratic convention.

[…]

R. H. Allen, a member of the Democratic State executive committee, presented the name of Dan Johnson for secretary of state, but the latter declined, and said he had no individual or personal interest in addressing the committee as he had just done. He had been actuated in behalf of the interest of his race. At the conclusion of these remarks he presented the name of John D. Webster, colored, of Washington county, for secretary of state. After several ballots, and when Webster had received fifty or more votes, he withdrew his name. In doing so he said it was a fact that there are two classes, the one white and the other black; the interests of both should be protected. He would like to see a black man on the Democratic ticket, because it would refute the utterings of Morton, Blaine and others, that the Democratic party would not recognize the political rights of the negro. He would like to hurl this slander back into the teeth of these men. He said, moreover, that he was satisfied that the colored people would have had a member of their own race on the ticket if they had asked it in time. He was also satisfied that the white people of the south are the true friends of the negro, and will stand to him. He was satisfied with the large vote he had received, and, in his withdrawal, would leave the convention to nominate the best man.

John D. Webster is an intelligent negro, and is the present clerk of Washington county. He has been a member of the legislature, and is said to be one of the best clerks in Mississippi. Several years ago a negro with the same initials, John D. Worlds, who was chancery court clerk of Washington county, committed suicide by jumping from a wharf boat into the Mississippi river. After asking a friend if he had ever seen a man commit suicide, Worlds made the fatal plunge. But these facts are related by way of incident, for the present “John D.” is too sensible to attempt such a death.

The speeches and requests of the two colored men, as well as the action of the convention, need no further comment.

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