Clarion Ledger, December 18, 1896

Clarion Ledger, December 18, 1896


An Organization of Darkies Formed to Assail the Franchise Clause.

After the adjournment of the Republican State Executive Committee all the colored men present held a meeting at Spellman’s Hall, and perfected an organization, the purpose of which is to take steps to test the constitutionality of the suffrage clause of the State Constitution.

The object of the meeting was explained by Hons. John R. Lynch and L. K. Atwood as above indicated.

L. K. Atwood was elected chairman and J. C. Hill secretary.

A committee of five were appointed to recommend what, in their judgment, was the best step towards the accomplishment of the object desired. The committee appointed was W. E. Mollison, G. W. Gayles, R. H. Simmons, Walter Farish and W. H. Allen, which recommended that the State organization consist of a president and vice-president, secretary, assistant secretary and treasurer, and an executive committee composed of nine members, one from each Congressional district and the president and secretary.

The executive committee is empowered, and it is their duty to make all necessary rules and regulations for the government of the State organization and the subordinate organization. They shall also investigate and determine, first, whether or not it is possible or practicable to test the constitutionality of the suffrage clause of the present constitution through the Federal courts, and if they find it can be done, to take necessary steps and employ the necessary attorneys for that purpose. Second, to bring this matter to the attention of the President and the Congress of the United States, with a view of having an investigation made by the government of the United States to find out whether or not we have in this State a Republican form of government. Third, to ascertain whether or not it is possible or practicable to secure a reduction of the representation in Congress from this State as long as the present suffrage clause of the State constitution remains in force.

The officers for the State elected were: John R. Lynch, president; G. W. Gayles, vice-president; L. K. Atwood, treasurer; W. E. Mollison, secretary; W. S. Keys, assistant secretary. Each Congressional district is to have a vice-president, who is to perfect an organization in each county in his district.

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