“We claim the privileges of citizenship by right of birth, as natives of the soil, against whom no attainder can exist. The former slavery of a portion of our race works no corruption of blood in them; they are now freemen, and consequently citizens, and as such are subject to all the liabilities and entitled to all the rights, privileges and immunities of citizens. Our citizenship being established, we maintain that there are other and still stronger reasons why the rights which are in equity guaranteed to all citizens should not be withheld from us. We are loyal to the Government, and yield willing obedience to the powers that be. No taint of treason lurks within the bosoms of our race; no charge of disloyalty has ever been brought against one having Negro blood in his veins. Our love of country is proverbial; our devotion to the land of our birth, its customs, habits and institutions, and our reverence for the laws which govern us, are unquestioned. We have given evidence of our fealty to the Union by the ardor with which we flew to arms at our country’s call, and by the sacrifice of thousands of lives to preserve intact the indissolubility of the Union, and to vindicate Republican principles before the world, as exemplified in this Government. Notwithstanding the ignominy with which we have been treated by the American people, we have ever maintained a Christian spirit of forgiveness, and a willingness to sustain our reputation as peace-loving, law-abiding citizens, and a desire to perpetuate the name and glory of our common country”

Colored Convention of California, Oct. 25-28, 1865


The descendents of the hundreds of African-Americans killed or wounded on July 30, 1866 and a few weeks earlier in Memphis pledge that we will remain faithful to the cause for which they gave their lives.

According to the National Park Service, their sacrifice led to the adoption and swift confirmation by every state of the 14th Amendment, the foundation of modern America. All Americans owe these patriots the right to be citizens, equal protection of the law and due process of law, along with the key provision for America’s wealth, the full faith and credit.

On this 177th anniversary, we commit to the same strategies that 4 million African-Americans employed for the greatest feat of democracy the world had seen to that time.


    • Like the Loyal League which attracted 700,000 members by the end of 1863, we set a goal of 70 percent of the 47 million current population to become dues-paying members of national organizations devoted to our freedom struggle.

    • Like the voters enfranchised by the Civil Rights Act of 1866, we plan to have 90 percent of all African-Americans registered to vote and to cast ballots in the 2024 election

    • Like the 209,145 U.S. Troops of African Descent who caused a grateful nation to pass three Constitutional Amendments, we encourage our young people to honor the five million African-American veterans beginning with Crispus Attucks in 1770 and to enlist in the United States armed forces, public health services and diplomatic corps to protect democracy.

We affirm, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Joint Reconstruction Committee, after taking testimony from African-Americans in 11 states during field hearings for the first time in American history, wrote the 14th Amendment to assure that violent, lawless discrimination and Black Codes against African-Americans are against the Constitution. Any effort to erase their testimony is anti-Constitutional.

We require the Justice Department, created in 1870 to enforce the 14th Amendment, to take action against states which have passed laws designed to restrict the right of African-Americans to vote to request that their representation in Congress be reduced by the proportion to which Black voters have been denied the franchise.

We further insist that the principle be applied to federal funding such that jurisdictions which do not assure that Congressional appropriations go to all citizens fairly have that funding reduced or terminated with provisions to assure that the descendants of the four million African-Americans who were the focus of the 14th Amendment receive the benefits of federal spending.

Like the National Union of Working Men that dominated the ports from the 1830s to the 1870s, we will deploy our economic power to spur society towards the goals of the 14th Amendment.

During the Journal of Black Innovation National Black Business Month in August, we will read this pledge from churches across the nation every Sunday beginning with July 30.

We commit to visit at least one African-American owned business that is an active member of a Black commerce or civil rights organization each day of August using the schedule available at blackbusinessmonth.com

We will hold our events and family gatherings in African-American owned venues and seek African-American professionals to develop our properties, keep us healthy, protect our legal rights, repair our equipment and manage our finances.

We honor our ancestors by guiding our children to discover their family lineages back to the 1870 Census, using the findings to protect all eligible sites for the National Register of Historic Places and we will develop amenities around those sites to allow sustained preservation.

We will gather in our churches on August 6 to pay tribute to a kind, wise and merciful Divine Creator who gave the people of Haiti the fortitude to build a Citadel atop a 3,000 foot mountain which inspired the abolition and independence movement across the Western Hemisphere, and who brought down 40 days and 40 nights of rain across California in December 1861 and January 1862 which played a decisive role in determining the direction of the Civil War.

On August 1, we will look to the Thurgood Marshall Center in Washington, D.C. for a timely invocation of the continuing legal majesty of the legislative intent and the scope of the 14th Amendment as the covenant between the African-Americans who saved the United States of America and their fellow citizens that freedom will always move forward and not backward.

And we will insist that, unlike the 1860s, that those who foment insurrection against the United States in word or deed be prohibited under the 14th Amendment from any positions of public honor or trust.

With this certitude, we will move forward to reach the Promised Land that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. prophesyed just 40 years before the election of the first Black President. Knowing that we have most recently survived the excess deaths during a global pandemic and have rebounded by reducing Black unemployment to its lowest level ever, we look forward to America’s 250 anniversary as a time to renew our faith by achieving a level of prosperity commensurate with our representation in the population.

We will also spend the last year of the International Decade for Peoples of African Descent strengthening our ties with the African Union and Caribbean Community, encouraging our students to study in universities abroad, particularly when doors are closed in the United States, and building trade through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and the Single Market Economy to lift the scope of Black-owned businesses globally.

Our treasure will go toward the protection of these sacred rights and covenants for the next 250 years.

With the grace of the Almighty, we humbly pray for guidance, courage and love

47 Million African-Americans

drafted by John William Templeton, author

Citizenship for All: 150th anniversary of

the 14th Amendment