We should form an institution that will bring the most distant and detached portions of our people together, embrace their varied interests, and unite their whole moral power. Our collected wisdom should be assembled, to consult on measures pertaining to the general welfare; and so direct our energies, as to do the greatest good for the greatest number. Thus united, and thus directed, every weapon that prejudice has formed against us, would be rendered powerless; and our moral elevation would be as rapid, as it would be certain. Without a national institution of some description, our affairs can never attain any degree of consistence or permanence. . . . The noble and praiseworthy efforts of the few, must continue to be partial, imperfect and unsuccessful, for want of the support and cooperation of the many. I have already expressed myself in favor of a convention, but if a society can be so modified as to meet our wants, I shall be perfectly willing to acquiesce. I will not object to any institution which may meet the views of a majority, provided it will unite and harmonize the distant and discordant parts of our population.
—Reverend Lewis Woodson ( 1838)