Browsing named entities in Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Massachusetts in the Army and Navy during the war of 1861-1865, vol. 1: prelminary narrative. You can also browse the collection for May 23rd, 1861 AD or search for May 23rd, 1861 AD in all documents.

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, moreover, the State of Massachusetts which, in advance of all others, debated in its Legislature resolutions urging upon the general government the employment of colored soldiers; these resolutions receiving a clear majority in both houses, but being defeated by a technicality. The Senate passed them by a vote of 17 to 13, and the House voted to suspend the rules for the same purpose, 74 to 69; this being a defeat, as a two-thirds vote was required. It was the last day of the session, May 23, 1861, and this vote makes it probable that the resolutions would have passed the House had it remained in session one day longer. Up to this time, it must be remembered, colored men were not admitted to the Massachusetts militia, repeated applications from the leading colored men of Boston having failed to remove the restriction. In the final debate, the main supporters of the resolution were Messrs. Henry L. Pierce of Dorchester, Charles W. Slack of Boston and William F. Durfee of New Be