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From 1830 until the 1890s, already free and once captive Black people came together in state and national political meetings called "Colored Conventions." Before the War, they strategized about how to achieve educational, labor and legal justice at a moment when Black rights were constricting nationally and locally. After the War, their numbers swelled as they continued to mobilize to ensure that Black citizenship rights and safety, Black labor rights and land, Black education and institutions would be protected under the law.

The delegates to these meetings included the most well-known, if mostly male, writers, organizers, church leaders, newspaper editors, and entrepreneurs in the canon of early African-American leadership—and thousands whose names and histories have long been forgotten. What is left of this phenomenal effort are rare proceedings, newspaper coverage, and petitions that have never before been collected in one place.

This project seeks to not only learn about the lives of male delegates, the places where they met and the social networks that they created, but also to account for the crucial work done by Black women in the broader social networks that made these conventions possible. endeavors to transform teaching and learning about this historic collective organizing effort—and about the many leaders and places involved in it—bringing them to digital life for a new generation of students and scholars across disciplines and for community researchers interested in the history of activist church, civil rights, educational and entrepreneurial engagement.

Recently Added Items

  • Convention of the Colored People of Ohio

    A newspaper article about the 1837 Ohio State Convention held in Columbus, OH published in The Philanthropist (September 8, 1837)

  • "Colored Convention."

    A newspaper article about the 1873 National Civil Rights Convention held in Washington DC published in the Milwaukee Daily Sentinel (Dec. 10, 1873)

  • "Washington. Our General Dispatches."

    A newspaper article about the 1873 National Civil Rights Convention held in Washington DC published in North American and United States Gazette (Dec.…

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