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Home > Conventions > Conventions by Year

Conventions by Year

Starting in 1830 and continuing until well after the Civil War, free, freed and self-emancipated Blacks came together in state and national political conventions. They strategized about how they might achieve educational, labor, and legal justice during decades when Black rights were constricting nationally and locally as well as during the intervening postwar years, before the very promise of a democracy that included all citizens was once foreclosed again. The Colored Conventions movement took place during critical decades which witnessed devastating anti-Black race riots and the growing popularity of the American Colonization Society; the Fugitive Slave Law and the proliferation of derogatory representations of Blacks; the Civil War and Reconstruction; and the return of Black disenfranchisement in legal, labor, and educational spheres in the late nineteenth century. Speakers at conventions responded by calling for community-based action that gathered funds, established schools and literary societies, and urged the necessity of organizing in what would become a decades-long campaign for civil and human rights. The convention minutes collected here illustrate the immense struggles and the profound courage of those who made it a point to organize and stand for what was rightly theirs.

Most conventions were organized either as state or national meetings, though there were some regional meetings for New England and the Southern States, for example. You may also search by region, though these are twenty-first century terms and don’t reflect the changing borders of the US in the nineteenth century itself. This collection is preserved in the University of Delaware Library Institutional Repository (UDSpace).

Select a convention to learn more information, to view minutes in a document viewer, or to download minutes in pdf format.

1830s | 1840s | 1850s | 1860s | 1870s | 1880s | 1890s

Conventions by Year

Note to Visitors: In most cases, each convention has one primary document associated with it. When multiple documents are available for a convention, they are present below the respective conventions with indentations.  

1830 National Convention of Free People of Colour held in Philadelphia PA

1831 National Convention of Free People of Colour held in Philadelphia PA

1832 National Convention of Free People of Colour held in Philadelphia PA

1833 National Convention of Free People of Colour held in Philadelphia PA

1834 National Convention of Free People of Colour held in New York NY

Address to the 1834 Convention by William Hamilton 

1835 National Convention of Free People of Colour held in Philadelphia PA

1840 New York State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Albany

Newspaper Reports on the 1840 Convention

1841 Maine State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Portland

A Call to the Colored Citizens of Maine and New Hampshire

1841 New York State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Troy

1841 Pennsylvania State Convention of Colored Freemen held in Pittsburgh 

1842 Indiana State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Indianapolis

1843 Mid-Atlantic Regional Temperance Convention of Colored Citizens held in Salem NJ

1843 Michigan State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Detroit

1843 National Convention of Colored Citizens held in Buffalo NY

1843 Ohio State Colored People's State Convention held in Columbus

1843 New York State Convention of Colored People held in Rochester (Seeking Records)

1844 New York State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Schenectady

Report on the 1844 New York State Convention

1844 Ohio State Convention of Colored Citizens

1845 New York State Free Suffrage Convention held in Geneva

1847 National Convention of Colored People and Their Friends held in Troy NY

1847 Canadian Convention of the Colored Population held in Drummondville ON

1848 National Convention of Colored Freemen held in Cleveland OH

1848 Pennsylvania State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Harrisburg

1849 Connecticut State Convention of Coloured Men held in New Haven

1849 New Jersey State Convention of Coloured Citizens held in Trenton

1849 Ohio State Convention of Coloured Citizens held in Columbus 

1850 Maine State Colored Convention held in Portland

1850 Fugitive Slave Law Convention held in Cazenovia NY

1850 Ohio State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Columbus

1851 Indiana State Convention of People of Color held in Indianapolis

Report on the 1851 Indiana State Convention

1851 New York State Convention of Colored People held in Albany

1851 Ohio State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Columbus

Address to the 1851 Ohio State Convention

1851 North American Convention held in Toronto ON

1851 Pennsylvania State Convention of Colored People held in Sandy Lake (Seeking Records)

1852 Maryland State Convention of Free Colored People held in Baltimore

1852 Ohio State Convention of Colored Freemen held in Cincinnati

1853 Illinois State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Chicago

1853 National Convention of the Free People of Color held in Rochester NY

1853 Ohio State Convention of Colored Freemen held in Columbus

1853 Canadian Convention for the Improvement of Colored Inhabitants held in Amerstburg ON

1854 Connecticut State Convention held in Middletown

1854 Massachusetts State Council of Colored Citizens held in Boston

1854 New York State Council of Colored People held in Albany

1854 National Emigration Convention held in Cleveland OH

1855 California State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Sacramento

1855 Connecticut State Convention of Colored Men held in Hartford

1855 New York State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Albany

1855 New York State Convention of Colored Men held in Troy

1855 National Convention of Colored People held in Philadelphia PA

1856 California State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Sacramento

1856 Illinois State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Alton

1856 Ohio State Convention of Colored Men held in Columbus

1857 California State Convention of Colored People held in San Francisco

1857 Iowa State Convention of Colored Men held in Muscatine

1857 Ohio State Convention of Colored Men held in Columbus

1858 Massachusetts State Convention of Colored Citizens held in New Bedford

1858 New York State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Troy

1858 Ohio State Convention of Colored Men held in Cincinnati

1858 Canadian Convention held in Chatham ON

1859 Indiana State Convention of Colored Men held in Indianapolis

1859 New England Regional Convention of Colored Citizens held in Boston MA 

1863 Kansas State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Leavenworth

1863 State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Poughkeepsie NY

1864 National Convention of Colored Men held in Syracuse NY

1865 Arkansas State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Little Rock

1865 California State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Sacramento

1865 Connecticut State Convention of Colored Men held in New Haven

 

1865 Connecticut State Convention of Colored Men held in New Haven Newspaper Report (National Anti-Slavery Standard)

1865 Washington, D.C. Celebration by the Colored People's Educational Monument Association in Memory of Abraham Lincoln

1865 Indiana State Convention of Colored People held in Indianapolis

1865 Louisiana State Conventionof Colored People held in New Orleans

1865 New England Regional Convention of Colored People held in Boston MA

1865 Michigan State Equal Rights League Convention held in Detroit

1865 North Carolina State Convention of Colored People held in Raleigh

Report on the 1865 North Carolina State Convention (The Liberator)

Report on the 1865 North Carolina State Convention (The Christian Recorder)

Letter to the 1865 North Carolina State Convention by William W. Coleman

1865 New Jersey State Convention of Coloured Men held in Trenton

1865 Ohio State Convention of Colored Men held in Xenia

1865 National Equal Rights League Convention held in Cleveland OH

1865 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention held in Harrisburg (Feb. 8-10)

1865 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention held in Harrisburg (Aug. 9-10) 

1865 South Carolina State Convention of Colored People held in Charleston

1865 Tennessee State Convention of Colored Men held in Nashville

1865 City Meeting of the Colored Citizens of Norfolk VA

1865 Virginia State Convention of Colored People held in Alexandria

1866 New Jersey State Colored Convention held in Gloucester (Seeking Records)

1866 Georgia State Freedmen's Convention held in Augusta (Jan. 10)

1866 Georgia State Freedmen's Convention held in Augusta (Apr. 4)

1866 Georgia State Convention of the Equal Rights and Educational Association held in Macon

1866 Illinois State Convention of Colored Men held in Galesburg

1866 Indiana State Equal Rights League Convention held in Indianapolis

1866 Kansas State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Lawrence

1866 Kentucky State Convention of Colored Men held in Lexington

1866 Maryland State Convention of Colored People held in Baltimore

1866 North Carolina State Freedmen's Convention held in Raleigh

1866 New York State Convention of Colored Men held in Albany

1866 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention held in Pittsburgh

1866 Tennessee State Convention of Colored People held in Nashville

1866 Texas State Central Committee of Colored Men (Seeking Records)

1867 Ohio State Equal Rights League Convention held in Cincinnati (Seeking Records)

1867 Alabama State Convention of Colored Men held in Mobile

1867 National Colored Convention held in Washington DC

1867 National Equal Rights Convention held in Washington DC

1867 Kentucky State Convention of Colored Men held in Lexington

1867 Ohio State Equal Rights League Convention held in Cincinnati

1867 National Convention of the Colored Soldiers and Sailors in Philadelphia PA

Report on the 1867 Colored Soldiers and Sailors Convention

1868 Pennsylvania State Convention of Colored Men held in Pittsburgh (Seeking Records)

1868 New Jersey State Convention of the Colored Men held in Trenton (Seeking Records)

1868 Iowa State Colored Convention held in Des Moines

1868 Maryland State Convention of Colored Men held in Baltimore

1868 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention held in Williamsport

1869 National Convention of Colored Men held in Washington DC

1869 National Colored Labor Convention held in Washington DC

1869 Georgia State Colored Convention held in Macon

Report of 1869 Maryland Convention 

1869 Minnesota State Convention of Colored Citizens held in St. Paul

1869 Virginia State Convention held in Richmond  

1869 Maryland State Colored Labor Convention (Seeking Records)  

1869 Georgia State Colored Labor Convention held in Macon (Seeking Records)  

1869 Texas State Colored Labor Convention held in Galveston (Seeking Records)  

1869 Maryland State Convention of Colored Mechanics held in Baltimore (Seeking Records)  

1869 Kentucky State Colored Educational Convention held in Louisville (Seeking Records)

1869 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention held in Philadelphia (Seeking Records)

1869 Maryland State Colored Convention held in Baltimore (Seeking Records)

1870 Missouri State Colored People's Educational Convention held in Jefferson City

1870 New York State Convention of Colored Voters held in Syracuse

1870 New York State Labor Convention held in Saratoga (Seeking Records)  

1870 Louisiana State Convention held in New Orleans (Seeking Records)

1871 Kentucky State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Frankfort

1871 National Convention of Colored People held in St. Louis MO

1871 Ohio State Convention of Colored Men held in Columbus 

1871 Southern Regional Convention of Colored Men held in Columbia SC

1871 Tennessee State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Nashville

1871 Indiana State Convention of Colored Men held in Indianapolis (Seeking Records)  

1871 Nebraska State Convention held in Omaha (Seeking Records)

1871 Georgia State Convention of Colored Men held in Atlanta (Seeking Records)

1871 Texas State Colored Convention held in Houston (Seeking Records)

1871 Louisiana State Convention of Colored People held in New Orleans (Seeking Records)  

1871 Alabama Labor Union Convention (Seeking Records)  

1871 Colored National Labor Union Convention held in Washington, D.C. (Seeking Records)  

1872 National Convention of Colored People held in New Orleans LA 

1872 Nebraska State Convention of Colored People held in Omaha

1872 Cuban Slavery Convention held in New York NY

1872 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention held in Harrisburg

1872 New England States Convention of Colored Citizens held in Boston, MA (Seeking Records)

1872 Convention of the Colored People of the Choctaw Nation (Seeking Records)

1872 New England Regional Convention held in Boston MA (Seeking Records)

1872 New York State Convention of Colored Men held in Troy (Seeking Records)

1872 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League (Seeking Records)  

1872 Nebraska State Convention of Colored People held in Omaha (Seeking Records)

1873 National Convention held in Washington DC

1873 Delaware State Convention of Colored People held in Dover

1873 Louisiana State Convention held in New Orleans

1873 New Jersey State Convention of New Citizens held in New Brunswick

1873 Texas State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Brenham

1873 Georgia State Convention of Colored People held in Macon (Seeking Records)  

1873 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention (Seeking Records)

1873 National Civil Rights Convention held in Washington DC (Seeking Records)

1873 Ohio State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Chillicothe (Seeking Records)  

1873 State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Washington, D.C. (Seeking Records)  

1874 New York State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Utica (Seeking Records)

1874 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention (Seeking Records)  

1874 Tennessee State Convention held in Nashville (Seeking Records)

1874 Louisiana State Convention (Seeking Records)  

1874 Alabama State Convention of Colored Men held in Montgomery (Seeking Records)  

1874 Alabama Negro Labor Convention held in Montgomery (Seeking Records)  

1875 National Convention of Colored Newspaper Men held in Cincinnati OH

1876 South Carolina State Conference of Colored Citizens held in Columbia

1876 National Convention of Colored People held in Nashville, Tennessee (Seeking Records)

1876 Charleston City Meeting of Colored Citizens (Seeking Records)

1877 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention held in Erie (Seeking Records)

1877 Missouri State Convention of Colored Teachers held in St. Louis (Seeking Records)

1877 Georgia State Educational Convention of Colored Men held in Hawkinsville (Seeking Records)

1877 Kentucky State Colored Educational Convention held in Frankfort

1877 North Carolina State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Raleigh (Seeking records)

1877 North Carolina State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Raleigh (Seeking Records)  

1878 Colored Laborer’s and Business Men's Industrial Convention held in Kansas City, Missouri (Seeking Records)  

1879 National Conference of Colored Men held in Nashville TN

1879 Texas State Convention of Colored People held in Houston

1879 Louisiana Convention held in New Orleans (Seeking Records)

1880 National Colored Press Convention held in Louisville, Kentucky (Seeking Records)

1880 Illinois State Convention of Colored People held in Springfield (Seeking Records)

1880 Texas State Farmers Association Convention held in Dallas

1881 State Convention of the Colored People of Delaware (Seeking Records)

1882 Maryland State Convention held in Baltimore (Seeking Records)

1882 National Colored Press Convention held in Washington, D.C. (Seeking Records)

1882 Kansas State Convention of Colored Men held in Parsons

1883 Arkansas State Convention held in Little Rock

1883 National Civil Rights Meeting held in Washington, D.C.

1883 National Convention held in Louisville KY

1883 South Carolina State Convention of Colored Men held in Columbia

1883 Texas State Convention of Colored Men held in Austin

1883 Illinois State Convention of Colored People held in Springfield (Seeking Records)

1883 Massachusetts State Convention of Colored Men held in Boston (Seeking Records)    

1883 Ohio State Convention of Colored People held in Columbus (Seeking Records)

1883 National Colored Press Convention held in St. Louis, Missouri (Seeking Records)  

1884 Florida State Convention held in Gainesville

1884 Colored Men's Inter-State Conference held in Pittsburgh

1884 Texas State Convention in Houston

1885 Kentucky Colored State Convention in Lexington

1884 Texas State Convention of Colored Men held in Houston (Seeking Records)

1884 Missouri State Convention of Colored Teachers (Seeking Records)  

1884 Tennessee State Convention of Colored Men (Seeking Records)

1885 Illinois State Convention of Colored Men held in Springfield (Seeking Records)

1885 Virginia State Convention of Colored People held in Lynchburg (Seeking Records)  

1886 Connecticut State Convention of Colored People (Seeking Records)  

1886 New England States Convention of Colored Men (Seeking Records)  

1886 Ohio State Convention of Colored People held in Alliance (Seeking Records)

1886 National Colored Press Convention held in Atlantic City, New Jersey (Seeking Records)

1887 National Colored Press Association held in Louisville, Kentucky (Seeking Records)  

1887 Kansas State Convention of the Afro-American League held in Topeka (Seeking Records)  

1887 National Convention of Colored Men (Seeking Records)  

1888 Georgia State Union Brotherhood Convention held in Macon 

1888 National Colored Press Association held in Nashville, Tennessee (Seeking Records)  

1889 Texas State Convention of Colored Men held in Waco

1889 State Convention of the California Afro-American League (Seeking Records)  

1889 Illinois State Convention of Colored men held in Springfield (Seeking Records)

1889 National Convention held in Washington, D.C. (Seeking Records)

1889 National Colored Press Convention held in Washington, D.C. (Seeking Records)  

1890 National Convention of the Afro-American League held in Chicago, Illinois (Seeking Records)  

1890 Convention of Colored Americans held in Washington, D. C. (Seeking Records)  

1890 National Colored Press Convention (Seeking Records)  

1890 Maryland State Convention of Colored People held in Boston (Seeking Records)

1891 American Citizens Equal Rights League Association Conference held in Washington, D.C. (Seeking Records)  

1891 National Colored Press Convention held in Cincinnati, Ohio (Seeking Records)

1891 New York State Convention of the Afro-American League (Seeking Records)  

1892 National Convention of Afro-American Press Association (Seeking Records)  

1892 Massachusetts State Convention of Colored Men held in Boston (Seeking Records)  

1892 New Jersey State Convention of Colored Men held in Trenton (Seeking Records)  

1893 National Colored Convention held in Cincinnati OH (Seeking Records)

1894 National Convention of Colored Teachers held in Baltimore (Seeking Records)

1894 National Afro-American Press Association Convention held in Richmond, Virginia (Seeking Records)  

1895 Texas State Convention of Colored Men held in Houston

1897 National Afro-American Press Association Convention (Seeking Records)  

1898 National Afro-American Press Association Convention (Seeking Records)  

1898 Pennsylvania State Convention of the Afro-American League (Seeking Records)  

1899 Hampton Negro Conference