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Conventions

Starting in 1830 until well after the Civil War, free and fugitive Blacks came together in state and national political conventions to strategize about how they might achieve educational, labor, and legal justice at a moment when Black rights were constricting nationally and locally. The convention movement took root during a critical period of Black American history which witnessed devastating race riots, the Fugitive Slave Law, the proliferation of derogatory representations of Blacks, and the growing popularity of the American Colonization Society. Speakers at conventions responded to these issues by calling for community-based action that gathered funds, established schools and literary societies, and urged the necessity of hard work in what would become a decades-long campaign for 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. 

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

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