- A Brief Introduction to the Movement
- To Stay or To Go?: The National Emigration Convention of 1854
- The 1853 Manual Labor College Initiative
- Bishop Henry McNeal Turner
- Mobility, Migration, and the 1855 Philadelphia National Convention
- Henry Highland Garnet's "Address"
- What Did They Eat? Where Did They Stay?
- Black Wealth and the 1843 Convention
- Black Women's Economic Power
- The First National Convention
- The "Conventions" of the Conventions: Political Rituals
- A National Press? The 1847 National Convention and the North Star
- Equality Before the Law: California Black Convention Activism, 1855-65
- Conflict on the Ohio: The 1858 Convention in Cincinnati
- The Post-Bellum Conventions Movement and the Emigration Debate
- Conventions by City
- National Conventions
- Women Delegates
- Women in the Conventions
- Convention Hosts by Denomination
- Conventions by Level
- Clusters of Conventions
- Colored Conventions in Canada
- Women in the Conventions | March 8, 2017
- Douglass Day
- About Us
- Contact Us
William H. Hall
William H. Hall, born in Washington D.C. in approximately 1823, was part of the Black migration to California, where he became a prominent orator, writer, community member.
The date of and reason for Hall’s migration is unknown, as there are few records revealing much of his personal life before or during his residence in California. Hall most likely resided in San Francisco, though the minutes of the 1856 convention cite him as a representative for both El Dorado county and Butte county. This may be explained by an account published in the Elevator which describes him as a “tax payer on real estate,” indicating that Hall may have owned property in several California counties. The 1880 Federal Census reports his real estate value as $6,000 and his personal estate value as $1,000. Hall was also employed as a barber, which reflects the prominence of labor and service jobs within California's Black activist circles. Hall was married to Sarah L. Hall, originally from New York, with whom he had six children.
While in California, Hall attended several conventions and served on numerous committees. He was appointed president of the 1856 national convention held in Sacramento, for which he received praise for the “dignified, efficient, and impartial discharge of his duties.” At the 1856 convention, Hall gave an address regarding the respectable behavior Black people must sustain in order to combat the prejudices against them and obtain full legal rights as citizens of the United States. Several of Hall’s speeches and writings follow similar lines, as he often spoke of Blacks’ dignity and embodiment of American ideals in spite of the wrongs committed against them by white Americans. In one speech given at an Emancipation Celebration in 1864, Hall reflected at length upon the “great national wrong” committed by the American people in their “brutality and bondage” of Black people. Hall’s speech, which was given on the anniversary celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, ultimately held hope for the nation; he believed that though the country “may blunder in the consummation” of its founding ideals, the “genius of antislavery” will cause “freedom and equality [to be] unmistakable, before the admiring gaze of an enlightened world.”
Hall was also vocal, through both writing and public speaking, about more specific issues. He advocated for Black suffrage, equal pay for Black soldiers, and the hiring of freedmen to help build the Pacific Railroad . This last appeal, Hall believed, would “develop astounding results” as long as the men were given sufficient pay, accommodations, and kindness .
Though the date of Hall’s death is unknown, there are records indicating he lived in California through at least 1880 as he worked to raise his family and foster the Black community.
 1880 United States Federal Census, San Francisco Ward 6, San Francisco, Ancestry.com, accessed 28 April 2016.
 Second Annual Convention of the Colored Citizens of the State of California (1856 : Sacramento, CA), “Proceedings of the Second Annual Convention of the Colored Citizens of the State of California, Held in the City of Sacramento, Dec. 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th, 1856.,” ColoredConventions.org
 A Follower in the Ranks, “Communication,” Elevator, 1 December 1 1865.
 William Henry Hall, “Oration,” Pacific Appeal, 9 January 1864.
 William Henry Hall, “Speech of Mr. Wm. H. Hall,” Elevator, 10 November 1865.
 William Henry Hall, “Company A, California Colored Volunteers,” Pacific Appeal, 18 July 1863.
 Hall, William Henry. “Pacific Railroad,” Pacific Appeal, 16 August 1862.
Written by Reilly Torres. Taught by Sharla Fett, History 213 Occidental College, Spring 2016.