Should 1830 Be Considered the Inaugural Colored Convention?

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Almost all scholars, organizations and the Colored Conventions Project itself list the 1830 convention held in Philadelphia as the first Colored Convention ever.  Many other scholars and organizations agree on this point; Howard H. Bell in Minutes and Proceedings of the National Negro Convention Movement 1830-1864 [1], The Journal of Negro Education in "Free Negroes of the North 1830-1835: A Study in National Cooperation [2], The Anglo-African Magazine in 1859, reprinted by the Arno Press and the New York Times in 1868 [3], and Wikipedia are among them.

A close examination of the minutes and the delegates that constituted this 1830 convention, however, raises questions about how this meeting actually relates to the rest of the movement. There are three important differences between the 1830 convention and the other national conventions held in Philadelphia from 1831-1835. 

Difference 1: The title

Difference 2: The constitution

Difference 3: The attendance



[1] Howard Holman Bell, ed., Minutes of the Proceedings of the National Negro Conventions 1830-1864 (NY: Arno Press, 1969), i.

[2] Howard Holman Bell. 1957. “Free Negroes of the North 1830-1835: A Study in National Cooperation.” The Journal of Negro Education 26 (4). Journal of Negro Education: 447–55. doi:10.2307/2293492.

[3] Hamilton, T. (1968). The Anglo-African magazine. New York: Arno Press and the New York Times.