Search using this query type:

Search only these record types:

Exhibit Page
Simple Page

Advanced Search (Items only)

Women Delegates

View Fullscreen

Mr. Charles L. Remond, of Mass., moved that we admit
Miss Mary A. Shadd, of Canada, a corresponding member.

This question gave rise to a spirited discussion, after which the motion was passed.


This map shows the largely blank history of women at the conventions if we only pay attention to the delegate rolls. 

Only three women were ever served as recognized delegates to a convention. All of them were at Philadelphia's 1855 National Colored Convention: Mary Ann Shadd, Elizabeth Armstrong, and Rachel Cliff. The minutes of the 1855 national convention, quoted above, show the debate that went into even recognizing women as delegtes. 

Women served on committees at two other conventions, at Cazenovia's Fugitive Slave Law Convention in 1850 and at Boston's New England Colored Citizens' Convention in 1850.

A forthcoming map will argue that women's participation in the convention movement was much more central, vibrant, and crucial than the delegate rolls show. 

Here below is the complete list of women recognized as delegates / committee members at conventions. 

1850 - Cazenovia

Fordyce Rice, Business Committee

Phebe Hathaway, Fundraising Committee

Louisa Burnett, Fundraising Committee

Caroline Brown, Business Committee

Mary Springstead, Business Committee

Anne V. Adams, Secretary


1855 - Philadelphia

Elizabeth Armstrong, delegate from Pennsylvania

Rachel Cliff, delegate from Pennsylvania

Mary Ann Shadd, delegate from Canada


1859 - New England

Ruth Rice Remond, Business Committee

Eliza Logan Lawton, Business Committee