- 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
- 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
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.
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 presented below the respective conventions with indentations.
1843 Ohio State Colored People's State Convention held in Columbus (Seeking Records)
1843 New York State Convention of Colored People held in Rochester (Seeking Records)
1851 Pennsylvania State Convention of Colored People held in Sandy Lake (Seeking Records)
1866 Indiana State Equal Rights League Convention held in Indianapolis (Seeking Records)
1866 Texas State Central Committee of Colored Men (Seeking Records)
1869 Kentucky State Colored Educational Convention held in Louisville (Seeking Records)
1869 Maryland State Colored Convention held in Baltimore (Seeking Records)
1869 Virginia State Convention held in Richmond (Seeking Records)
1870 Louisiana State Convention held in New Orleans (Seeking Records)
1871 Nebraska State Convention held in Omaha (Seeking Records)
1872 New York State Convention of Colored Men held in Troy (Seeking Records)
1874 Tennessee State Convention held in Nashville (Seeking Records)
1876 Charleston City Meeting of Colored Citizens (Seeking records)
1877 North Carolina State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Raleigh (Seeking records)