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Home > Transcribe Minutes > Welcome to Transcribe Minutes

Welcome to Transcribe Minutes

You can help transcribe the minutes of the Colored Conventions!

During the 19th century, thousands of African Americans attended conventions across the U.S. and Canada. They organized to fight for political, labor, social and educational equality. Yet records of these more than 100 gatherings have been all but forgotten.

The Colored Conventions Project presents these records online together for the first time, but the records are difficult to search and share. We are asking volunteers to help us correct transcriptions in order to create the first fully-searchable collection of Colored Convention minutes. The collection will open up potentially limitless opportunities for students and researchers to learn about this vital chapter in American history.

How to participate in Transcribe Minutes

Create an account 

Start transcribing

Quick Start Guide

Advanced Instructions

Contact us or sign up for updates and news 


Share your story about what the conventions mean to you. 

Quick Start Guide

  • Each transcription page displays a PDF image of a single page of a convention's minutes. The current version of the transcription appears below it. Make the transcription match the PDF image.

  • Need to adjust your view of the PDF? Use the scroll bar or the zoom buttons in the document viewer.

  • Click the red "Save Transcription" button below the transcription to save your work. Save often!

  • To see the current saved version of the transcription, scroll down to the bottom of the page.

  • When the page is done, click the red "Submit" button on the right.

  • To continue transcribing pages, click "Next Page", or go back to the transcription page to select a new document.

Advanced Instructions on Transcribing

Save your work often.
Remember to hit the red "Save Transcription" button often. There is no auto-save function, so make sure you do not lose your unsaved work.

Make the transcript match the page.
Our goal is to recreate the text in the document. Write down words, titles, and paragraphs as they appear.

Ignore (most) formatting.
Ignore the alignment and fonts of the text. No need to mark any bold, italicized, or underlined text. Only format the paragraph and list breaks. Mark these by leaving a blank line in between (or by hitting Return/Enter twice).

Capital letters of any size are capital letters.
Printers in the 19th century often used medium-sized capitals. Transcribe these letters the same as the larger capital letters.

Write the whole word
Ignore hyphens at the end of a line. Instead, type the full word. If a hyphen appears at the end of a page, type the full word on the second page.

Don’t correct errors in the historical text.
Transcribe the words and letters exactly as they are on the page, including any errors in spelling, grammar, or punctuation.

Tell us if you can’t make out a word or letters.
Note the words or letters that are illegible with [[double brackets]]. We hope you’ll use your best judgment to make a guess and use a question mark, example: [[maybe this?]]. If you think something deserves our attention, write to us on our contact page.

Every little bit helps.
Even a sentence or two helps. Transcribe a bit and save your work in progress. You or someone else can return to the page later on.

Completing a page’s transcription
When you have finished a page’s transcription, double check it for errors. Then, click the red “Submit” button on the right. CCP team members will review and mark your page complete.

Send us feedback, questions, and comments when necessary.
Send us messages through the "Contact Us" page so we can make the experience of Transcribe Minutes even better!



Transcribe Minutes uses an open-source tool, Scripto, developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. 

Transcribe Minutes was made possible by invaluable support from the entire Colored Conventions team, the University of Delaware Library, and UD's Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center.

These instructions were prepared with inspiration from the excellent crowd-sourcing projects at the Newberry Library, the Smithsonian Transcription Center, the University of Iowa’s DIYHistory, and Transcribe Bentham.