Florida and the Colored Conventions Movement
Julia Pennington Gibbs
When she was born May 21, 1854, Julia Pennington Gibbs’s birth continued the Colored Conventions Movement’s naming tradition of naming one’s children after prominent convention New York Presbyterian minister Rev. J.W.C. Pennington.1 In this case Gibbs’ father, was an emerging Colored Convention Movement activist and later Florida’s first Black cabinet member named Rev. Jonathan C. Gibbs who would later become a Presbyterian minister. Rev. Gibbs actually began his conventions career at the 1855 New York State Convention.2 Educational attainment was an important feature gleaned from the upbringing of Gibbs. She exuded this quality by not only graduating from New Haven High School in the 1870s, but by also being one of the first Black teachers at New Haven, Connecticut’s Dixwell Avenue School.3 She married a man, Richard H. Muse, in the summer of 1883 who also greatly valued education.4 Muse was a former “Hampton Student Singer” at Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia who taught school, and was a janitor at Yale College as well. Although New Haven was Gibbs’ long time home, she later died February 1935 in Washington D.C..5
- P. Gabrielle Foreman, (Draft form Introduction) ed. Colored Conventions Movement in the Nineteenth-Century and the Digital Age (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2020), 19. Find a Grave, Julia Pennington Gibbs Muse.
- Colored Men’s State Convention of New York (1855 : Troy, NY), “Colored Men’s State Convention of New York, Troy, September 4, 1855.,” ColoredConventions.org, accessed May 18, 2019, https://omeka.coloredconventions.org/items/show/238.“Here and There.”
- Colored American (Washington (DC), District of Columbia) 6, no. 15, July 9, 1898: . Readex: America’s Historical Newspaper.
- Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, Twenty-Two Years Work of the Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute at the Hampton, VA: Records of Negro and Indian Graduates and Ex-Students (Hampton: Normal School Press, 1893), 92.
- New York Age (New York, New York), March 3, 1934: 3. Readex: America’s Historical Newspapers.