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Keyword Definitions

African Diaspora—the dispersion of peoples from Africa during the Transatlantic Slave Trades, from the 1500s to the 1800s from Western and Central Africa to the Americas and Caribbean.

Black Activist—a person who fights for equal rights and justice for Black people.

Black Nationalism—people who advocate for or support the unity and political self-determination of and for Black people, around the idea and reality of a separate Black nation.

Black Preaching Women in the Nineteenth Century—Black evangelical women who preached the Gospel, often itinerantly. These women were rarely offered the pulpit or leadership positions in the church as a result of gendered discrimination, but they continued to preach and evangelize based upon their understanding of a higher calling.

Black Press—daily, weekly, monthly newspapers and magazines published by and for African Americans.

Emigration—to leave one’s country or region to live somewhere else.

Pan Africanism—the idea that people of African descent share common interests and should be unified. Pan-Africanism has often been expressed politically or culturally.

Reparations—are given in recognition of something wrong that was done usually by governments or institutions. Black reparations would recognize the wrongs that Black people have suffered as a result of slavery.

Reconstruction—the period after the Civil War spanning between approximately 1865-1877. During this era of political and social transformation, Congress passed the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments which ended slavery, promised equal protection under the law, and enfranchised Black male voters, respectively.


Abbeville, South Carolina—birthplace of Henry McNeal Turner.

Bloemfontein, South Africa—Henry McNeal Turner established the first AME church in South Africa.

Cincinnati, Ohio—location of Turner’s Convention in 1893.

Freetown, Sierra Leone—Henry McNeal Turner established the first AME church in West Africa

Macon, Georgia—first city where Henry McNeal Turner pastored an African Methodist Episcopalian (AME) church.

Virginia Theater of War—where Henry McNeal Turner was embedded in the United State Colored Troops (USCT).

Windsor, Ontario—Henry McNeal Turner died in Windsor, Ontario.

Organizations & Associations

African Colonization SocietyThe American Colonization Society (ACS) 1817–1847 wanted to send free African-Americans to Africa as an alternative to emancipation in the United States. In 1822, the society established an African colony that in 1847 became the nation of Liberia.

African Migration Society—African migration organization which Turner helped to organize.

AME Church—African Methodist Episcopalian Church is the first independent registered Black church in the United States.

Colored Conventions Movement—a seven generation movement of Black intellectual activists beginning in 1830 who organized and fought for access to the ballot, jury, education, fair wages, freedom from state violence and documented their efforts in the Black press.

Freedmen’s Bureau—The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, commonly referred to as the Freedmen’s Bureau, (1865–1872) was created after the Civil War of 1861-1865, to direct “provisions, clothing, and fuel … for the immediate and temporary shelter and supply of destitute and suffering refugees and freedmen and their wives and children.”

UNIA—United Negro Improvement Assocaition organized by Marcus Garvey in 1914. International Black nationalist organization devoted to Black pride, self government and economic independence.

Predominant Themes

Black Theology—recognizes an ontologically Black God deeply interested and connected to Black people.

The Role of the Black Church in Civil Rights Mobilization—the Black church as space and place of Black liberation thought, organization and freedom practices since its inception.

The Role of the Black Church in Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism—as place, space and network structure for Black independence and the development of Pan African philosophies, relationships and organizations.

Black Diaspora Reparations—the idea that all members of the African diaspora should receive compensation for the violence and sufferings caused by enslavement.

African Movements Between the Continent and the Diaspora—recognition that the creation of the Black church international has existed and thrived through the Black church, the Colored Conventions Movement and later still the Pan Africanist and Negritude Movement during the 20th and 21st centuries.

Points of Interactivity

Exhibit Page Name + Link

Data Visualization Name

Visualization Type


Events in the Life of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner

Graphic and Text Timeline

Turner’s Travels

Bishop Turner’s Travels

Interactive and annotated map

Turner and the Conventions

Turner and the Colored Conventions

Interactive story map


The Emigration Debate Through the Years

Graphic and text timeline

Turner in the Press

Bishop Turner in the Press

Interactive story map


To successfully teach these exhibits we strongly encourage teachers to explicitly teach the following methods used to tell more complete stories of African American, African Diaspora, and American history:

What is historiography?

Historiography can be understood as the history of history. A historiographical piece or essay discusses how history has been written over time and tracks the debates historians grappled with in a certain field. (Included is a link to video by; the first two [2] minutes of the video are free.)

How can students practice historiography as they study this exhibit?

How does historiography get written? Who gets to write history?

Suggested Exercise: Have students discuss the historiographical contributions of each section of the exhibit.

Primary Documents

What are primary documents?

How do we research and analyze primary documents?

Is there a tool that we can use to help us think about primary documents?

What is the proper MLA citation practice for primary documents?

Suggested Exercise: Students must locate, review and use the following primary documents:

See the collection of Bishop Turner’s published works in the section of the exhibit on Turner and the AME Church for resources.

Data Visualization

What is data visualization?

The act of showing data (information) using images such as pictures, maps, graphs, drawings. This infographic is a good example. (Source: Simon Rogers. The Guardian newspaper, International Edition. Friday, March 7th, 2014)

What does digital data visualization allow you to see and analyze differently than data presented in textbooks?

Suggested Exercise: Have students choose one data visualization in the exhibit and narrate the story it tells, or teachers may encourage students to create their own visualizations based on their own research or the data provided.

Attribution and Citation

Why is it important to cite sources?

What information does citation communicate?

Suggested Exercise: Students will learn to accurately and appropriately cite this exhibit and the works referenced within, including:

  • Primary documents within the exhibit (eg. Handbill from 1863 advertising a call for Black [colored] men to join the armed forces to fight in the Civil War)

Secondary documents within the exhibit (eg. Text in exhibit that discusses “The Four Horsemen” in the AME Church, written by the creator of the exhibit.)


Comprehension Questions

1. What is the argument or main idea of the exhibit?

The main idea of, Before Garvey! Henry McNeal Turner and the Fight for Reparations, Emigration and Black Rights is that though Marcus Garvey is rightly known for reparations, emigration, declaring Black Divinity and his fight for Black rights across the diaspora, Bishop Henry McNeal Turner developed and organized, wrote and spoke about all those issues long before Garvey; and in fact Garvey’s success is dependent on the foundation which Turner laid.

Bishop Henry McNeal Turner (1834 -1915)

2. Who are the subjects of the exhibit?

Bishop Henry McNeal Turner, primarily, Black preaching women in the nineteenth century and Marcus Garvey.

3. What are the topics of the exhibit?

The exhibit explores: the Colored Conventions Movement, Black Divinity, the AME church, Emigration, Black rights, Reconstruction and the Civil War.

4. What is the timeline of the exhibit?

The exhibit begins with Turner’s birth in 1834 and ends with Garvey’s death in 1940.

5. What are the major themes of the exhibit?

The major themes of the exhibit are: the Colored Conventions Movement, Reparations, Black Divinity, Emigration, Black rights, and Black preaching women in the nineteenth century.

6. Who are the major actors or people in this exhibit?

Bishop Henry McNeal Turner, Marcus Garvey, Mary Harden and Sarah Sallie Ann Copeland Hughes.

7. What are the major events of the exhibit?

The Civil War, Reconstruction, Turner’s Convention, establishment of the UNIA-AC by Marcus Garvey.

8. Where do these major events take place?

These events take place in the United States, South and West Africa and the African diaspora.

9. What are other places/topics of significance discussed in this exhibit?

The Black Press.

Questions for Analysis

10. Now that you have learned more about these events, why does this exhibit matter?

This exhibit changes what, who and the ways we think we know about Reparations, Black Nationalism and Christianity, Emigration, Africa, the Black church, Black Divinity and Black Liberation theology, Black women in the nineteenth century, the Colored Conventions Movement, the trajectory of Black Civil Rights among others.

11. Why do these events matter?

Having a clearer understanding of the people and events during this time in American and Diasporic history allows us to not only recognize the important people and events, but helps us to understand the present moment in the struggles for Black freedom, independence and rights in America and across the diaspora.

12. How did the people in this exhibit exercise agency to better themselves and others? Consider Bishop Turner’s feminism. Why were his attitudes towards women’s leadership significant?

Bishop Turner’s willingness to include and promote women leaders in the pulpit and the forefront of social activism was significant in its deviation from the cult of domesticity that precluded women from leadership even as it ignored women’s essential contributions to Black economic viability and activism during this era.

Questions for Discussion

1. How does this exhibit help fill gaps in the following?

  • centuries of Black history

  • documentation of Black history

  • understandings of Black history

2. How does this exhibit create a richer context for the following?

  • Black diasporic experiences

  • Black interventions, involvement and leadership

  • Black intra-community dynamics

3. What information (and documentation) does this exhibit provide about the following?

  • Black emigration

  • Black nationalism

  • Black Christianity

  • Black Press

  • Black Publics

4. How does this exhibit address or intervene in the historiography of the following themes?

  • Black theology

  • The role of a Black Church in civil rights mobilization

  • The role of the Black Church in black nationalism

  • Reparations

  • Movements of Black people within and between the continent and the diaspora

  • Black nationalist thought

Reflection Questions

1. What stood out for you the most in reviewing and studying this exhibit?

2. What did you find most exciting about what you learned from this exhibit?

3. Why does this exhibit matter?

4. Consider the activism of the 19th century AME Church? What parallels can be drawn to modern faith-based community organizations?


Standards are taken from the Common Core State Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies and Writing in grades 11 and 12. Note: Teachers should use these standards as a guide and align their lessons with the specific standards for their individual state.

Key Ideas and Details


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.


Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

Craft and Structure


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text.


Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.


Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas


Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.


Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.


Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge


Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.


Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.


Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


Prepared by Denise G. Burgher (Curriculum Chair and English PhD candidate, Univ. of Delaware) and datejie green (Researcher and Consultant).

Reviewed by Janel Moore Almond (Colored Conventions Project Teaching Advisory Board) and Takiya Jackson (Undergraduate Researcher, Penn State).


Other ways to view this teaching guide: