Black Organizing in Pre-Civil War Illinois: Creating Community, Demanding Justice
The Illinois Colored Convention of 1853
A repressive new law, passed by the state legislature in winter 1853, galvanized Black Illinoisans to organize their first statewide convention. Illinois leaders pressed Frederick Douglass to call a national convention that summer. Then, in October, delegates from across the state met in Chicago, where they issued a powerful address claiming their rights as citizens and made plans for continuing to fight the Illinois Black laws.