This exhibit looks at the debates and discussions within—and that surrounded—the convention. Sections of this exhibit also explore Black women’s participation in the emigration movement. We drew upon many nineteenth-century Black newspapers to examine the role of Black press in furthering the reach of Colored Conventions. The exhibit, therefore, tackles the ways The North Star, Frederick Douglass’ emerging prominent paper, covered the reports of and debates in the 1854 Convention. While the goals of nineteenth-century Black activists unified many of them, consensus was not always within reach.


Curators: Ashley Durrance, Hannah Harkins, Nicholas Palombo, Leslie Rewis, Melanie Berry, Christy Hutcheson, Eli Jones, and Morgan Shaffer. Taught by Benjamin Fagan, Auburn University, Fall 2016.

Edited by Samantha Q. de Vera, Simone Austin, and Sarah Patterson.

Cover image “Proceedings of the National Emigration Convention of Colored People Held at Cleveland, Ohio, On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, The 24th, 25th, and 26th of August, 1854.”

Special thanks to Gale, a Cengage Company, and Accessible Archives Inc.® for granting permission for the use of the materials from 19th Century U.S. Newspaper and African American Newspapers: The 19th Century.

The Colored Conventions Project works with teaching partners and their students to create digital content on the rich history of Black political organizing in the nineteenth-century. Visit our Teaching Partners page to browse the curriculum and find information on becoming a teaching partner.