TO STAY OR TO GO? THE NATIONAL EMIGRATION CONVENTION OF 1854
The emigration movement, as well as the resistance against it, would press on for the next few decades. The legal triumphs of African Americans usually caused the debate to die down. For a while, the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment seemed to have effectively settled the emigration debate: African Americans can stay and enjoy their citizenship. However, the failure of Reconstruction, the immediate rise of white terrorism, and the passing of Jim Crow laws reignited the debate. The tenability of living in the US was again questioned, and the emigration movement continued to gain ground. The Black press was a crucial medium through which both sides of debate could be heard. The news coverage of the 1854 convention would have incited further conversations among African Americans of various statuses. And, for some, articles about the debates in the convention settled their minds as to whether to stay or to go.