TO STAY OR TO GO? THE NATIONAL EMIGRATION CONVENTION OF 1854
As the highlighted text in the first image shows, a great number of women were present at the ’54 Emigration Convention. Although their specific roles are difficult to determine, the convention minutes nevertheless indicate that the women delegates—and other women present—had a voice of their own. Their voices were regarded and encouraged in the space of the convention, as well as, in the circulating periodicals of this time. The female voice may be underrepresented in the convention minutes, but it is still heard. It expressed a particular power that is both new and necessary for the Black community, one that allowed them to flourish in a nation that has attempted to contain them.
The remaining images serve to exemplify instances of a clearer female voice as represented during the emigration convention of 1854. When noting their connections to the topic of emigration specifically, women were especially important contributors to the convention. As the final image notes, women held a great amount of influence over children, who embodied the hope for the future generations of the Black community: “[T]he potency and respectability of a nation or people, depends entirely upon the position of the women.” Women maintained an impactful influence. Their opinion on emigration was reflective of the notions and desires for progress, for the establishment of a secure community that would be rooted and united in a single nation.
Written by Ashley Durrance. Taught by Benjamin Fagan, Auburn University, Fall 2016.
Edited by Sarah Patterson