" /> The Meeting That Launched a Movement: The First National Convention | An exhibit in the collection of the Colored Conventions Project


The gathering of African American leaders from various regions of the antebellum north, held at Philadelphia’s Mother Bethel AME church in 1830, is universally considered to be the inaugural national Colored Convention. For several reasons, the 1830 convention eludes simple categorization; for example, it was not called a “convention” but a “constitution.” Why, then, is it so widely accepted as the foundational meeting for a movement that would last for nearly seven decades? What would it mean to consider it to be a prelude, rather than the first, of many conventions? This exhibit seeks to answer those questions.


Curators: Eric Brown.

Edited by: Dr. P. Gabrielle Foreman and Sarah Patterson.

Technical Assistance by: Samantha DeVera. Network visualization by Jim Casey.

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.