" /> Henry Highland Garnet’s “Address to the Slaves’” and its Colored Conventions Origins | An exhibit in the collection of the Colored Conventions Project


In Buffalo, New York, Henry Highland Garnet gave his famous “An Address to the Slaves of the United States.” He called for the slaves of the South to refuse to work, to approach their masters and demand their freedom, and to resist their oppressors with force if necessary. Because it is such an influential “text,” it is easy to forget that Garnet’s 1843 address was spoken, not written, and rejected twice by the committee that heard it.


Curators: Harrison Graves and Jake Alspaugh, graduate students University of Delaware Department of English, and Derrick Spires, Assistant Professor of English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Edited by P. Gabrielle Foreman and Sarah Patterson.

Cover image  “Rev. Henry Highland Garnet.” The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 

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.