This exhibit highlights the context of Cincinnati as the host of the 1858 Convention of the Colored Men of Ohio. The exhibit identifies and locates local schools, churches, and philanthropic organizations created by African-American activists, many of whom attended the convention. It shows how delegates’ experiences led them to questions about the geography of freedom: Was any land in the United States free? Was it necessary to migrate outside of the U.S. to be secure in their freedom? Finally, the exhibit illustrates the activism of African-American women in Cincinnati and at the convention.


Curators: Dr. Christine Anderson, History Department, Xavier University and Nancy Yerian, Independent Historian.

Undergraduate Researchers: African-American Struggle for Equality, Spring 2016 Class, Xavier University.

Cover Image An image of the Oberlin-Wellington Rescuers taken May 7, 1859. “Oberlin Rescuers at Cuyahoga County Jail, April 1859” Courtesy of Oberlin College Archives.

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.