Colored Conventions Project Digital Records

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State Conventions

Starting in 1830 and continuing until well after the Civil War, free, freed and self-emancipated Blacks came together in state and national political conventions. They strategized about how they might achieve educational, labor, and legal justice during decades when Black rights were constricting nationally and locally as well as during the intervening postwar years, before the very promise of a democracy that included all citizens was once foreclosed again. The Colored Conventions movement took place during critical decades which witnessed devastating anti-Black race riots and the growing popularity of the American Colonization Society; the Fugitive Slave Law and the proliferation of derogatory representations of Blacks; the Civil War and Reconstruction; and the return of Black disenfranchisement in legal, labor, and educational spheres in the late nineteenth century. Speakers at conventions responded by calling for community-based action that gathered funds, established schools and literary societies, and urged the necessity of organizing in what would become a decades-long campaign for civil and human rights. The convention minutes collected here illustrate the immense struggles and the profound courage of those who made it a point to organize and stand for what was rightly theirs.

Most conventions were organized either as state or national meetings, though there were some regional meetings for New England and the southern states, for example. You may also search by region, though these are twenty-first century terms and don’t reflect the changing borders of the US in the nineteenth century itself. This collection is preserved in the University of Delaware Library Institutional Repository (UDSpace).

State Conventions

Select a convention to learn more information, to view minutes in a document viewer, or to download minutes in PDF format.

Note to visitors: In most cases, each convention has one primary document associated with it. When multiple documents are available for a convention, they are presented below the respective conventions with indentations.

Select a state:

                   

                  

                 

 


ALABAMA

1867 Alabama State Convention of Colored Men held in Mobile

1871 Alabama Labor Union Convention 

1874 Alabama State Convention of Colored Men held in Montgomery 

1874 Alabama Labor Convention of Colored Men held in Montgomery 

 

ARKANSAS

1865 Arkansas State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Little Rock

1883 Arkansas State Convention held in Little Rock

 

CALIFORNIA

1855 California State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Sacramento

1856 California State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Sacramento

1857 California State Convention of Colored People held in San Francisco

1865 California State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Sacramento

1889 State Convention of the California Afro-American League (Seeking Records)

 

CONNECTICUT

1849 Connecticut State Convention of Coloured Men held in New Haven

1854 Connecticut State Convention held in Middletown

1855 Connecticut State Convention of Colored Men held in Hartford

1865 Connecticut State Convention of Colored Men held in New Haven

1886 Connecticut State Convention of Colored People (Seeking Records)

 

DELAWARE

1873 Delaware State Convention of Colored People held in Dover

1881 State Convention of the Colored People of Delaware (Seeking Records)

 

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

1873 State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Washington, DC (Seeking Records)

 

FLORIDA

1884 Florida State Convention held in Gainesville

 

GEORGIA

1866 Georgia State Freedmen's Convention held in Augusta (Jan. 10)

1866 Georgia State Freedmen's Convention held in Augusta (Apr. 4)

1866 Georgia State Convention of the Equal Rights and Educational Association held in Macon

1869 Georgia State Colored Convention held in Macon

1871 Georgia State Convention of Colored Men held in Atlanta

1873 Georgia State Convention of Colored People held in Macon 

1877 Georgia State Educational Convention of Colored Men held in Hawkinsville 

1888 Georgia State Union Brotherhood Convention held in Macon

 

ILLINOIS

1853 Illinois State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Chicago

1856 Illinois State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Alton

1866 Illinois State Convention of Colored Men held in Galesburg

1880 Illinois State Convention of Colored People held in Springfield (Seeking Records)

1883 Illinois State Convention of Colored People held in Springfield (Seeking Records)

1885 Illinois State Convention of Colored Men held in Springfield (Seeking Records)

1889 Illinois State Convention of Colored Men held in Springfield (Seeking Records)

 

INDIANA

1842 Indiana State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Indianapolis

1851 Indiana State Convention of People of Color held in Indianapolis

1859 Indiana State Convention of Colored Men held in Indianapolis

1865 Indiana State Convention of Colored People held in Indianapolis

1866 Indiana State Equal Rights League Convention held in Indianapolis (Seeking Records)

1871 Indiana State Convention of Colored Men held in Indianapolis (Seeking Records)

 

IOWA

1853 Iowa State Colored Convention held in Muscatine

1857 Iowa State Convention of Colored Men held in Muscatine

1865 Iowa State Convention of Colored People held in Davenport

1868 Iowa State Colored Convention held in Des Moines

1868 Iowa State Colored Convention held in Muscatine 

1876 Iowa State Colored Convention held in Oskaloosa 

1885 Iowa State Colored Convention held in Oskaloosa (Seeking Records)

1885/6 Iowa State Colored Convention possibly held in Des Moines (Seeking Records)

1891 Iowa State Colored Convention held in Cedar Rapids

 

KANSAS

1863 Kansas State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Leavenworth

1866 Kansas State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Lawrence

1887 Kansas State Convention of the Afro-American League held in Topeka (Seeking Records)

1882 Kansas State Convention of Colored Men held in Parsons

 

KENTUCKY

1866 Kentucky State Convention of Colored Men held in Lexington

1869 Kentucky State Colored Educational Convention held in Louisville (Seeking Records)

1867 Kentucky State Convention of Colored Men held in Lexington

1871 Kentucky State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Frankfort

1873 Kentucky State Convention held in Frankfort

1877 Kentucky State Colored Educational Convention held in Frankfort

1885 Kentucky Colored State Convention in Lexington

 

LOUISIANA

1865 Louisiana State Conventionof Colored People held in New Orleans

1870 Louisiana State Convention held in New Orleans (Seeking Records)

1871 Louisiana State Convention of Colored People held in New Orleans (Seeking Records)

1873 Louisiana State Convention held in New Orleans

1874 Louisiana State Convention (Seeking Records)

1879 Louisiana Convention held in New Orleans (Seeking Records)

1899 Louisiana State Convention of Colored Men held in New Orleans

MAINE

1841 Maine State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Portland

1850 Maine State Colored Convention held in Portland

 

MARYLAND

1852 Maryland State Convention of Free Colored People held in Baltimore

1866 Maryland State Convention of Colored People held in Baltimore

1868 Maryland State Convention of Colored Men held in Baltimore

1869 Maryland State Colored Convention held in Baltimore (Seeking Records) 

1869 Maryland State Colored Labor Convention (Seeking Records)

1869 Maryland State Convention of Colored Mechanics held in Baltimore

1882 Maryland State Convention held in Baltimore (Seeking Records)

1890 Maryland State Convention of Colored People held in Boston (Seeking Records)

 

MASSACHUSETTS

1854 Massachusetts State Council of Colored Citizens held in Boston

1858 Massachusetts State Convention of Colored Citizens held in New Bedford

1872 New England States Convention of Colored Citizens held in Boston, Massachusetts (Seeking Records)

1883 Massachusetts State Convention of Colored Men held in Boston (Seeking Records)

1892 Massachusetts State Convention of Colored Men held in Boston (Seeking Records)

 

MICHIGAN

1843 Michigan State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Detroit

1865 Michigan State Equal Rights League Convention held in Detroit

 

MINNESOTA

1869 Minnesota State Convention of Colored Citizens held in St. Paul

 

MISSISSIPPI

1865 Mississippi State Colored Convention held in Vicksburg, MS

1884 Mississippi State Convention of Colored Men held in Jackson

MISSOURI

1870 Missouri State Colored People's Educational Convention held in Jefferson City

1877 Missouri State Convention of Colored Teachers held in St. Louis (Seeking Records)

1878 Colored Laborer’s and Business Men’s Industrial Convention held in Kansas City, Missouri (Seeking Records)

1884 Missouri State Convention of Colored Teachers (Seeking Records)

 

NEBRASKA

1871 Nebraska State Convention held in Omaha (Seeking Records)

1872 Nebraska State Convention of Colored People held in Omaha

 

NEW JERSEY

1849 New Jersey State Convention of Coloured Citizens held in Trenton

1865 New Jersey State Convention of Coloured Men held in Trenton

1866 New Jersey State Colored Convention held in Gloucester (Seeking Records)

1868 New Jersey State Convention of the Colored Men held in Trenton (Seeking Records)

1873 New Jersey State Convention of New Citizens held in New Brunswick

1892 New Jersey State Convention of Colored Men held in Trenton 

 

NEW YORK

1840 New York State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Albany

1841 New York State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Troy

1843 New York State Convention of Colored People held in Rochester (Seeking Records)

1844 New York State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Schenectady

1845 New York State Free Suffrage Convention held in Geneva

1849 New York State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Hudson

1851 New York State Convention of Colored People held in Albany

1854 New York State Council of Colored People held in Albany

1855 New York State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Albany

1855 New York State Convention of Colored Men held in Troy

1858 New York State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Troy

1863 State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Poughkeepsie NY

1866 New York State Convention of Colored Men held in Albany

1870 New York State Convention of Colored Voters held in Syracuse

1870 New York State Labor Convention held in Saratoga (Seeking Records)

1872 New York State Convention of Colored Men held in Troy (Seeking Records)

1874 New York State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Utica (Seeking Records)

1891 New York State Convention of the Afro-American League (Seeking Records)

 

 

NORTH CAROLINA

1865 North Carolina State Convention of Colored People held in Raleigh  

1866 North Carolina State Freedmen's Convention held in Raleigh

1877 North Carolina State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Raleigh

 

OHIO

1837 Ohio State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Columbus (Seeking Records)

1843 Ohio State Colored People's State Convention held in Columbus (Seeking Records)

1844 Ohio State Convention of Colored Citizens

1849 Ohio State Convention of Coloured Citizens held in Columbus

1850 Ohio State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Columbus

1851 Ohio State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Columbus  

1852 Ohio State Convention of Colored Freemen held in Cincinnati

1853 Ohio State Convention of Colored Freemen held in Columbus

1856 Ohio State Convention of Colored Men held in Columbus

1857 Ohio State Convention of Colored Men held in Columbus

1858 Ohio State Convention of Colored Men held in Cincinnati

1865 Ohio State Convention of Colored Men held in Xenia

1867 Ohio State Equal Rights League Convention held in Cincinnati

1867 Ohio State Equal Rights League Convention held in Cincinnati (Seeking Records)

1871 Ohio State Convention of Colored Men held in Columbus

1873 Ohio State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Chillicothe (Seeking Records)

1883 Ohio State Convention of Colored People held in Columbus (Seeking Records)

1886 Ohio State Convention of Colored People held in Alliance (Seeking Records)

 

PENNSYLVANIA

1841 Pennsylvania State Convention of Colored Freemen held in Pittsburgh

1848 Pennsylvania State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Harrisburg

1851 Pennsylvania State Convention of Colored People held in Sandy Lake (Seeking Records)

1865 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention held in Harrisburg (Feb. 8-10)

1865 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention held in Harrisburg (Aug. 9-10)

1866 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention held in Pittsburgh

1868 Pennsylvania State Convention of Colored Men held in Pittsburgh (Seeking Records)

1868 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention held in Williamsport

1869 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention held in Philadelphia (Seeking Records)

1872 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention held in Harrisburg

1873 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention (Seeking Records)

1874 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention (Seeking Records)

1877 Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League Convention held in Erie (Seeking Records)

1898 Pennsylvania State Convention of the Afro-American League (Seeking Records)

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

1865 South Carolina State Convention of Colored People held in Charleston

1876 Charleston City Meeting of Colored Citizens (Seeking Records)

1876 South Carolina State Conference of Colored Citizens held in Columbia

1883 South Carolina State Convention of Colored Men held in Columbia

 

TENNESSEE

1865 Tennessee State Convention of Colored Men held in Nashville

1866 Tennessee State Convention of Colored People held in Nashville

1871 Tennessee State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Nashville

1874 Tennessee State Convention held in Nashville (Seeking Records)

1884 Tennessee State Convention of Colored Men 

TEXAS

1866 Texas State Central Committee of Colored Men (Seeking Records)

1869 Texas State Colored Labor Convention held in Galveston (Seeking Records)

1871 Texas State Colored Convention held in Houston (Seeking Records)

1873 Texas State Convention of Colored Citizens held in Brenham

1879 Texas State Convention of Colored People held in Houston

1880 Texas State Farmers Association Convention held in Dallas

1883 Texas State Convention of Colored Men held in Austin

1884 Texas State Convention in Houston

1886 Colored Men's State Convention held in Brenham, TX (Seeking Records)

1889 Austin County Convention of Colored Men held in Bellville, TX

1889 Caldwell County Convention of Colored Men held in Lockhart, TX

1889 McLennan County Convention of Colored Men held in Waco

1889 Texas State Convention of Colored Men held in Waco

1891 Colored Men's State Convention held in Houston (Seeking Records) 

1895 Texas State Convention of Colored Men held in Houston

VIRGINIA

1865 City Meeting of the Colored Citizens of Norfolk VA

1865 Virginia State Convention of Colored People held in Alexandria

1869 Virginia State Convention held in Richmond (Seeking Records)

1885 Virginia State Convention of Colored People held in Lynchburg (Seeking Records)

 

Regional

1843 Mid-Atlantic Regional Temperance Convention of Colored Citizens held in Salem NJ

1850 Fugitive Slave Law Convention held in Cazenovia NY

1859 New England Regional Convention of Colored Citizens held in Boston MA

1865 New England Regional Convention of Colored People held in Boston MA

1871 Southern Regional Convention of Colored Men held in Columbia SC 

1872 New England Regional Convention held in Boston MA (Seeking Records)

1884 Colored Men's Inter-State Conference held in Pittsburgh

 

Undetermined State

1876 Charleston City Meeting of Colored Citizens (Seeking records)

1899 Hampton Negro Conference