Colored Conventions Project

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Note: In 2020, the Colored Conventions Project moved from the University of Delaware to Penn State University. Though this collection is being kept, data and metadata may be inaccurate or out of date. For current updates from CCP, please visit

From 1830 until well after the Civil War, free and fugitive Blacks came together in state and national political "Colored Conventions." Before the war, they strategized about how to achieve educational, labor and legal justice at a moment when Black rights were constricting nationally and locally. And after the war, they continued to convene to discuss local, national and international possibilities, problems and challenges.

The delegates to these meetings included the most well-known, if mostly male, writers, organizers, church leaders, newspaper editors, and entrepreneurs in the canon of early African-American leadership—and many whose names and histories have long been forgotten. All that is left of this phenomenal effort are the minutes. Even these materials are rare and can only be accessed through out-of-print volumes.

This project seeks to not only learn about the lives of these male delegates, the places where they met and the social networks that they created but to also account for the crucial work done by Black women in the broader social networks that made these conventions possible. endeavors to transform teaching and learning about this historic collective organizing effort—and about the many leaders and places involved in it—bringing them to digital life for a new generation of undergraduate and graduate students and researchers across disciplines, for high school teachers, and for community members interested in the history of church, educational and entrepreneurial engagement.


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