The Colored Conventions Movement

This week's review delves into the Colored Conventions movement, revealing how Black activism in the 19th century encompassed more than abolitionism.

The Colored Conventions Movement: Black Organizing in the Nineteenth Century

ed. by P. Gabrielle Foreman, Jim Casey, and Sarah Lynn Patterson North Carolina, 2021
392p bibl index, 9781469654256 $95.00, 9781469654263 $29.95, 9781469654270 $24.99

The Colored Conventions Movement: Black Organizing in the Nineteenth Century book cover.

This collection captures an important piece of African American history, examining the previously understudied Colored Conventions movement, an aspect of African American civil activism that preceded the NAACP and the Urban League. Although the title does not fully convey their significance, Colored Conventions were a feature of the 19th century beginning in the 1830s. Activist leaders convened these gatherings to address issues of race, citizenship, education, and abolition, among many other topics. The essays document the Conventions and discuss related aspects of note, such as the development of a digital Conventions archive that will assist scholars to come. Chapters also explore women’s roles in the Conventions and issues of travel and lodging in a nation that was too often hostile to freedmen, much less slaves. The authors highlight the contributions of a host of African Americans who have often been overshadowed by Frederick Douglass and the stalwarts of abolitionism. Given that African American history is often difficult to research through conventional resources, the contributors are to be commended for successfully mining unconventional resources, such as the Conventions’ minutes and African American periodicals and their advertisements.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Advanced undergraduates through faculty.
T. F. Armstrong, formerly, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, UAE
Interdisciplinary Subjects: African and African American Studies, Racial Justice
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – History, Geography & Area Studies – North America
Choice Issue: Jan 2023

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