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The Colored Conventions Movement: Black Organizing in the Nineteenth Century

The Colored Conventions Movement: Black Organizing in the Nineteenth Century


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This volume of essays is the first to focus on the Colored Conventions movement, the nineteenth century's longest campaign for Black civil rights. Well before the founding of the NAACP and other twentieth-century pillars of the civil rights movement, tens of thousands of Black leaders organized state and national conventions across North America. Over seven decades, they advocated for social justice and against slavery, protesting state-sanctioned and mob violence while demanding voting, legal, labor, and educational rights. While Black-led activism in this era is often overshadowed by the attention paid to the abolition movement, this collection centers Black activist networks, influence, and institution building. Collectively, these essays highlight the vital role of the Colored Conventions in the lives of thousands of early organizers, including many of the most famous writers, ministers, politicians, and entrepreneurs in the long history of Black activism.

Contributors: Erica L. Ball, Kabria Baumgartner, Daina Ramey Berry, Joan L. Bryant, Jim Casey, Benjamin Fagan, P. Gabrielle Foreman, Eric Gardner, Andre E. Johnson, Cheryl Janifer LaRoche, Sarah Lynn Patterson, Carla L. Peterson, Jean Pfaelzer, Selena R. Sanderfer, Derrick R. Spires, Jermaine Thibodeaux, Psyche Williams-Forson, and Jewon Woo.

Explore accompanying exhibits and historical records at The Colored Conventions Project website:

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469654263
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 03/22/2021
Series: The John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture
Pages: 392
Sales rank: 505,571
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

P. Gabrielle Foreman is the Paterno Chair of Liberal Arts and professor of English, African American studies, and History at the Pennsylvania State University.

Jim Casey is assistant professor of African American studies, history, and English at the Pennsylvania State University.

Sarah Lynn Patterson is assistant professor of African American literature and culture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

With its historical heft and excellent prose, this book deserves to be the reference book for all things related to nineteenth-century Black activism.—Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Rutgers University

This collection of essays offers an exciting, original rethinking of nineteenth-century Black political thought that resonates with the justice movements of our own time.—Sharla Fett, Occidental College

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