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This collection of essays documents the 19th century’s longest running campaign for the Civil Rights of black people throughout America, long before the creation of the NAACP. Each one a record of tens of thousands of black leaders organizing state and National conventions across North America over seven decades. From social justice and abolition, protesting state-sanctioned and mob violence while demanding voting, legal, labor, and educational rights, these conventions went up against issues that still affect America to this day, and worked to establish and build better institutions in their place.

The dynamics of organizing and convention culture are often overlooked in the conversation around Black movement politics. This foundational feature is now being brought to light and given the credit and attention it rightly deserves.  These essays highlight the vital role of the Colored Conventions through the lives of the countless early organizers, including many of the most famous writers, ministers, politicians, and entrepreneurs in the history of Black activism.

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