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Negro Movement: Historicial Convention in Buffalo

Photo courtesy of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society

The Negro Convention Movement in the 1840s brought African Americans from across the nation together in a number of cities to discuss issues. One of two significant conferences occurred in Buffalo in 1843: the National Conference of Colored Citizens.

The National Convention of Colored Citizens in 1843 examined the African American moral and political conditions as American citizens. The Convention was organized to convince the world that African Americans were determined to be free. A variety of important delegates attended, including Frederick Douglass.

During the convention, a delegate named Henry Highland Garnet gave an inspirational speech that came to be known as the “Call to Rebellion” speech, where Garnet encouraged slaves to turn against their masters. Frederick Douglass spoke out against the speech and the Convention did not sanction Garnet’s approach to abolition.

The National Liberty Party Convention was held in Buffalo on August 30 and 31, 1843. Abolitionists traveled to Buffalo to select their first Presidential candidate. Twelve of the twenty-six states were represented by one hundred and forty eight delegates. James G. Birney was nominated as their candidate. The Party sought the end of slavery in the territories and opposed any fugitive slave laws.

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