Skip to main content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Resources for Colored Conventions Research: A Guide for National Affiliates and Public Use: Petitions Research

ColoredConventions.org 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 students and scholars across di

State House and Senate Journals

Researchers can follow actions related to petitions after they are sent from Colored Convention delegates to state legislatures.

State journals may provide information. If digitized, these journals are freely available on the web in digital collections such as Google Books, the HathiTrust Digital Library, and LLMC Digital.

Petition Information in Secondary Literature

Reports from other researchers in journal articles and books can provide important details. For example, Thomas Holt reports the final outcome of the November 1865 South Carolina convention petition in his book Black Over White: Negro Political Leadership in South Carolina During Reconstruction (1977). Holt also supplies the citation for the newspaper announcement in Charleston's Daily Courier (December 18, 1865). These details offer clues for further research.

Petitions to State Legislatures


Excerpt from Proceedings of the Colored People's Convention of the State of South Carolina (November 1865).

Digitized minutes of Colored Conventions, available at Colored Conventions.org, are a source for the full text of petitions written by convention delegates.

Petition Announcements in Newspapers

Newspaper readers watched for announcements about government actions. Use the databases listed on the 19th-Century Newspapers page in this guide to search for information about petitions.

Tips: It is helpful to have a date range and location in mind. If an announcement is not found, check the newspaper database's issue calendar to make sure the issues for this time period were digitized and added to the collection.

State Archives

Contact the state archives of the state being researched.to see if the archive holds material related to Colored Convention petitions to the state legislature.

U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates