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AARP Celebrates Black History Month with the Colored Conventions Project

AARP Delaware enjoys collaborating with the Colored Conventions Project, and there’s no better time celebrate its work than the month of February, Black History Month. The group, housed at University of Delaware, has been working to research what are known as the Colored Conventions, a series of state-wide and national meetings that began in 1830 and continued until the end of the 19 th century. Over seven decades, free, fugitive and freed African Americans came together to strategize about how to achieve educational, labor and legal justice during the gatherings, advocating for freedom in the North and South and from laws which denied African Americans basic legal and educational rights.

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Each year, the Colored Conventions Project (CCP) celebrates Frederick Douglass’s birthday with an inspiring program. The group sings happy birthday to the Civil Rights innovator, serves a birthday cake and hosts a day of volunteering for those who wish to do something meaningful. The volunteer opportunity allows all of us to be a part of preserving African American history; it’s called a “transcribe-a-thon,” and involves transcribing minutes, calls, memorials and associated documents generated by the 19 th century activists who participated in the Colored Conventions, digitizing and making them fully searchable, accessible and free for the sake of history and posterity.

According to the CCP, more than 1,500 volunteers have worked on over 700 pages of text creating an historical record that is benefiting students and scholars alike. This year, Frederick Douglass’s big birthday, his 200 th, will have a special element.

“The Colored Conventions Project has partnered with the Smithsonian and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC to encourage everyone to participate in transcribing the Freedmen’s Bureau archives” said Denise Burgher, who directs the Colored Conventions Project’s Committee of Church and Community Outreach and is a doctoral candidate in the English department at the University of Delaware.

To learn more or find out how to volunteer, please visit the event page


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