Colored Conventions Omeka Blog Post

The Omeka site that I viewed entitled Colored Conventions: Bringing Nineteenth-Century Black Organizing to Digital Life discusses political meetings—both on the state and national level—held by members of the free black community (born both free and enslaved) in the United States that spanned throughout the nineteenth century. These political meetings dealt with struggles that Black Americans faced and what they could do to end those struggles. The conferences met all over the country with delegates from multiple states. There are Black Americans who fought for the rights of their people at this time that are well known and historically recognized today. However, there are many who are not, and those people are the ones that this site is meant to represent. Colored Conventionsis meant to remember the lives and work of those who have been forgotten and to make their work known, whether it be male delegates or active Black women.

The site shows the importance of the conventions through the digitized copies of convention minutes, and the fifteen digital exhibits offered, as well as many other factors. By having actual documentation of the words spoken at the conventions, viewers of the site are allowed to read the words said by many of the forgotten leaders of the Civil Rights movement in the nineteenth century. Fortunately for the site visitors, the convention materials can be arranged in order by alphabet, state, chronology, region and more; making them easy to access. The exhibits are also an extraordinary resource as they allow the sites visitors to view the conventions from many different angels. For example, one exhibit entitled “What did they eat? Where did they stay? Black Boardinghouses and the Colored Conventions Movement” delves into how Blacks traveled to the conventions, where they stayed, and how they ate. The exhibit not only has images to look at (with information about the image to explain its significance), but also many interactive maps and recipe books for visitors to go through. As the collection found on this site is quite large, it is supremely helpful that the Colored Conventions team put the collection items in different formats. This way of doing things will also attract site visitors that are not excited by simply reading information.

It is clear that the creators of this site—a group made up of faculty members, librarians, and both graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Delaware—put a lot of thought into how they could make this a fun and interactive digital humanities site. The creators also had the great idea of taking all of this information and pulling it into the twenty-first century by having a symposium regarding the Colored Conventions at the University of Delaware in 2015 and posting the symposium talks on the website. Having a section of the site dedicated to further research of the topic being conducted today by scholars shows the importance of the topic. This site does a wonderful job of bringing a very valuable topic with a large set of primary sources and materials onto a digital platform that is easy to follow and use.