This Was One Of The Biggest Mic Drops In Black History

portrait of frederick douglass
Adé Hennis
March 5, 2024

For over 40 years, Frederick Douglass attended Colored Conventions because they helped bring our people together to work toward the goal of racial equity.

The 1883 National Colored Convention was different, however. Some people didn’t see a reason for it. As president of the Convention, Douglass gave an impassioned speech titled “Why Hold A Colored Convention” that still holds power more than 140 years later.

“White men are already in convention against us,” he declared. “The practical construction of American life is a convention against us.” All that was missing was a mic drop. Douglass knew that there were entities working against us, and that’s still true today.

Douglass challenged the notion that Black political organizing was outdated and emphasized the importance of Colored Conventions as opportunities to address racial issues – from voting rights to fair pay. The journalists in attendance published his speech on unity and race for millions of readers across the United States.

Douglass 1883 speech is a clarion call for unity, racial equity, and empowerment. It reminds us there are active forces working to disempower us and that we must keep finding opportunities to unify and fight for our liberation.

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