TOURS          GIVE       


  • Home
  • Learn
  • Blog
  • Douglass Day 2022 - Volunteer Support Transcribing 19th Century ' Colored Conventions' Records


The History Center blog shares research and findings about local history, excerpts from the History Center Archives, information about upcoming exhibits and other opportunities on how to get involved with The History Center in Tompkins County. To learn more or view the archival materials mentioned, visit us in downtown Ithaca, follow us on social media @TompkinsHistory, or subscribe to our monthly newsletter History Happenings

Douglass Day 2022 - Volunteer Support Transcribing 19th Century ' Colored Conventions' Records

Fri, March 04, 2022 6:39 PM | Anonymous

Douglass Day is an annual celebration of Frederick Douglass' life and legacy on his chosen birthday of February 14th. Each year the organizers coordinate with archival repositories across the country to transcribe and digitize historic Black collections to make them more accessible to educators and researchers, and support their historic preservation. 

This was The History Center's second year participating in Douglass Day, and six Exhibit Hall volunteers and student workers spent their shifts from 2/14-2/21 transcribing documents and finding names for the 'Colored Conventions Project.'

The Colored Conventions were state and national meetings held by free and formerly enslaved African Americans to debate their collective struggles. It's estimated that more than 10,000 delegates attended more than 600 Colored Conventions over seven decades across the United States. At these meetings, delegates talked about voting rights, education, labor, business, and a whole lot more. The conventions were highly democratic spaces at a time when Black people were denied access to the voting booth or the jury box.

Only 64% of the documents had been transcribed by the end of February 14th, and our contributions and that of other volunteer transcribers across the country helped complete 100% of the identified documents by the third week of February. No word yet on if we've been able to identify any Tompkins County residents as attendants of the Colored Conventions, but now that these documents are digitized, finding a local connection to this historic movement is made possible!

Thank you to: Rhonda, Phung, Lin, Rebecca, Kethry, Jacob, and Nnenna for pausing work on other projects to join this national preservation effort!


Originally posted in the March 2022 History Happenings newsletter mailed on 2/28/2022

Physical Address

Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

110 North Tioga Street

(On the Ithaca Commons) 

Ithaca NY, 14850 USA

Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' Territory


Exhibit HallWednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm - CLOSED Sun-Tues

Cornell Local History Research Library & Archives - By appointment only. Please contact


Email: Refer to Contact page for individual emails, General inquiries to

Phone: 607-273-8284


Find us on social media @tompkinshistory

© Copyright 2020-2022 The History Center in Tompkins County

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software
Visit Us