On this day September 6th in the year 1848, The NATIONAL CONVENTION OF BLACK FREEMEN conference began in Cleveland, Ohio.
Presided over by Frederik Douglass who was elected president, the 3-day convention brought together approximately 70 free black leaders from the Old Northwest and Canada, including WILLIAM H. DAY of Ohio and Clevelander JOHN MALVIN. Some sessions were held in the courthouse and public sessions were well attended. Black delegates were reportedly treated well by local hotels and other facilities.
The convention passed resolutions favoring business education, equality before the law regardless of color, affiliation with the antislavery cause and statistical studies on the status of Africans and frequent state and local conventions. Delegates' backgrounds--mostly self-made men--influenced the debate over issues such as business education and what kinds of work were considered honorable.
This was the first national convention to recognize that women had a right to participate. The convention also debated whether it should endorse Martin Van Buren's Free-Soil party in the upcoming presidential election. Delegates criticized both the Whigs and the Democrats for having "betrayed the sacred cause of human freedom" with their stands on slavery. Only after much debate did the convention endorse the Free-Soil party.