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First black state convention meets in Austin

March
22
1866

On this day in 1866, the Texas State Central Committee of Colored Men met in Austin. It was the first of at least ten such conventions held in Texas from Reconstruction through the 1890s to express the concerns of African Americans in an era before the existence of groups that focused upon the economic, political, and civil rights of minorities. Often these state meetings sent delegates to national conventions seeking the same goals. The Texas State Central Committee of Colored Men, with the Baptist minister Jacob Fontaine presiding, opposed a request by Episcopal bishop Alexander Gregg for funds which presumably would have benefited former slaves. The committee members did not trust Gregg, himself a former slaveholder and ardent supporter of secession, and expressed their preference for the work of the Freedmen's Bureau.

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