Mural Arts Philadelphia is proud to announce our partnership with the Colored Conventions Project, an award-winning initiative that brings seven decades of early Black organizing to digital life at ColoredConventions.org. Together we are creating a multi-mural project to be accompanied by educational resources to be dedicated to the rich history of the Colored Conventions Movement which was founded right here in Philadelphia. The project will run approximately from the beginning of June until late summer.
Over the course of seven decades, hundreds of thousands of Black people traveled to attend state and national meetings publicly advertised as “Colored Conventions.” They gathered to advocate for educational justice, for voting and political rights, for access to jobs and equal pay, as well as for freedom from anti-Black violence. Launched in 1830 at Mother Bethel AME Church in the last year of Bishop Richard Allen’s life, the first meeting was held in response to white mob violence in Ohio that forced two thousand Black residents to flee to Canada. It was a meeting that launched a movement.
In 2021/2022 Artist Ernel Martinez will design and implement two murals at 315 and 351 Washington Avenue to create a work memorializing the inaugural Philadelphia convention. In 2022 the project will continue with another artist creating a project honoring the legacy of Frances E.W. Harper, Organizer for Black and Women’s Rights, poet and novelist.