How did the freed slaves prepare themselves to be a part of American life after slavery ended?

After the end of the Civil War, blacks all over the United States gathered in groups of all sizes to discuss their future in America and American politics.

One such gathering was the Colored National Convention, held April 5 to 7, 1876, in Nashville, Tennessee. There they discussed social and political issues such as who they should vote for, what laws they should get changed, and what new laws they should suggest.

In 1879 more Colored Conventions were held in New Orleans, Vicksburg, and Nashville. The Nashville group recommended that a request be made to the national government that $500,000 be appropriated “to aid in the removal of our people from the South.”