In my last post I discussed the Nineteenth Century Black Convention Movement and how the 1864 National Convention in Syracuse started a brief but important series of conventions. For this post I look at one of the more prominent of the state conventions, held in Charleston, South Carolina, in November of 1865.
The Charleston Convention is frequently cited both because it produced an interesting set of substantive documents and because it included several future political leaders in Reconstruction South Carolina, such as Richard H. Cain, Francis L. Cardozo, and Alonzo J. Ransier.
This convention has received some attention by originalists because it mentions the right to bear arms, and it is the one black convention from the period to have made its way into a Supreme Court footnote (in McDonald). The problem, however, as I discuss below the fold, is that extracting the right to bear arms from the document in this way does not do justice to either the richness of the document or the role and context of the right to bear arms for the members of the convention.