Knights of Labor Convention
Frank J. Farrell, an African American delegate, introduces Terence V. Powderly, a leader of the Knights of Labor, at the organization's tenth annual convention, in Richmond in October 1886. This engraving was published on the cover of the October 16, 1886, edition of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. An accompanying column, titled "A Perplexing Question," notes that there was opposition among some members to have an African American introduce a white man: "The color-phobists were shocked, of course; but could not help themselves, since Mr. Powderly openly declared that he took this step as an emphatic testimony against any effort to impose the 'color line' upon the Order over which he presides." Additional racial turmoil surrounded the convention. African American delegates encountered a problem getting seated at a Richmond theater and, when refused accommodations at city hotels, they had to take "quarters over an undertaker's shop."