The Colored National Labor Union met in convention for the first time in Washington, D.C. Some 214 delegates attended. They included African American mechanics, engineers, artisans, tradesmen and tradeswomen, and their supporters in Washington D.C.
This union was a counterpart to the white National Labor Union. The CNLU sent a petition to Congress requesting direct intervention in the alleviation of the "condition of the colored workers of the southern States" by subdividing the public lands of the South into 40-acre farms and providing low-interest loans to black farmers.
In subsequent decades, both the Colored National Labor Union and the National Labor Union declined, giving way to the Knights of Labor, which opened its ranks to nearly all workers, regardless of race.