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Susan B. Iwanisziw

activist, was named Oronoco (variously spelled Oronoke, Oranque, or Oronogue) in the earliest documents that record his early life as a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, slave. In 1749 he was inherited upon the death of his master, Henry Dexter, by Dexter's son, James. When James died in debt in 1767, the trustees of the estate freed Oronoco for the price of £100. In his manumission papers he is identified as “Oronoko royal Slave,” presumably an allusion to the African prince in Aphra Behn's novella Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave (1688) or in Thomas Southerne's dramatic transformation of the story entitled Oroonoko, a Tragedy (1696 which remained one of the most popular dramas staged in Britain throughout the eighteenth century If he was indeed born into African royalty Oronoco nevertheless changed his name upon gaining his freedom and he is usually noted in ...

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crystal am nelson

community leader and musician, was born Occramer Marycoo in West Africa. Although his country of origin is unknown, a 1757 ship manifest shows that he was brought to America at the age of fourteen. He was on one of that year's seven slaving voyages that brought a total of 831 African slaves to Rhode Island. Gardner was one of the 106,544 slaves brought to Newport, Rhode Island, between 1709 and 1807. Caleb Gardner, a white merchant and member of the principal slave-trading team Briggs & Gardner, bought the teenage Marycoo and baptized him into the Congregational faith as Newport Gardner.

The forced exposure to Christianity aided Gardner s rise to a leadership position in the New World He quickly learned English from daily Bible studies with his master who freed Gardner after overhearing him pray for emancipation Upon gaining his freedom Gardner combined his new religious fervor with ...

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Eric Gardner

writer and activist, was born in Virginia to parents whose names remain unknown. Newby's enslaved father died in his youth. His free mother moved the family to Philadelphia in the early 1830s. She may have been the laundress Maria Newby listed in the 1850 Federal Census of Philadelphia, though the surname is not uncommon (p. 362). A 20 June 1863Pacific Appeal article on Newby by journalist Philip Alexander Bell referred to him as largely “self-educated” but did note his attendance at the city's segregated public schools. Working first as a barber and then as a daguerreotypist, Newby seems to have stood at least at the fringes of the city's Black society; Bell remembered him as a member of the Philadelphia Library Company of Colored Persons and a “skillful debater.”

Probably in response to the limitations imposed by Northern racism and the hope of the Gold Rush Newby made ...