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David M. Fahey

fraternal society leader and banker, was born in Habersham County, Georgia, the son of Joseph Browne and Mariah (maiden name unknown), field slaves. As a young child he was called Ben Browne and was chosen to be the companion of his owner's son. A subsequent owner who lived near Memphis trained Browne as a jockey for race circuits in Tennessee and Mississippi. During the Civil War he plotted an escape with fellow slaves. When his owner learned of the conspiracy, he transferred Browne to a plantation in Mississippi. Despite the difficulties of tramping fifty miles without a compass, Browne persuaded three other young slaves to join him in a successful escape to the Union army at Memphis. After learning that his owner could demand his return, Browne fled upriver as a stowaway.

Browne later worked as a saloon servant in Illinois where his barroom experiences made him a teetotaler and ...

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Rose Pelone Sisson

survivor of a lynching attempt, civil rights activist, and founder of America's Black Holocaust Museum, was born in La Crosse, Wisconsin, to James Herbert Cameron, a barber, and Vera Cameron who was employed as a laundress, cook, and housekeeper. At the age of fifteen months, James was the first African American baby ever admitted as a patient to the St. Francis Hospital in La Crosse, where he underwent an emergency operation on the abdominal cavity. By the time James started school, his parents had moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and his parents separated.

When Cameron was sixteen he was living with his mother, two sisters, and grandmother in Marion, Indiana. His stepfather Hezikiah Burden hunted and fished long distances from home so was away from his family most of the time The family lived in a segregated section of Marion Indiana which counted about four thousand blacks among its ...

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Caryn Cossé Bell

businessman, Civil War veteran, and Reconstruction politician, was the son of the influential Creole New Orleanian Joseph Dumas, one of the owners of the Dumas Brothers French Quarter clothiers, a firm that specialized in imported French cloth and luxury apparel. Joseph Dumas invested his share of the firm's profits in real estate and accumulated a considerable fortune in property holdings and slaves. In 1860 African American Louisianans like François and Joseph Dumas constituted the wealthiest population of free blacks in the United States.

Joseph Dumas's import business necessitated that the Dumas family sojourn frequently in France, and it was there that François, was born, raised, and educated. François arrived in New Orleans shortly before the Civil War to manage the family business. He married Marguerite Victoria Victor, and the couple had five children, three girls and two boys. By 1860 he had become one ...

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Richard Newman

better known as Daddy Grace or Sweet Daddy Grace or by his self-proclaimed title, Boyfriend of the World, was one of the more flamboyant religious leaders of the twentieth century. He was born, probably as Marceline Manoel da Graca, in Brava, Cape Verde Islands, of mixed Portuguese and African ancestry, the son of Manuel de Graca and Gertrude Lomba. In the charismatic church that he founded and headed, however, he managed to transcend race by declaring: “I am a colorless man. I am a colorless bishop. Sometimes I am black, sometimes white. I preach to all races.” Like many other Cape Verdeans, Grace immigrated to New Bedford, Massachusetts, around the turn of the century and worked there and on Cape Cod as a short-order cook, a salesman of sewing machines and patent medicines, and a cranberry picker.Also known as Bishop Grace he may have established his first church ...

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Charles Emmanuel Grace was of mixed African and Portuguese descent, born in the Cape Verde Islands around 1882, probably as Marceline Manoël de Graça. Grace was among the numerous Cape Verdean immigrants who arrived in the United States during the first decade of the twentieth century. In the Cape Verdean communities of New Bedford and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Grace worked as a short-order cook, a cranberry picker, and a sewing machine and patent medicine salesman.

Grace founded his first church in West Waltham, Massachusetts, around 1919. By the mid-1920s he had moved south, and was holding large, popular revivals and tent-meetings around Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1927 with an estimated 13 000 followers Grace incorporated The United House of Prayer for All People of the Church on the Rock of the Apostolic Faith The church grew rapidly and soon included branches all along the eastern seaboard ...

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Donovan S. Weight

slave owner, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to a freed slave and a white man (their names are unknown). Hinard never experienced slavery herself, and her life as a slave-owning black female was far removed from the common experience of most blacks in North America. This anomaly can be explained in part by the political and social turbulence of early New Orleans. By the time Hinard was forty-two, she had lived under French, Spanish, and American rule. In 1791 at the age of fourteen, Hinard was placéed (committed) to the white Spaniard Don Nicolás Vidal, the auditor de guerra the Spanish colonial governor In this lofty position Vidal provided military and legal counsel for both Louisiana and West Florida Both the Spanish and the French legislated against racial intermarriage as a way of maintaining pure white blood but this legislation did not stop white men from ...

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Nicole S. Ribianszky

free woman of color, property owner, and businesswoman in Natchez, Mississippi, was born into slavery. Little is known of her parents or early life. She was emancipated in 1814 at age thirty by her white owner, William Johnson, who was the likely father of her two young children, Adelia and William. He stated in the emancipation document executed in Concordia Parish, Louisiana, that in consideration of five dollars he had liberated Amy, who would be “able to work and gain a Sufficient Livilihood and maintenance” (Davis and Hogan, Barber, 15).

Amy was listed as a free Negro head of household in the Natchez, Mississippi, censuses of 1816, 1818, and 1820. Her children were also freed by William Johnson beginning with Adelia at age thirteen in 1818. Her son, William Johnson (1809–1851), was emancipated two years after this, in 1820 ...

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Charles Rosenberg

an educated and wealthy Louisiana man of mixed race caught up in the crosscurrents of racial identity and politics that followed the Civil War, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was the son of a French man and a woman of African descent, possibly free. Sources even differ on whether his father was French or a free “colored” slave owner of French descent.

In French colonial culture unlike Anglo colonial culture it was common for wealthy slave owners to acknowledge children by enslaved or free colored women educating such children leaving them inheritances but always keeping them in a subordinate status to any white children by European descended wives Joubert s background and the specific identity of his parents is obscured by his efforts at times to maintain that he was a white man and at others to advance the cause of equal access to schools public accommodations and ...

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Robert "Bob" Davis

one of the four North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University freshmen who initiated the sit-in movement in Greensboro, North Carolina, was born Franklin Eugene McCain in Union County, North Carolina, the son of Warner and Mattie McCain. McCain grew up in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Eastern High School in 1959. After graduating, he returned to his native North Carolina to attend college at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (A&T). During his time as an undergraduate student at A&T, McCain roomed with David Richmond and lived around the corner from Ezell Blair Jr. and Joseph McNeil on the second floor of Scott Hall. These four men challenged public accommodation customs and laws in North Carolina on 1 February 1960 launching a sit in movement that became an important catalyst for much of the modern civil rights movement They decided to sit at an all ...

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John Howard Smith

clerk, storekeeper, and millenarian prophet, was born in Louisa County, Virginia, and was the property of David Ross of Richmond until Ross emancipated him in 1792. Much of what is known of McPherson's life is chronicled in the posthumously published A Short History of the Life of Christopher McPherson, alias Pherson, Son of Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1855), written by McPherson around 1811. According to McPherson's account, while a slave of Ross he was given an elementary education and became a capable bookkeeper, gaining skills that he briefly used to clerk for one of the commissary generals in the Continental Army during the siege of Yorktown in 1781. Upon his emancipation, McPherson remained in Ross's employ until 1799 when his conversion to Christianity led him to believe that he was a divinely commissioned millenarian prophet That transformation ...

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Eric Gardner

businessman and author of a slave narrative, was born to Jeff Elliott (also known as Jeff Ellick), a slave of William Elliott, and Millie, a slave of Peter Parker, in Chowan County, North Carolina. Parker died while Allen was a young child, and ownership of both Millie and her children passed to Parker's young daughter Annie. Annie Parker's guardians hired Millie out to a series of poor white masters, ranging from “good” masters to some who were quite violent. Allen generally lived with her at least until he was ten. After he reached that age, when slaves usually began to have to work in the field, his time too was being hired out, again to a series of masters of varying temperament. There is some possibility that Parker married another slave in his youth, though definitive documentation is lacking.

The beginning of the Civil ...

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Genaro Vilanova Miranda de Oliveira

belonging to a small group of freed Africans who, in addition to manumission, were also able to achieve a strong socioeconomic prominence in nineteenth-century Brazilian slavery society.

Ricardo was of Hausa origin and became a captive probably during the Fulani jihad (1804–1810). In West Africa, a main consequence of this war was the defeat of Hausa kingdoms and rise of the Sokoto Caliphate. But the conflict would also have repercussions for the other side of the Atlantic, such as the dramatic increase in the transport of defeated Hausas to Bahia as slaves. The arrival of large numbers of Hausas, many of whom were seasoned in war, is also related to a series of early-nineteenth-century slave revolts and conspiracies in the province of Bahia.

Ricardo remained a captive for more than three decades until his master manumitted all of his sixteen slaves in his will As with most transplanted ...

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James M. Salem

entrepreneur and record label owner, was born Don Deadric Robey in Houston, Texas, the son of Zeb Robey and Gertrude (maiden name unknown). Little is known of his childhood. Don dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade, reportedly to become a professional gambler in Houston nightspots frequented by African Americans; later he was suspected of being involved in the city's numbers operation. He also entered the taxi business prior to World War II and established a business in entertainment promotion, bringing name bands and celebrity attractions into segregated sections of the Houston area.

Though Robey opened his first nightclub in 1937, it was the postwar Bronze Peacock Dinner Club, opened in 1946, that he parlayed into an interconnected set of entertainment and music businesses that made him, according to the Houston Informer one of the city s foremost black business wizards Robey s skill ...

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Ana Paula Nadalini Mendes

Yoruba Muslim who purchased his freedom, also known by the name Abuncaré, was born in the state of Oyo in West Africa’s Bight of Benin Hinterland. His life and travels demonstrate the active exchange of culture, cuisine, and religion between Africa and Brazil during the suppression of the transatlantic slave trade and a cycle of revolts closely associated with African Muslims.

Rufino’s life story is strongly affected by the politics and religion surrounding Islamic rebellions both in Africa and in Brazil at the time. In 1822 Rufino was captured as a young man in West Africa and transported as a slave to Brazil as a result of the war between different groups of Muslims and the Yoruba people in Oyo. He landed in Bahia, where he served the apothecary João Gomes da Silva, helping him to prepare food and medicines. In 1830 da Silva and some of his slaves ...

Article

wealthy Luso-African merchant, moneylender, entrepreneur, and slave trader in Angola, was born early in the nineteenth century, the daughter of a Portuguese father and a mestiza or mulatta mother. Ana Joaquina dos Santos e Silva, a mulatta or mestiza, became the wealthiest woman merchant and possibly the wealthiest of all merchants in her day in Angola, a colony of Portugal. Little is known of her early years, except that she married in succession two successful Portuguese merchants, both slave traders. When they died, their widow, Ana Joaquina, inherited their properties and became a wealthy entrepreneur on her own.

In the early decades of the nineteenth century Angola s largely coastal colonial society composed of two nuclei at Luanda and Benguela featured an Atlantic slave trading economy This traffic was dominated by merchants of Portugal Brazil and Angola although the wealthiest merchants were Brazilian Luanda s population consisted of ...

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Kit Candlin

prominent free colored businesswomen of French and African extraction and mistress of Trinidad’s first British governor Thomas Picton, is believed to have been born on Trinidad in the latter part of the eighteenth century, though her exact origins remain obscure. She was described, in brief accounts made at the time, as a “young woman” when she took up with Picton toward the end of 1798 and it can be assumed she was in her early twenties. Much of what we know about her early adulthood comes from occasional mentions in the literature surrounding Picton’s scandalous administration and his subsequent 1806 trial for the torture of Luisa Calderón. These accounts were written by Picton’s detractors—principally, his replacement as governor of Trinidad, William Fullarton, and the radical Scottish writer P. F. McCallum. Picton’s prominent free colored mistress became an obvious target. These early accounts of her life are therefore somewhat suspect.

McCallum ...

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Loren Schweninger

former slave and wealthy North Carolina planter, was born a slave in Craven County, North Carolina, the son of an African Ibo woman who had been brought to America on a vessel owned by the merchant-shipper John Wright Stanly in the decade prior to the American Revolution. Described as a “dark-skinned mulatto,” he was almost certainly the son of John Wright Stanly, although his apparent father did not acknowledge paternity. As a young boy he was turned over to Alexander Stewart, who captained the ship that brought his mother from Africa, and Stewart's wife, Lydia Carruthers Stewart, who taught Stanly to read and write and arranged for him to open a barbershop in New Bern as a teenager. Intelligent, gracious, and personable, Stanly quickly became a success, and as New Bern expanded commercially, he earned a good livelihood, even as a slave. In 1795 the Stewarts petitioned ...

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Pablo Miguel Sierra Silva

a prominent African free woman and fish vendor, whose lengthy judicial case would reach Mexico City’s high court and the Spanish king’s Royal Chancellery circa 1625. Although incorrectly identified in some legal documents as María de San Tomé, the African woman in question self-identified before Puebla’s courts as María de Terranova. María opted for the Terranova surname and toponym as a cultural and geographical identifier, which located her land of origin in present-day Nigeria, where she had been born around 1592. São Tomé, then, would have merely been the island and slaving port from which María was sent to New Spain as part of the massive African slave influx of the early seventeenth century. As a result, she formed part of the slave galleons that reached the port of Cartagena, before disembarking at the port-fortress of San Juan de Ulúa, Veracruz.

María de Terranova reached Puebla circa 1613 ...

Article

was born a slave on the leeward colony of Montserrat around the year 1763. She was brought up on the estate of the Kirwan family and may well have been the illegitimate daughter of one of the Kirwan men. She first came to the attention of colonial records in the nearby colony of Dominica in 1784 where Dorothy Kirwan was recorded buying herself and three of her children out of bondage At some stage prior to this the Kirwan family had sold Thomas to the businessman William Foden Foden took Thomas to Dominica where he died a short time later Part of his estate included Thomas and three of her children The executors however recognized that Thomas had paid Foden most of her manumission price and that according to the dictates of the will she should be given her freedom as she had paid for it with her ...

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Melanie R. Thomas

emancipated slave and antebellum businesswoman, grew up on a tobacco plantation in Albemarle County, Virginia. Information about her parentage is scarce, but some reports suggest that Sally Thomas was of mixed racial heritage. She had two sons, John and Henry, apparently by John L. Thomas, who was the brother of her enslaver, Charles L. Thomas. Years later, she had a third son, James P. Thomas, whose father was Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice John Catron.

Following the death of her owners, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Thomas, the remaining members of the Thomas family, led by John L. Thomas, transported Sally Thomas—and about forty other servants of the family estate—to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1817 Charles Thomas s will stipulated that Sally and her two sons John and Henry remain together She feared being sold separately from her sons and worried for the safety and well ...