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Laura Arata

was born in Washington County, Tennessee. While the exact year of her birth is unknown, it was almost certainly between 1852 and 1855, and Bickford would claim that it fell on Christmas Day. She spent her childhood in slavery, owned by either John A. Blair III (US Congressman, 1823–1835 or his brother Robert Laird Blair both of whom were among the most prominent slaveholders in the area Bickford likely spent her childhood years working at John Blair s hotel in Jonesboro and may have attained literacy there After the Civil War Bickford relocated to Knoxville where she lived for a time with the family of Isaac Gammon a slave who later became the first African American alderman elected in Knoxville and his freeborn wife Nancy Jones Gammon It was likely through the Gammons that Bickford became acquainted with a white lawyer named John Luttrell Murphy who when he ...

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Michael F. Hembree

abolitionist and activist, was born in New York City, the son of Edward Powell, a slave. His mother's name is unknown. A passport application later described Powell as “of mulatto colour but of Indian extraction.” He apparently received some education before becoming an apprentice sailor and spending several years at sea in the 1820s. By the early 1830s he had settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts, an active whaling port, and established a boardinghouse for sailors. He married Mercy O. Haskins of Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1832; they had seven children.

Powell readily embraced the immediate abolitionism of William Lloyd Garrison and participated in the immediatist movement from its beginnings in the early 1830s He signed the constitution of the American Anti Slavery Society and joined the New England Anti Slavery Society Powell s abolitionism emanated from a deeply held religious conviction that slavery was a sin and ...

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William A. Allison

housekeeper for Thaddeus Stevens, was born in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the daughter of a black mother surnamed O'Neill and a white father. She took Hamilton as her surname. Even though Lydia Hamilton Smith was merely a housekeeper, she became widely known because of her employment with Thaddeus Stevens. When Thaddeus Stevens came to Washington in 1849 as a Whig representative to Congress from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he was known as an implacable foe of slavery. He labored tirelessly to make the slavery-ending Thirteenth Amendment (1865) a permanent part of the United States Constitution. He also played a major role in the enactment of the Fourteenth Amendment (1866).

After moving into a house on South Queens Street in Lancaster, Stevens decided that he needed a housekeeper. He first attempted to employ a woman by the name of Anna Sulkey, but Anna became the wife of Dennis Martin ...