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David B. Malone

Jonathan Blanchard would become an heir of the principles of the evangelical postmillennial Christianity exemplified in America's Benevolent Empire of the early 1800s, wherein activists sought to reform American society through education and religious missions. Blanchard was born the eleventh of fifteen children, near Rockingham, Vermont, to Polly Lovell and the farmer Jonathan Blanchard Sr. The young Jonathan was able to take advantage of a variety of educational opportunities, eventually graduating from Middlebury College, after which he enrolled in Andover Theological Seminary.

Blanchard left Andover in September 1836 because it failed to stand against slavery and became an abolitionist lecturer for the American Anti Slavery Society He was one of Theodore Dwight Weld s Seventy preaching the sin of slavery throughout Pennsylvania with the hopes that the consciences of slaveholders would be pierced over their treatment of those whom Blanchard echoing the words of Jesus lamented as the ...


Henry Highland Garnet was born a slave on a plantation in Kent County, Maryland, where his grandfather, a former chieftain in Africa, was a leader of the slave community. In 1824 Garnet's father escaped, bringing the rest of his family with him to New York City. While the father became an active leader of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Garnet was enrolled in the African Free School. He spent several years afterward as a sailor and a farmer's apprentice before returning to school, this time under the tutelage of abolitionists Theodore S. Wright and Peter Williams, who ran the Canal Street School for African Americans.

After graduation from the Canal Street School, Garnet and several other young blacks, including abolitionist and nationalist Alexander Crummell enrolled in a newly established academy in New Canaan New Hampshire Only weeks after the school opened however angry white ...


Milton C. Sernett

Garnet, Henry Highland (23 December 1815–13 February 1882), clergyman and abolitionist, was born in New Market, Kent County, Maryland, the son of George and Henrietta (later called Elizabeth), slaves. Henry escaped with his parents and seven siblings to Wilmington, Delaware, in 1824, assisted by the Quaker Thomas Garrett, a key figure in the Underground Railroad. After a brief stay in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the Garnets settled in New York City, where Henry received a grammar school education at the African Free School.

In 1828 Henry worked as a cabin boy on a ship making two voyages to Cuba The next year he returned from working as a cook and steward on board a schooner sailing from New York City to Washington D C to find that his family had been broken up by slave hunters His sister was tried as a fugitive but his parents had ...


Gregory Eiselein

An antislavery radical, Henry Highland Garnet is best known for “An Address to the Slaves of the United States of America” (1843), a speech delivered in Buffalo at the National Convention of Colored Citizens. In the “Address” and later texts, he advocated active resistance to slavery, urging slaves to take freedom for themselves. Deeply influenced by David Walker's Appeal (1829), Garnet argued that slaves had a moral obligation to resist slavery, using violence when necessary.

Garnet's thinking emerged from an activist-nationalist tradition within African American culture passed on to him by his family. In 1815, he was born into an enslaved family living on a Maryland plantation. His father, the son of a Mandingo leader, took enormous pride in his family's heritage. When Garnet was nine, they escaped to New York City. In 1829 while he was at sea serving as a cabin boy ...


Nathan L. Grant

Henry Highland Garnet was born to the slaves George and Henrietta (later called Elizabeth), near New Market, in Kent County, Maryland. Upon the family's escape to freedom in Delaware in 1824, George renamed himself and the entire family; Henry's previous name is unknown. “Garnet” was possibly derived from Thomas Garrett, the famous Quaker abolitionist, who helped them escape.

At an early age Henry showed the fire and zeal that would characterize his political activity later in life. As a child in New York, where the family moved late in 1825, he daily carried a knife on his way to African Free School No. 1, which he began attending in 1826. Upon returning to New York from Washington, D.C., as a ship's cook in 1829 he learned that his family had been forced to flee slave catchers Garnet obtained a large knife intending to pursue ...


Cassandra Veney

minister and founder of Operation Crossroads Africa, was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, one of six children of Henry John Robinson, a slaughterhouse laborer, and Willie Bell Banks a washerwoman Robinson grew up in abject poverty in a section of town called the Bottoms where poor blacks and whites lived Because of his father s frequent periods of unemployment and his mother s failing health the Robinson family could not escape the reality of poverty and segregation in the Jim Crow South Those already at the bottom of the economic pile were also denied access to the educational opportunities that might otherwise have helped them to escape poverty Given the dire circumstances in which the family lived Robinson had a difficult time accepting the strong religious convictions of his father who was a member of a sanctified church and spent much of his free time there As his ...


Diane Savage McLaughlin

was born into slavery to Frances and William Savage of Henderson, Louisiana. John and his parents were manumitted shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War, possibly through the efforts of his father to purchase the family, and began an arduous journey to Liberia searching for a better future. Savage received his elementary education in Sierra Leone. When malaria claimed the lives of both his parents, he returned to the United States with a group of orphaned youths, accompanied by Presbyterian missionaries, aboard the ship Thomas Pope. They arrived in New York City on 12 June 1872. In 1873, with financial assistance from the Presbyterian Synod, he entered Lincoln University in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and in 1879 earned an AB degree. He married Melvina Baldwin in 1879, and the couple would have four children.

In 1882 Savage earned a bachelor s degree in sacred theology ...


Robert Fikes

minister, educational administrator, and civic activist, was born in Hayneville, Alabama, the son of Will Smith, a sharecropper, and Amanda (Tyler) Smith, a laundress. Valedictorian of his Miller's Ferry, Alabama, Presbyterian high school class, George worked his way through Knoxville College in Tennessee majoring in chemistry with a minor in biology and German. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, he was awarded his bachelor's degree in 1951, the same year that he married Irene Hightower; they eventually had three children.

Smith was taking graduate courses in education at Alabama State University while teaching high school in the rural town of Annemanie, Alabama, when a series of incidents of extreme racial brutality persuaded him to leave his job and his home state and enter the ministry, a career path that he had earlier rejected. In 1953 he enrolled at the Pittsburgh ...


Jeremy Rich

Presbyterianpastor, was born around 1840 in the village of Glass on the coast of the Gabon estuary. This town became a neighborhood of the French colonial enclave of Libreville, established by the French navy in the late 1840s. Truman's father was Toko, a member of the small but very influential Mpongwe ethnic community. Though born a slave according to later oral traditions, Toko had become an important slave trader and a clan chief by the 1830. Truman experienced the initial French occupation of Glass firsthand, if one trusts the vague dating of his birth. In 1844 a French warship briefly fired upon Toko when he refused to fly the French flag alone. Unfortunately, no records regarding Truman's childhood and adolescence have survived. Truman's town of Glass became in 1842 the site of a US Congregationalist Protestant mission founded by several members of the American Board of ...