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Kevin Caprice

was born Robert Ball in Green County, Kentucky, the son of William Anderson, a slave who worked a nearby plantation. Robert’s mother’s name is unknown; she was a slave working on the same plantation as her son until she was sold to a Louisiana cane plantation when Robert was six. For the first twenty-one years of his life, Ball was a slave on a flax and hemp plantation. The son of a house servant, the favorite of his master and namesake, Colonel Robert Ball, and a house servant himself, Robert had certain privileges most slaves did not, such as larger and nicer living quarters, and less grueling labor. But throughout his adolescence, Robert never forgot his owners considered him no more than chattel.

While in bondage Robert Anderson was often faced with the cruelties of slavery He had only one article of clothing rarely had enough to eat and was ...

Article

Barauda  

Salvador Suazo

wife of Joseph Chatoyer, the leader of a guerrilla war of resistance against British occupation on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. Chatoyer appears in the historical record under various references, including Chatouillex, Chatouilleaux, Chatawae, Shatuyé, and Satuyé. His people were known to the British as “black and yellow Caribs.” It is believed that they were descended from a mix of African-descended and indigenous people who formed the majority of the people on St. Vincent. The documentary record left by Chatoyer’s enemies suggests he was the paramount military chief and civilian leader of this community on St. Vincent for more than twenty-eight years, from just before 1768 until his death in 1795. Barauda, one of Chatoyer’s wives, is today remembered especially in Honduras, where between 2,000 and 4,000 black and yellow Caribs, now known as Garifuna, were exiled by the British in the late eighteenth century.

Barauda was one ...

Article

Bill Nasson

farmer, general, and first prime minister of the Union of South Africa, was born on 27 September 1862 near Greytown in the British colony of Natal. His paternal grandfather, Philip Rudolph Boot (or Both), was of German settler descent and had participated in the 1830s Boer Great Trek into the interior. The son of migrant trekkers Louis Botha and Salomina van Rooyen, Louis was the ninth of thirteen children. In 1869, the Botha family left Natal and settled on a farm near Vrede in the Orange Free State, where Louis lived until the age of twenty-two. Earlier, he had been schooled at a local German mission where he received only a very basic education.

Botha’s minimal formal learning proved to be no handicap to the development of his exceptional aptitude for fieldcraft and understanding of the working of the highveld terrain. In 1886 he settled on his ...

Article

Rocío del Águila

who died during the War of the Pacific (1879–1883) between Chile and the allied forces of Peru and Bolivia, was born in the town of San José de los Molinos, a district founded in 1876 and located in the southern Peruvian province of Ica. She was of African descent and later worked as a cotton and lima bean farmer. She bore one child.

From colonial times, the Ica region had become well known for its Afro-Peruvian population and the participation of this significant workforce in agriculture, particularly vineyards and cotton fields. As a result of the lack of written sources and biographical materials, a variety of accounts originated regarding her role in the military events that took place in the area of Los Molinos. Most versions derive from oral sources and local traditions, which suggest that Buendía played an important role in the critical battle of Cerrillo.

The ...

Article

Nancy T. Robinson

laborer and sharecropper and unwitting participant in the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment, was born Ernest L. Hendon in Roba, Alabama, to North and Mary Reed Hendon, sharecroppers. The family resided in rural Alabama, where Ernest Hendon spent his childhood working the family farm.

Hendon studied agriculture at the Macon County Training School. When his father died in 1933, Hendon helped his mother raise his nine siblings: Willie Harvey, Mary Lou, Johngiene, Mable, Louie, Girlie, Lydar, Willion, and North. The family was poor, enduring days of laboring under unforgiving weather conditions, tending small plots of land and picking cotton.

Like many others in his community Hendon suffered from mysterious physical ailments that often went undiagnosed and untreated With limited financial or social resources and in the midst of the oppressive and segregated South there was little opportunity for medical attention in sharecropper communities Travel to seek out a ...

Article

Barbara A. Desmarais

Revolutionary War veteran, sailor and farmer, was born in 1764 in Nantucket, Massachusetts. That year Nantucket's census counted the number of blacks for the first time. Heuston was one of only fifty African Americans on the island. Many of the blacks counted were slaves, but there was also a small free black community on Nantucket. It is unclear if Heuston was born free or enslaved.

The location and year of Heuston's birth were reported to a local newspaper by his daughter, Lydia Bowe, upon his death. She also reported that he served on an American fighting ship during the Revolutionary War when he was a boy and that he continued to work as a mariner for the next two decades.

Other information regarding the remainder of Heuston s long life is supported by many documents For instance free black mariners carried American Seaman Protection Documents certifying their ...

Article

Louise Roger

a member of the British Honduras Forestry Unit (BHFU) in Scotland during World War II, was born on 18 February 1910 in Punta Gorda Belize then known as British Honduras The sixth of eleven children born to Francisco and Estephana Martinez his birth name was Simon James Peter but he was commonly known as Sam He lived his early years in the village of Barranco ten miles south of Punta Gorda where the language and culture of the Garifuna who were originally from the island of St Vincent and of mixed African and indigenous Caribbean descent was still prevalent His parents worked on banana plantations and Martinez remembered the material poverty of his family and most of the local population It is not clear why or when the family moved to Belize City but Martinez went to a Baptist school there following a curriculum promoting loyalty to the British ...

Article

Juanita Patience Moss

slave, Union soldier, and farmer, was born to unknown parents in Chowan County, North Carolina, possibly on the Briols farm, located three miles from Edenton. Crowder was illiterate, and on his military records his surname is spelled Pacien. Some years after the Civil War, when his children entered school, their teachers spelled it Patience. When he applied for a government pension after the war, a member of the Fifth Massachusetts Colored Calvary by the name of Thomas Patience also gave his birthplace as that the Briols farm. Since the name of Patience is relatively uncommon, it is likely that they were brothers. Unfortunately, no records exist to verify the supposition.

When the Union army penetrated the South many slaves fled in search of the freedom promised to them if they could reach the Yankees Crowder Patience was one of these slaves At the age of eighteen he ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

Civil War soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Stark County, Ohio. His father was a native of Virginia, while his mother was from Pennsylvania. Federal Census records of 1870 classify Robert Pinn as a “Mulatto,” an indicator that one of his parents was probably white, or perhaps that he was fair in complexion. Little is known about Pinn's early life, but he was most likely raised in Massillon, Canton, or the surrounding area in Stark County. The early years of the Civil War found Pinn a resident of Massilon, Ohio, making a living as a farmer. At the age of twenty, on 15 September 1863, Pinn set aside his farming tools and traveled the eighty-odd miles westward to the town of Delaware to enlist in the 127th Ohio Regiment, the state's first regiment of black soldiers raised to fight in the Civil War.

Little prior ...

Article

Jacob Doerfler

Revolutionary War soldier, was born in Norwich, Connecticut, to unknown parents. On 19 August 1753 he was baptized in the Norwich First Congregational Church. Quy was an enslaved African American. Until the Revolutionary War, his master was Daniel Brewster of Norwich.

Libbeus Quy was recruited into General Israel Putnam's Third Regiment, probably between May and April of 1775. He was one of a few African Americans who served in the Patriot cause in the Revolutionary War before 1777. It is not known whether Quy served in place of his master, a common practice in the Revolutionary War. But it is known that Daniel Brewster did not enlist in the military. Quy served under Colonel John Durkee in the Third Company, and in May 1775, the Third Company marched to and camped around Boston, Massachusetts. Quy was stationed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, until December 1775 when the ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

Civil War soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born the son of an African slave named Hannah and a white father in James City County, Virginia, on the farm of Nathaniel Hankins. Two years later, when Alexander Hankins inherited his father's 400-acre farm, he also inherited the slaves that worked it and their families, including the infant Edward. Married before the war to a woman, also a slave, named Grace, Ratcliff continued as a slave until one day in early 1864 when he “laid down his hoe in the field” and walked the distance to Yorktown to join the Union camp there as a contraband (Virginia State Senate Joint Resolution, 484). He joined the 38th U.S. Colored Troop Regiment (USCT) when it was organized in Virginia on 28 January 1864 thereby becoming a free man and hoping that soon his family would also be free ...

Article

Jane Ailes

veteran of the American Revolution and farmer, enlisted at Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia, served for four years in the First Regiment of Light Dragoons of the Continental Army, and was later a resident of Hardy County, Virginia (later Grant County, West Virginia). Nothing is known of John Redman's life prior to his enlistment in probably late 1778. Information about his service in the Continental Army comes from his and his widow's applications for pensions (Revolutionary War Pension Application File, roll number 2013, application number W5691).

It is not easy to estimate the number of black men who served in the Continental forces. Skin color and ethnicity were recorded in very few of the military records that survive, making it difficult to quantify their numbers. Benjamin Arthur Quarles refers to earlier works that estimate there were a total of about 5 000 black soldiers in the Continental ...

Article

Carolyn Warfield

Union soldier, farm worker, and Union Army veterans' leader, was born Moses Fauntleroy, in Clarksville, Montgomery County, Middle Tennessee. He was one of ten children born to Emalina Fauntleroy. As the son of a slave woman, Moses was also born a slave. According to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Moses asserted that his parents were born in Virginia; however, no name was given for his father.

An elderly Moses Slaughter of Evansville, Indiana, was interviewed for the Indiana Writers' Project, Slave Narratives, conducted by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1936–1938. The published interview is accessible in several formats, however, the descriptive source material has incorrect dates of certain events, likely due to an old man's declined health.

As the personal property of Joseph Murdock Fauntleroy, a prominent tobacco planter, the young Moses was separated from his family in 1854 when he ...

Article

Orlando Romero

former slave, soldier, farmer, and sergeant of the Thirty-First United States Regiment, was, according to a statement he gave to a New Haven Register reporter during the Civil War, born a slave in Louden County, Virginia. Somers was sold many times until he was bought by a man who lived in Ralls County, Missouri.

Somers s journey to freedom began when he joined an expedition to Pike s Peak Colorado Twelve men from Ralls County agreed with Somers s owner to take him on as a cook Somers later described his journey We reached Denver City on the 18 of June and went up the mountain We prospected for gold and found 5 cents worth in a pail full of clay We thought we had a good claim and worked But when we had laid the bottom bare we could find no more gold We gave ...

Article

Michael Frank Knight

farmer, soldier, and Medal of Honor recipient, was born free in Carroll County, Louisiana, the son of sharecroppers. His parents' names are unknown. Before his enlistment at the age of nineteen as a private in the army, Stance worked crops like his parents, but as he later noted, farming did not agree with him. As a member of the Ninth U.S. “Buffalo Soldiers” Cavalry Regiment fighting in the Indian Wars in Texas, he became the first African American soldier after the Civil War era to receive the Medal of Honor for bravery and leadership.

Stance learned to read and write during his childhood or teenage years. He may have received some schooling in Freedmen's Aid Society Schools, which opened their doors during the early years of Union occupation of Civil War Louisiana, or perhaps later in Freedmen's Bureau schools during Reconstruction. In 1866 Stance left the ...

Article

Nicholas Westbrook

sailor, cooper, soldier, surveyor, farmer, and innkeeper, was born in Lunenburg, Worcester County, Massachusetts. Taylor's father was probably Prince Taylor (?–1804), a slave of John Taylor of Lunenburg. It is not known if the younger Prince Taylor was born a slave or free. In occupation and location, Taylor continually reinvented himself to cope with changing circumstances. He did not marry.

Taylor served as steward on the fourteen-gun brig Diligent under Captain Brown for five months in 1779 during the failed Penobscot expedition, America's greatest naval disaster until Pearl Harbor. In his 1818 Revolutionary War pension deposition, Taylor declared, “I am by trade a Saylor” (Revolutionary War Pension Application, Massachusetts service, dossier #S.42.463, National Archives). On 6 March 1781 he accepted the bounty paid by the town of Lunenburg to enlist in the Continental Army for the next three years His enlistment ...

Article

Carolyn Warfield

forced tobacco laborer, was born in Walnut Bottom, Henderson, Kentucky, the son of a slave woman and a free man; the latter was a Federal soldier in the siege of Petersburg and Richmond during the Civil War (1861–1865), carpenter, and land owner. Warfield identified his mother as Anna Warfield and his father as George Williams. Anna was living on the Kentucky farm of Marylander Richard Warfield when George was born. Eastern soil depletion drove many farmers and planters westward to Kentucky for fertile land, where slavery provided a free source of workers to cultivate the labor-intensive tobacco crops. Rich bottomlands formed by the confluence of the Green and Ohio Rivers were ideal for western Kentucky's tobacco economy. Annually the Ohio River flooded and revitalized the soil. When Richard Warfield died 1838, George was sold to William Beverley Beverly at the time his estate was ...