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Loren Schweninger

James Thomas Rapier was born of free parents in Florence, Alabama, the son of John H. Rapier, a barber, and Susan (maiden name unknown). As a youngster, he was sent to live with his father's mother, Sally Thomas, and his father's half-brother, James Thomas, after whom Rapier was named, and to attend school in Nashville, Tennessee. Sally and James Thomas, although legally slaves, hired their own time and lived autonomous lives. Young Rapier thrived under their care and learned to read and write.

At the age of nineteen Rapier was sent by his father to Buxton, Canada West, an all-black settlement, to continue his education. At a school founded by the Presbyterian minister William King he studied Latin Greek mathematics and the Bible He also underwent a religious conversion and later taught school in the settlement My coming to Canada is worth all the world to ...

Article

In light of the complex process of deferral, legal disregard, and noncompliance with international treaties that characterized the abolition movement, slaves' own pursuit of emancipation became decisive. In other words, slave resistance, in the context of the abolitionist phenomenon, developed into the principal means by which the abolition of slavery would be hastened, bit by bit, from the bottom up. The cases of Brazil, Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica are perhaps the most representative. Violent protests and revolts, collective escapes, individual reactions, presumed submission, destruction of property, cane fields set alight: all figure among the actions slaves took to gain their freedom.

In this sense enslaved men and women cannot be said to have been simple spectators or passive subjects who would leave the determination of their freedom in the hands of the slaveholding elite To imagine for instance that the news laws incidents and arguments common to an ...

Article

Richard Smith

Advocate of black self‐improvement through industrial education. Born in Virginia to a slave mother and unknown white father, he founded the Tuskegee Institute in 1888. He made two visits to Britain, the first in early summer 1899 as part of a European vacation and speaking tour. He was impressed by technical and agricultural education in Britain, but shocked by social conditions in London's East End. During his visit he also gained greater insight into the effects of European rule in Africa, concluding that repatriation to Africa would not improve the lot of black Americans. His recollections of the trip also underline his conservatism, evident in an appreciation of British class deference and social order.

Washington's second visit, in 1910, was made as part of his mission to study the condition of the poor in Europe. He was accompanied by his secretary, the sociologist Robert Ezra Park and ...