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Stewart King

was born on 16 December 1753 in Torbec, on the southern peninsula of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). His father, François Boisrond (1711–1772), a mixed-race small planter, married Marie Hérard (1724–1773), from a prominent free colored family from the nearby parish of Aquin, sometime before 1743. Louis François was the tenth of their eleven children. (Louis-François’s surname sometimes appears as Boisrond-Jeune. The cognomen “Jeune” means “the younger,” and it was commonly used to distinguish a person from an older relative with the same name. In this case, we do not know who the older Louis-François Boisrond was; perhaps there was an older brother who died in childhood, or perhaps the intent was to distinguish Louis-François from his father, François.)

François Boisrond, along with other free colored and white planters of the regions, participated in an uprising against obligatory militia service in 1763 he suffered no punishment ...

Article

Bernard Gainot

There is little documentation on his life before he moved to mainland France. Even though the surname “Boisson” was common in Cap-Français (now Cap-Haïtien), there is evidence that Joseph belonged to the community of free blacks who advanced through the military on the eve of the Haitian Revolution. He was a captain in the Saint-Domingue Gendarmerie when he was elected to the National Convention, the assembly held in Paris from 1792 to 1795 to draft a new constitution following the overthrow of the French monarchy. Reliable sources mention two sisters: Madeleine, who married a black sergeant of the First Battalion of Colonial Troops, and Marguerite, who was living with a white adjutant from the Battalion of the Cap-Français.

Like other representatives of Saint-Domingue, Boisson traveled first to Philadelphia, and then departed from New York on 20 March 1794 along with two parliamentarians Etienne Laforest a mulatto and Pierre Nicolas ...

Article

Patricia Glinton-Meicholas

was born in 1797 in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (renamed Haiti following its revolution). He was the son of Mary Catherine Esther Argo (also “Hester Argeaux”), a free woman of African descent. His father was purportedly Etienne Dillet, a French army officer. Naturalized as a British subject of The Bahamas in 1828, Stephen Dillet became a member of one of the earliest organized civil rights pressure groups in The Bahamas, and he was the first Bahamian of color to win election to the colony’s Parliament.

Dillet was a man whose character and social and political pursuits were deeply influenced by events of international import, which supplied the context for his life. His birth in 1797 six years after the outbreak of the Haitian revolution was attended by bloody conflict The chief combatants were the free people of color and enslaved blacks who had rebelled to free themselves ...

Article

Mary Krane Derr

human-rights campaigner, women organizer, and religious leader, often called S. Willie Layton or Layten, was born Sarah W. Phillips in Grenada, Mississippi, to the minister William H. Phillips and Mary H. Phillips, a housekeeper. William Phillips was born in January 1841 in Virginia, also the birthplace of both his parents. Mary Phillips was born in June 1845 in Mississippi, the birthplace of both of her parents. Very likely, both were born enslaved, as was Sarah at the time of her birth. Layton's parents wed in 1862. The 1900 U.S. Census records Layton as the only surviving child of six. Her father worked for denominational self-determination and professionalized clergy in the black churches. Layton's upbringing stressed the intersection of human rights, especially educational rights, of African Americans and women.

As a teenager, she lived in Memphis, Tennessee, with her parents and attended LeMoyne (now LeMoyne-Owen) College, graduating in 1881 ...

Article

David Dabydeen

Banker, economist, close friend of William Wilberforce, and campaigner for the abolition of the slave trade. Owing to his background in financial matters, Thornton was able to be of great help to Wilberforce in terms of managing the monetary aspects of their anti‐slavery campaigns besides providing practical business advice. He was one of the founders of the Clapham Sect, a group of men under the influence of Wilberforce who were devoted to evangelical Christianity and believed that, through their faith in Jesus Christ, they would fight for moral, social, and political justice. The Sect was formed by Wilberforce and Thornton after their proposal for the abolition of the slave trade was rejected in 1789. It was Thornton's idea to create a Christian commune within which those dedicated to religious and political matters could live, exchange, and activate their ideas. In 1792 he purchased Battersea ...

Article

Denyce Porter Peyton

educator and home economist, was born Fanny Smith in Malden, Kanawha County, West Virginia, the daughter of Samuel Smith and Celia. Historical accounts of Fanny Smith do not disclose much detail about her family, for instance whether or not she had siblings. Fanny grew up in Malden, West Virginia, where after the Civil War she became acquainted with Booker T. Washington, whose family settled there after emancipation. Washington began his studies at Hampton Institute in Virginia in 1872 and graduated in 1875. He returned to West Virginia and was Fanny's teacher in Malden, where he taught approximately eighty to ninety students in a day program from 1875 to 1878. Fanny and a few Malden schoolmates, assisted by Washington, gained admittance to Hampton Institute some time before 1878. This small group of students was known primarily as “Booker Washington's boys” (Harlan, 76). Fanny s ...