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George Boulukos

slave, sailor, writer, and activist (widely known in his time as Gustavus Vassa), became the most famous African in eighteenth-century Britain as the author of his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1789 While the scholar Vincent Carretta has found some evidence placing his birth in South Carolina Equiano identifies his birthplace as Essaka a small ethnically Igbo town in present day Nigeria His parents remain unknown but Equiano s family was prominent he expected to undergo a scarification ritual but was kidnapped by slavers as a young boy He experienced slavery in a variety of West African communities until he was brought to a seaport and sold to European slavers Neither Essaka nor the name Equiano has been definitively identified although both have plausible Igbo analogs such as Isseke and Ekwuano Both his African origin and his exact ...


Sharon Harrow

the first English woman to write and publish a narrative of her travels to West Africa, was born Anna Maria Horwood to Grace Roberts and Charles Horwood in Bristol.

In 1788 she married the physician and abolitionist Alexander Falconbridge; friends and family disapproved of the match. Alexander’s vehement abolitionist views resulted from his service as surgeon on four slave ships. The year of their marriage, he published An Account of the Slave Trade on the Coast of Africa in order to publicize the horrors of the Middle Passage. He worked with Thomas Clarkson’s abolitionist campaign and was subsequently contracted by the St. George’s Bay Company (later renamed the Sierra Leone Company) to rescue the ailing colony of Sierra Leone. Earlier in the century, it had been a trading site for the Royal Africa Company, and it remained a country of economic interest to England. In 1787 the abolitionist Granville ...


Thomas Burnell Colbert

politician and land agent, was born in Troy, New York. Not long after his birth his family moved to Fall River, Massachusetts, then Newport, Rhode Island, and Bangor, Maine. When his father died McCabe quit school to support the family. As a young man McCabe worked on Wall Street in New York City before going to Chicago, where he clerked for the hotel owner Potter Palmer until 1872, when he received a clerkship at the Cook County federal Treasury office. In 1878, with his friend Abraham T. Hall Jr., editor of the African American newspaper the Chicago Conservator, McCabe journeyed to Kansas to join the African American Nicodemus colony, for which he served as secretary. In 1880 he married Sarah Bryant. They had two daughters who lived to adulthood and a son who died in infancy.

McCabe entered Republican politics in Kansas and in ...


David Dabydeen

Term popularized in the 18th century denoting the uncorrupted man of nature as opposed to the degenerate man of civilization. Although the notion of the noble savage was idealized and propagated during the age of English Romanticism, its origins have been traced to the Middle Ages, when the conception of a Golden Age anticipates the formation of the pristine and virtuous ‘natural man’. This ‘natural man’ was initially associated with the Caribs in the Americas, but as the notion expanded, the inclusion of American Indians, South Sea Islanders, and Blacks came to signify the generalization of the non‐white, colonizable ‘savage’.

One of the earliest travellers to glorify the primitive man was Christopher Columbus. His association of the Caribbean islands with a terrestrial paradise simultaneously fashioned their inhabitants as Edenic creatures, unfettered by the lures of materialism, progress, and civilization. Similarly, Sir Walter Ralegh'sDiscovery of the Large Rich and Beautiful ...


Anthony Aiello

Born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, to free parents, Nancy Prince and the details of her life are known largely through her own autobiography, Narrative of the Life and Travels of Mrs. Nancy Prince (1850). Nancy Gardner had as many as seven siblings and was the daughter of Thomas Gardner, a seaman from Nantucket who died before Nancy was three months old. Her mother, whose name Prince never gives in her autobiography, was the daughter of Tobias Wornton, or Backus, who was taken from Africa and, though he was a slave, fought at Bunker Hill in the Revolutionary army; Gardner's maternal grandmother, a Native American, was captured and enslaved by English colonists. Gardner's stepfather, Money Vose was her mother s third husband the other two having died He escaped a slave ship by swimming ashore but was later kidnapped and pressed into ship service During the ...


Born John Brown to a slave mother and a white American merchant father in Jamaica, he became John Russwurm when his stepmother demanded that his father acknowledge by name his paternity. Sent to Quebec for schooling, Russwurm was taken by his father to Portland, Maine, in 1812. He attended Hebron Academy in Hebron, Maine, and graduated in 1826 from Bowdoin College, one of the first black graduates of an American college. In his graduation speech he advocated the resettlement of American blacks to Haiti.

Moving to New York, New York, in 1827, Russwurm helped found Freedom's Journal with Samuel E(li) Cornish. It was the first black-owned and black-printed newspaper in the United States. The paper employed itinerant black abolitionists and urged an end to Southern slavery and Northern inequality. In February of 1829 he stopped publishing the paper and accepted a position ...


Graham Russell Hodges

Prince Saunders was born in either Lebanon, Connecticut, or Thetford, Vermont, the son of Cuff Saunders and Phyllis (maiden name unknown). Although the exact date of Prince Saunders's birth remains unknown, he was baptized on July 25, 1784 in Lebanon and received his early schooling in Thetford. He taught at a black school in Colchester, Connecticut, and later studied at Moor's Charity School at Dartmouth College in 1807 and 1808. President John Wheelock (1754–1817) of Dartmouth recommended Saunders as instructor at Boston's African School in late 1808. By 1811 Saunders was secretary of the African Masonic Society and had founded the Belles Lettres Society, a literary group. He also taught at the African Baptist Church in Boston, founded by Thomas Paul. He was engaged to one daughter of emigrationist and sea captain Paul Cuffe Although the engagement ended for unknown reasons his ...