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Green, Shields  

Zoe Trodd

fugitive slave, was hanged for his participation in John Brown's raid at Harpers Ferry. Nothing is known about his family or early life except that he was from Charleston, South Carolina, and was nicknamed “Emperor.” Green escaped from slavery, leaving behind a son, and reached Canada, but then returned to the United States and sought out Frederick Douglass. In 1859 Green met Brown at Douglass's Rochester, New York, home. According to Douglass, Brown saw “at once what ‘stuff’ Green ‘was made of’ and confided to him his plans and purposes” (Life and Times, 757). Green felt a kindred chemistry too. He was ready to follow Brown and accepted a position in Brown's provisional government for a nation without slavery.

On 19 August 1859 with his raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry looming large on the horizon Brown summoned Douglass to a meeting that ...

Article

Green, Shields  

Lorenz Graham

Shields Green was born a slave in South Carolina and spent most of his life there. As a young man he escaped and fled to the North with the help of the Underground Railroad. In Rochester, New York, Green found shelter in the home of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who has given a detailed description of Green and especially of Green's relationship to radical abolitionist John Brown. Green first met Brown at Douglass's home. Douglass wrote that Green, or “Emperor,” as he was sometimes called, was “a man of few words, and his speech was singularly broken; but his courage and self-respect made him quite a dignified character. John Brown saw at once what ‘stuff’ Green ‘was made of,’ and confided to him his plans and purposes.” Green believed in Brown and trusted him. He promised to go with Brown whenever Brown might call him.

Two months before ...

Article

Green, Shields  

Lois Kerschen

one of the two black men captured and executed following the raid on the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia. A fugitive slave of pure African descent from Charleston, South Carolina, Shields Green was also known as Emperor. Green was in his early twenties and illiterate when he was introduced to John Brown at the home of Frederick Douglass in Rochester, New York. Douglass described Green as a man of few words, perhaps because his “speech was singularly broken.” Nonetheless, Brown admired Green's character and later asked Douglass to bring Green with him to a secret meeting on 19 August 1859 in Chambersburg Pennsylvania The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the proposed raid on Harpers Ferry Douglass knew the raid was a doomed mission and refused to participate Green on the other hand had become an avid follower of Brown over the three weeks during which they ...

Article

Newby, Dangerfield  

Philip J. Schwarz

one of the first African American raiders killed in John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859, was born to Elsey Newby, a slave, and Henry Newby, who was white. Henry Newby freed Dangerfield's mother and his siblings in 1858, and Dangerfield was freed at the same time. Henry Newby was a somewhat typical Virginia landowner whose motives concerning manumission are unknown. That he freed family members does not necessarily distinguish him from slave owners who kept their children or other relations in bondage. The Newbys lived in Culpeper County, near the Old Dominion's Blue Ridge Mountains. For some years Henry Newby was a typical white slaveholder. In 1840 he held nine slaves, including a male who was most likely Dangerfield, and a female, probably Elsey Newby. Ten years later, in 1850, he possessed seventeen slaves. By 1860 however they had all disappeared ...

Article

Newby, Dangerfield  

Lorenz Graham

Dangerfield Newby was born in Virginia. His mother was a slave, but his father, a Scotsman, granted freedom to his children when he died. Newby lived on a farm near Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). He was known as a quiet man, strong, sensible, and devoted to his wife and their seven children, all of whom were slaves. They lived near Warrenton, Virginia on their master's farm. His wife had written a letter to Newby saying that her master was planning to sell her “down river.” Newby, willing to do anything he thought might help to free members of his family, participated in the raid led by John Brown on the government arsenal at Harpers Ferry. The raid was meant to spark a massive slave revolt.

John Brown arrived in Harpers Ferry six months before his planned attack During that time Newby served Brown as a spy in ...

Article

Savary, Joseph  

Marcus B. Christian

Joseph Savary was the close associate of whites and generally referred to as a mulatto Creole of Santo Domingo (now the Dominican Republic). The names of his parents can only be conjectured. Since he was believed to have been the brother of Belton Savary, another hero of the Battle of New Orleans, in Louisiana, he was probably the son of Charles Savary and Charlotte Lajoie. Savary was an officer in the Santo Domingan army under the French government and rendered outstanding services to the whites during the 1791 slave uprising. He and his family were among the whites, free people of color, and slaves who fled their native land and finally landed in New Orleans in 1809. When he reached the United States, he brought with him a reputation as an able officer and a man of great courage.

In the meager accounts concerning Savary ...

Article

Savimbi, Jonas Malheiro  

Eric Young

Jonas Savimbi was born in Munhango, Angola, then a Portuguese colony. The son of a railway worker, Savimbi attended Protestant mission schools until he won a scholarship to study in Portugal. Already involved in Angolan nationalist politics, Savimbi was detained by Portuguese police three times before he fled to Switzerland, where, in 1965, he graduated from Lausanne University with honors in political and juridical sciences (although he would often refer to himself as a doctor). While he was a university student, Savimbi contacted the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA), but ultimately decided to join the nationalist Union of Angolan People (UPA), instead. As secretary-general of the UPA, Savimbi worked to gain recognition for the movement and to unite the movement with others, ultimately helping to form the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA).

Savimbi a member of the Ovimbundu ethnic group soon became disenchanted with ...

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Savimbi, Jonas Malheiro  

Elaine Windrich

Angolan military leader, was born in Munhango in the central highlands of Angola in 1934, among the country’s largest ethnic minority, the Ovimbundu. His father, Lot, was a station master on the Benguela railway, which ran across Angola from Northern Rhodesia and the Congo to the ports on the west coast. In a society based upon Portugal’s color bar, this was an important position for an African, and it enabled him to send his son Jonas to a Portuguese secondary school in Luanda.

Since Savimbi was a highly intelligent student and had the command of several European languages, he was awarded a scholarship to study medicine in Lisbon. However, his education was interrupted by the harassment from the notorious Portuguese secret police, which spied upon students from the colonies to prevent them from engaging in political activities.

Fleeing from this harassment in 1958 Savimbi moved on to Switzerland ...

Article

Surur, Eliaba James  

Scopas S. Poggo

Sudanese rebel leader, was born into the Pojulu ethnic group of Central Equatoria in the Sudan. He started school in 1944. In 1946–1947 Surur studied at Yei Primary School, and in 1948 he joined Loka Intermediate School (the CMS Nugent School), where he spent three years. He was admitted into Rumbek Secondary School in 1951 and graduated in 1954. He was employed as a teacher by the Ministry of Education and taught at Atar and Malakal junior secondary schools in the Upper Nile Province. From Malakal he was sent to Bakt er Ruda Institute of Education in Khartoum, where he was trained as a teacher for three years. He taught at Busere, Mondiri, Yambio, Tambura, Juba, Lainya, and Polataka intermediate schools.

Surur was named chairman of the Southern Front in Juba in the 1960s. During the Juba massacre of 8-9 July 1965 the Arab soldiers targeted him ...

Article

Taddese Birru  

Mohammed Hassen Ali

Ethiopian military officer of Oromo origin, was born in Salale, Shewa province, to a deeply religious family. He received Ethiopian Orthodox Church education. His father, Birru, was killed by poison gas while fighting against the invading Italian forces in 1935. Heartbroken, Taddese’s mother died just three months after her husband’s death.

Taddese joined his uncle, Beka, who was one of the resistance leaders in Shewa province. Taddese was captured together with many others by the Italian forces and was sentenced for the first time to life imprisonment with hard labor in Mogadisho. The outbreak of World War II shortened Taddese’s misery and changed the course of his life. When the British captured Mogadisho in 1940, Taddese was freed and recruited into the British forces. He was given military training in Kenya and returned to Ethiopia in 1941. In 1942 Taddese was promoted to the rank of ...