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Theresa Vara-Dannen

seamstress, washerwoman, and founder of a New Haven home for the indigent, first appears in public records as a resident of New Haven, Connecticut in a City Directory in 1848. Nothing is known for certain about her birthplace or her parentage. In 1848 she was listed simply as “Miss Hannah Gray, col’d,” of 5 Winter Street.” In 1850, she was boarding with two white women, but on the census form, her place of birth seems to be deliberately illegible.

Although little is known about her origins, it is clear that she saved money and generously supported Connecticut's Underground Railroad and “poor strangers from slavery” (Black Women of Connecticut, p. 31) seeking freedom. The Yale University Divinity School community patronized her laundry and sewing business. Over time she saved enough to purchase a modest four-room home at 158 Dixwell Avenue in New Haven. In the 1860 ...

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Alice Knox Eaton

religious figure, was born a slave in Morris County, New Jersey. Nothing is known of her family, but as a child she became the property of the Wheelock family of Hanover, New Hampshire. She served as a personal attendant to Maria Malleville, the stepdaughter of President Wheelock of Dartmouth College. When Malleville married William Allen in 1812, Jacobs continued as her servant, eventually moving with the Allens to Brunswick, Maine, when Allen became the president of Bowdoin College. After Mrs. Allen's death in 1828, Jacobs lived on her own and supported herself as a laundress for the students of Bowdoin College until her death.

According to the Narrative of Phebe Ann Jacobs, written by Mrs. T. C. Upham after Jacobs s death Jacobs became a devout Christian while living with the Wheelock family Upham the wife of the theologian and Bowdoin professor Thomas C ...

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Donald A. Ritchie

a Pentagon employee who became a celebrated witness during Senator Joseph McCarthy's investigation of Communism in the government, was born in Chester, South Carolina. One of six children of Katie and Clemon Crawford, tenant farmers, she began picking cotton at the age of five. While in her teens, she moved with her parents to Salisbury, North Carolina, where she attended but did not graduate from high school. At twenty-one she married Ernest Moss, a worker at a tobacco factory in Durham, North Carolina. They had one son.

Moss moved to Washington, D.C., in 1941, where her husband took a construction job and she ironed at a laundry. In 1943 she became a dessert cook for the Welfare and Recreation Association which assigned her to the Pentagon cafeteria As a condition of employment she joined the Washington Cafeteria Workers union a local chapter of the United Federal ...

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Margot Minardi

Boston freedwoman, was born in Africa. Spear is known to scholars primarily through the Memoir of Mrs. Chloe Spear, written by “A Lady of Boston” in 1832. According to the Memoir, Spear was kidnapped from the African coast when she was about twelve years old. Her captors carried her to a slave ship headed for Philadelphia, where Captain John Bradford purchased her and took her to his home in Boston.

Bradford was a merchant and, during the American Revolution, the Continental agent for Massachusetts. The Memoir depicts him as a harsh master and Chloe as an obedient slave. For the deeply religious author of the Memoir Bradford s most reprehensible fault was his failure to bring up his slaves in the Christian faith Bradford also claimed that it made negroes saucy to know how to read Lady of Boston 26 When he discovered that Chloe ...

Article

Caryn E. Neumann

Chloe Spear was born in Africa. At about the age of twelve, while she was playing on the shore, she and three or four other children were captured by a band of white men who had hidden in the bushes nearby. They were transported to a slave ship for passage to the American colonies and arrived in Philadelphia. Too sick to be an attractive purchase, she went unsold at a slave market while her childhood companions were dispersed to various buyers. Eventually, a Mr. B. of Boston bought the young slave to serve as a household worker.

In this era the state of Massachusetts attempted to promote Christianity by forcing masters to rest slaves on the Sabbath Mr B permitted his slaves including Spear to attend church services for half of Sunday Like the others Spear lacked a strong enough command of English to understand the services The slaves ...