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Brad S. Born

Benjamin Banneker was born 9 November 1731in Baltimore County, Maryland, the first child of free African American parents Mary Banneker and Robert, a former slave whose freedom she had purchased and who took her surname upon marriage. Growing up on their tobacco farm, Benjamin received little formal schooling, learning to read and write from his grandmother and attending for several seasons an interracial school where he first developed his lifelong interest in mathematics. Following his parents’ deaths and three sisters’ departures from home, Banneker remained on the farm, working the crops and cultivating his intellect in relative seclusion.

In 1771, he befriended George Ellicott a Quaker neighbor whose family had developed a large complex of mills on the adjoining property With astronomical texts and instruments borrowed from Ellicott he trained himself to calculate ephemerides tables establishing the positioning of the sun moon and stars for each day ...

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Geoffrey Roper

Egyptian poet, diplomat, military commander, and politician, was born in Cairo on 6 October 1839. His family claimed descent from a medieval Mamluk royal line, but his surname (nisba) refers to the district of Ityay al-Barud in Lower Egypt, of which his ancestors had once been tax farmers (multazims). His father, an artillery officer under Muhammad Ali, died in Sudan when al-Barudi was only seven years old. After primary education, al-Barudi entered the Military Training School in Cairo, in 1851, and graduated from it in 1855 with the rank of bash-jawish (sergeant-major). During the reign of the viceroy Saʿid (r. 1854–1863), he served in Istanbul as a diplomat and during this time acquired a lifelong enthusiasm for literature.

In 1863 the new viceroy, Ismaʿil (r. 1863–1879 visited Istanbul and recruited al Barudi as commander of his Viceregal Guard in Cairo with the ...

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Luca Prono

lyric coloratura soprano, was the youngest of seven children born in Portsmouth, Ohio, to Grady Battle, a steelworker from Alabama who belonged to a gospel quartet, and Ollie Layne Battle. Together with her six older siblings, Kathleen Deanna Battle experienced the gospel music of her African Methodist Episcopal Church from a very early age. Battle studied at Portsmouth High School with Charles Varney and began piano lessons at the age of twelve.

She considered using her National Achievement Scholarship, which she was awarded in 1966, to study mathematics at the University of Cincinnati, but she graduated instead from the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music with a degree in music education in 1970 The following year Battle received a master s degree from the same institution After graduation Battle worked as a music teacher for fifth and sixth graders in a Cincinnati inner city school for two ...

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Mamie E. Locke

James Madison Bell was born in Gallipolis, Ohio. His parents' identities are unknown. At age sixteen, in 1842, he moved to Cincinnati. While there, in 1848, he married Louisiana Sanderlin (or Sanderline), with whom he had several children, and also learned the plastering trade from his brother-in-law George Knight. Bell worked as a plasterer during the day and attended Cincinnati High School for Colored People at night. Founded in 1844 by Reverend Hiram S. Gilmore, the school had a connection to Oberlin College and was said to have given impetus to the sentiment found in Uncle Tom's Cabin and the cause of human freedom. Through his studies Bell was thoroughly indoctrinated into the principles of radical Abolitionism.

In 1854 Bell moved his family to Chatham, Ontario, Canada where he felt he would be more free under the authority of the British government ...

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Mamie E. Locke

abolitionist, poet, and lecturer, was born in Gallipolis, Ohio. His parents' identities are unknown. At age sixteen, in 1842, he moved to Cincinnati. While there, in 1848, he married Louisiana Sanderlin (or Sanderline), with whom he had several children. He also learned the plastering trade from his brother-in-law, George Knight. Bell worked as a plasterer during the day and attended Cincinnati High School for Colored People at night. Founded in 1844 by Reverend Hiram S. Gilmore, the school had a connection to Oberlin College and was said to have given impetus to the sentiment found in Uncle Tom's Cabin and the cause of human freedom. Through his studies Bell was thoroughly indoctrinated into the principles of radical abolitionism.

In 1854 Bell moved his family to Chatham Ontario Canada feeling that he would be freer under the authority of the British government While ...

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Joan R. Sherman

The “Bard of the Maumee,” Ohio's first native African American poet, was born in Gallipolis where he spent his first sixteen years. From 1842 to 1853, Bell worked as a plasterer in Cincinnati and there married Louisiana Sanderlin with whom he had several children. He plied the plasterer's trade in Canada West, Ontario (1854–1860); there he became a friend of John Brown's, raised funds for Brown's 1859 raid, and later dedicated The Day and the War to “The Hero, Saint and Martyr of Harpers Ferry.” For the next thirty years, until he settled in Toledo in 1890, Bell pursued the trades of plasterer and poet-lecturer in San Francisco (1860–1865 and many other cities north and south He championed abolitionism and black educational and legal rights served as a prominent lay worker for the African Methodist Episcopal AME Church and briefly worked in Republican ...

Article

Christopher Campbell

London‐born poet, printer, visionary, and ‘prophet against empire’. Over the course of his lifetime Blake confronted the horrors of slavery through his literary and pictorial art. He was able both to counter pro‐slavery propaganda and to complicate typical abolitionist verse and sentiment with a profound and unique exploration of the effects of enslavement and the varied processes of empire.

Blake's poem ‘The Little Black Boy’ from Songs of Innocence (1789 examines the mind forg d manacles of racial constructions in the minds of individuals both in the poem itself in the form of the black child and his white counterpart and also in the minds of those involved in the political dispute over abolition Seeming to explain a desire for racial acceptance and spiritual purity through assimilation into white British society and seeming also to be endorsing conventional assumptions of white racial superiority the poem ...

Article

Adam Biggs

Walter Henderson Brooks was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Albert Royal Brooks and Lucy Goode, slaves. Brooks's father was an enterprising slave who owned his own “snack house” and a livery business that brought him into contact with some of Virginia's wealthiest citizens, including his wife's owner, German consul Daniel Von Groning. Albert Brooks purchased his wife's freedom in 1862 for $800 Still a slave Walter Brooks at age seven was sold to the Turpin Yarborough tobacco firm He woefully recalled his time there writing It was all I could do to perform the task assigned to my little hands What I do remember is that I stood in mortal fear of the consequences of failing to do what was required of me When the Richmond manufacturer fell victim to wartime economic decline Brooks was allowed to reside with his mother and began working ...

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Adam Biggs

clergyman, temperance leader, and poet, was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Albert Royal Brooks and Lucy Goode, slaves. Brooks's father, an enterprising slave, owned his own “snack house” and a livery business that brought him into contact with some of Virginia's wealthiest citizens, including his wife's owner, the German consul Daniel Von Groning. Albert Brooks purchased his wife's freedom in 1862 for eight hundred dollars. Still a slave, Walter Brooks at age seven was sold to the Turpin & Yarborough tobacco firm. He woefully recalled his time there, writing: “It was all I could do to perform the task assigned to my little hands. What I do remember is that I stood in mortal fear of ‘the consequences’ of failing to do what was required of me.” When the Richmond manufacturer fell victim to wartime economic decline, Brooks was allowed to reside with his mother ...

Article

Sam Hitchmough

George Gordon Noel Byron was born in London, England, with a club foot, a deformity that is thought to have affected his personality, particularly his attitudes to certain issues such as those confronting the disadvantaged and the oppressed. His contemporaries included another famous poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, with whom he formed a close friendship. Byron's principal works include Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812–1818), a lengthy narrative poem, and the epic poem Don Juan (1819–1824). The Byronic hero was a central figure in the poet's work, a romanticized and idealized rebel who often opposed or resisted the prevailing social and religious institutions. Dying as a participant in the Greek struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire, Byron became a poet much admired by many in the American abolitionist movement. Frederick Douglass often referred to and quoted from Byron in his speeches urging resistance to the ...

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Dickson D. Bruce

poet and educator, was born in Pomeroy, Ohio, the son of James Campbell, a laborer, and Lethia Stark. He graduated from the Pomeroy Academy, having completed the course in Latin and German, in 1884. Beginning to teach, Campbell spent the next two years in schools near Gallipolis, Ohio, and also in Rutland, Ohio, where he was offered a position as principal of the white schools, an offer he declined.

In 1886 Campbell briefly left teaching to edit the Pioneer, a newspaper published in Charleston, West Virginia, and, subsequently, to edit the West Virginia Enterprise, also published in Kanawha County. Neither job was to last, however, and within a short time Campbell returned to Pomeroy, where he involved himself heavily in politics. A notable public speaker who had made his debut shortly after his graduation from high school, Campbell took to the stump in 1887 ...

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Aaron Myers

Born in Cachoeira, Bahia, Brazil, Antônio Frederico de Castro Alves exhibited an early talent for composing poems. At the age of twelve he wrote a poem praising one of his teachers for refusing to punish students physically. This marks one of the earliest manifestations of the humane philosophy that would later inform his antislavery poetry. During adolescence he also developed his oratorical skills by reciting his poems at school functions. Castro Alves established himself as both a captivating performer and an ardent abolitionist by continuing to produce and perform poetry until his death at the age of twenty-four.

Castro Alves was the second of six children born to Antônio José, a doctor, and Clélia Brasília, and he enjoyed a privileged upbringing. He attended the prestigious Ginásio Baiano in Salvador, a progressive school where he first met abolitionist Rui Barbosa he went on to study law in ...

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Philip Barnard

Les Cenelles, published in 1845 in New Orleans, was the first anthology of poetry by Americans of color. The title's use of the word “cenelles,” meaning holly or hawthorne berries, suggests that the volume contains the collected fruit of the Creole community that produced it. Edited by poet and educator Armand Lanusse (1812–1867), the collection features the work of seventeen New Orleans poets who, like Lanusse, were well-to-do “free people of color” (gens de couleur libres), a group with a unique cultural life distinct from that of whites on the one hand and slaves on the other. Contributors range from prosperous merchants such as cigar maker Nicol Riquet and mason Auguste Populus to such locally well-known figures as Lanusse, who worked to found black educational institutions; Joanni Questy, a widely read journalist for the militant newspaper La tribune de la Nouvelle Orléans; and Victor Séjour ...

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Stephanie A. Tingley

Lydia Maria Child's name was a household word in America for nearly fifty years, beginning in 1824 with the publication of her best-selling and controversial novel about interracial marriage, Hobomok: A Tale of Early Times. Child's pioneering work in many realms combined her passions for literary excellence and for social justice. In the literary arena she worked as a novelist, short-story writer, essayist, women's-advice book writer, children's writer, and magazine editor. As an activist and reformer she became a prominent advocate for both Native American and women's rights. Her path and passions crossed with those of Frederick Douglass through her work as an antislavery activist and as the editor of Harriet Jacobs's slave narrative Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1860), the work for which she is probably best known today.

Child's writing about abolition began in 1833, when she published An Appeal ...

Article

Christopher Campbell

Northamptonshirepoet and labourer whose support for the Anti‐Slavery Movement was consistent with his consideration for the plight of the disfranchised within society. He corresponded with the literary editor and publisher Thomas Pringle secretary of the Anti Slavery Society on the subject of the colonial trade in trafficking humans I have a feeling on the broad principle of common humanity that slavery is not only impiety but disgracful to a country professing religion and there is evidence to suggest that Clare considered contributing to poetic anthologies on the subject He later utilized the language of abolition to describe his own wretched state in the asylum which he termed a slave ship from Africa While Clare expresses little condemnation for the machinery of imperialism as a system in the Blakean sense his account of meeting a black beggar outside St Paul s Cathedral London and his resolve to return with ...

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Kimberly A. Sisson

poet, clubwoman, and political activist, was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, the daughter of Mary Evans and Joshua T. Williams, whose occupation is now unknown. In 1870 the family moved to Columbus, Ohio, where Mary Evans opened a successful wig-making business that operated for over twenty years. Carrie Williams attended the first integrated school in Columbus; whether she pursued higher education is unknown, however it is known that during the 1880s she taught in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

In 1886, at the age of twenty-four, she married William H. Clifford, a two-term Republican state representative from Cleveland. They would have two sons. As part of the black middle class in Cleveland, Clifford and her husband socialized with other important black figures such as Charles W. Chesnutt and George A. Meyers. Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois made frequent appearances in Cleveland joining the Cliffords ...

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Roxanne Y. Schwab

writer and educator, was born in Dresden, Ontario, Canada, the fourth child of William and Nancy Newman. Little is known of her family, and the exact dates of her birth and death are unknown, but she was most likely born sometime in the mid-nineteenth century. As a young woman, she accompanied her father to the West Indies for missionary work, then returned to the United States when he became pastor of a church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Following her father's death, she moved to Appleton, Wisconsin, where she looked after her invalid mother for thirteen months. Upon her mother's death, Lucretia Newman became the head of the household for her siblings. After her early education she completed a course of scientific study at Lawrence University in Appleton before finding work as a high school music teacher and as a clerk in a dry goods store.

In 1883 Coleman was ...

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David Dabydeen

Englishpoet who wrote and lectured against slavery. Coleridge's first major poem was a Greek ode against the slave trade, which won him the Browne Gold Medal at Cambridge University. He was to write, ‘my Greek ode is, I think, my chef d’œuvre in poetical composition'. Coleridge was inspired by the anti‐slavery writings of Thomas Clarkson, and in the 1790s, along with his friend and fellow poet Robert Southey, began campaigning against the slave trade. During this period Coleridge actively lectured around England, particularly in the West Country and in Bristol, where he received his first audience. When Coleridge and Southey lived at Upper College Street, Bristol, in 1795 they were surrounded by neighbours who had either had significant seafaring careers or had been captains of slave ships One of them for instance was the captain of a ship that was bound for the Jamaican sugar ...

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W. Farrell O'Gorman

author, teacher, and civic leader, was born in Bardstown, Kentucky, the son of Michael (also spelled Micheil) Cotter, a boardinghouse owner who was known as an avid reader, and Martha Vaughn. Cotter was raised largely by his mother, a freeborn woman of mixed English, Cherokee, and African heritage. It was from her naturally dramatic manner—she orally composed poems and plays as she worked at chores—that he acquired his love of language and stories. Having taught herself, she also taught her son to read and enrolled him in school. When he was eight, however, economic necessity forced him to drop out of school to begin work at various jobs, first in a brickyard, then in a distillery, and finally as a ragpicker and a teamster. Until age twenty-two, manual labor consumed much of Cotter's life.

The friendship of the prominent black Louisville educator William T. Peyton who sensed Cotter ...

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Alessandra Vianello

Islamic mystic and scholar, and the most outstanding poetess in Chimini, the Bantu vernacular of Brava, was born in Brava, a coastal city of southern Somalia, in the second decade of the nineteenth century. Her full name was Mana Sitti Habib Jamaladdin, but she was affectionately called Dada Masiti (Grandmother Masiti) by her fellow citizens. Her family, both on the paternal and maternal side, belonged to the Mahadali Ashraf. However, through her mother’s maternal grandfather, Dada Masiti was also related to the Ali Naziri Ashraf, who were locally more numerous and influential. Both groups, who traced their lineage to the Prophet Muhammad, had settled in Brava in the early seventeenth century.

The events that marked Dada Masiti s early years and had a crucial bearing on her subsequent spiritual development are known only through different oral traditions The most widespread version would have her kidnapped as a child of six ...