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John G. Turner

Latter-day Saint elder and Utah pioneer, was born in northern Maryland to Andrew Abel and Delila Williams. Abel left the area as a young man. Little is known of his early life; it is unclear whether he was born enslaved or free. One later census identified Abel as a “quadroon,” but others listed him as “Black” or “Mulatto.”

In 1832, Abel was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and soon gathered with the Mormons in Kirtland, Ohio. In 1836, he was ordained to the church's Melchizedek or higher priesthood, making him one of a very small number of African American men to “hold the priesthood” during the church's early years. An expectation for all righteous adult male members of the church, priesthood meant the possibility of leadership positions and the authority to perform ordinances. In December 1836 Abel had become a ...

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Kenneth Wayne Howell

cowboy and rancher, may have been born into slavery and escaped from bondage before the Civil War, though information about his life prior to his arrival in southwest Texas in the 1870s is limited. Based on stories he later told to his co-workers it seems likely that Adams spent his early adult life working as a cowboy in the brush country region of Texas, probably south and west of San Antonio. Given the circumstance of his birth and the times in which George came of age, he never received a formal education. As recent historical scholarship has made clear, black cowboys on the Texas plains enjoyed greater freedoms than did African Americans living in more settled regions of the state. However, their freedoms were always tainted by the persistent racism that prevailed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. George Adams's life was a vivid example of ...

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John William Templeton

The black businessmen William Alexander Leidesdorff and Andres Pico were both born in 1810 with something the abolitionist Frederick Douglass and millions of other Africans in the Western Hemisphere could not claim: their fathers' names. Leidesdorff took that birthright from the Virgin Islands to the far ends of what was to be the United States: Hawaii and California. Pico was able to rise to the highest political and military offices in Alta California because members of his family had already served as military commanders and established their own ranches along the Pacific coast.

West was the direction of freedom for thousands of African Americans who labored long and hard in the abolition movement with Douglass or who simply sought to avoid the segregation prevalent within the boundaries of the United States They found vast areas where blacks were not only welcomed but also were in command of physical political military ...

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Carlos Franco Liberato and Martha I. Pallante

[This entry contains two subentries dealing with the African diaspora, from the origins of slave trade through nineteenth-century America. The first article focuses on the evolution and criticism of the diaspora, while the second article focuses on the cultural effects of this forced transatlantic migration.]

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Caribbean peoples have historically settled primarily on the east coast of the United States, establishing strong diasporic communities. Reception and assimilation experiences have been different for each Caribbean immigrant group, depending on their ethnicity, race, and class as well as U.S. policies toward them.

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The African presence in the Caribbean was established during the first decade of the European explorations in the Americas. Nicholas Ovando, the Spanish governor, brought Negro slaves to Hispaniola in 1502, shipping them from Spain to this island where the first permanent Spanish settlement in the New World had been established. These Negro slaves who came to Hispaniola via Spain spoke Spanish and Arabic. That they were able to communicate in these two languages was more the rule than the exception, since the Moors had ruled Spain for six centuries, and Granada—the last of the Moorish strongholds—had fallen to the Spanish on January 2, 1492, a mere seven months before Columbus had set sail on his historic voyage In fact over those many centuries of enlightened Moorish rule the evolving Spanish and Portuguese cultures had constantly oscillated between Europe and Africa Therefore at the beginning of ...

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Jacob Andrew Freedman

soldier, minister, and social activist, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the youngest of the six children of Levi Allensworth and Phyllis (maiden name unknown), slaves of the Starbird family. The Starbirds were respected members of the community and were partners in Wilson, Starbird, and Smith, a wholesale drug company based in Louisville. Levi died when Allen was an infant. Phyllis's other five children either had been sold down the Mississippi River or had escaped to Canada. Phyllis hoped that Allen could “even if partly educated, win his freedom” (Alexander, 9). Believing that God would play a role in his redemption as well, Phyllis named Allen after Richard Allen, the founder and first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. In Allen Allensworth's early years he was given to Thomas Starbird, Mrs. Starbird's son, as a companion.

When Thomas was sent to school Allensworth s ...

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Alonford James Robinson

Initially called the American Society for Colonizing the Free People of Color in the United States, the American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed by a group of Presbyterian ministers. The organization's chief objective was to encourage free blacks (and later manumitted slaves) to emigrate to West Africa.

To its audience of free blacks, the organization depicted emigration as an opportunity for African Americans to introduce education and Christianity to their African brethren. In contrast, to Southern whites reading its official newsletter, the African Repository (1825–1909), the ACS portrayed black emigration as a solution to the growing prevalence of free blacks, a population that many Southern whites feared would disrupt the system of slavery. As the ACS grew, the prominence of its members and supporters also grew. Among them were Presidents Abraham Lincoln, James Madison, and James Monroe and United States Supreme Court Justice Bushrod Washington ...

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Douglas R. Egerton and Judith Mulcahy

[This entry contains two subentries dealing with the American Colonization Society from its establishment in1817 through 1895. The first article discusses reactions and controversy related to the society until1830, while the second article includes discussion of debates within the free black community and attacks on ...

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The history of United States is one of a constantly shifting frontier. The first outsiders to explore (and later settle) the land formerly occupied only by Native Americans traveled mostly on the coasts, gradually moving inland. From the thirteen original colonies, white settlers in the seventeenth century looked to the West and saw unknown territory in what is now America's Midwest. With the Louisiana Purchase and acquisition of previously Spanish land, the frontier again edged west, to the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains and beyond. Even more than its practical meaning as the edge of European settlement, the frontier has had symbolic importance in American popular culture, peopled by mythical figures such as trailblazers, cowboys, and pioneers. Often overlooked or omitted from this legend, though, are the African Americans who lived and worked on the Western frontier.

From its earliest nonindigenous history the American West was traveled by people of ...

Article

Kate Tuttle

The roots of Americo-Liberian society can be traced to modern Liberia's settlement by free American blacks. From their arrival on the coast of West Africa in 1821, the settlers and their sponsors at the American Colonization Society (ACS), a white abolitionist group, had a complex relationship with the people who were already living there. The settlers brought with them American social, political, and economic values (as expressed in the first constitution of the Commonwealth, later the Republic, of Liberia). They were also strongly influenced by the ACS's ties to the Christian missionary movement. The motives of both white abolitionists and African American colonizers were challenged by critics such as the nineteenth-century African American writer Martin Delany, who charged that the ACS, in “deporting” free blacks, was helping to sustain the practice of Slavery in the United States Furthermore these critics noted the black settlers were establishing a ...

Article

was born in Baltimore, Maryland. His father was Israel Anderson and his mother was Henrietta Anderson. Though he planned on writing a study of trigonometry later in his life, Anderson appears to have attended only primary school in Baltimore. He faced harassment and physical abuse in school because of his race. Anderson also worked at a brickyard prior to moving to Liberia.

Henrietta Anderson decided to move to Liberia, and Anderson accompanied her and another woman (perhaps his sister) aboard the ship Liberia Packet to Monrovia in early 1852. Anderson stayed in Monrovia for over ten years after his arrival. He first became an apprentice to the accountant Ashbury Johns. Anderson also served in the Liberian militia, and reached the rank of ensign. Pan-Africanist intellectual Edward Wilmot Blyden met Anderson during an 1856 expedition to put down a rebellion by Kru people in southern Liberia For the rest ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

was born in the state of Delaware in the United States in 1833. Not much is available about Anderson’s early life. He was from a free black family and was a barber in Burlington, New Jersey, prior to moving to Africa. Barbering was a prosperous occupation for African Americans before the Civil War. He belonged to the Episcopal Church. In 1853 Anderson moved to the Liberian capital of Monrovia. He soon became a planter. His uncle J. M. Richardson of New York had established an agricultural concession. When Richardson drowned, Anderson inherited the plantation.

Like other aspiring Americo-Liberian entrepreneurs in the mid-nineteenth century, Anderson moved out of Monrovia to establish his agriculture ventures up the Saint Paul River. He wrote an article in 1863 that provided an overview of his successful operation Relying on steam mills to process raw sugar cane Anderson s primary customers were in the ...

Article

Arizona  

Matthew C. Whitaker

African Americans in Arizona have a long history of community building and organizing to better their social, economic, and political status. By 1896, people of African descent had resided in what is currently the state of Arizona for at least 368 years. Beginning in 1528 with the arrival of the Moroccan Esteban de Dorantes, the first of many Spanish-speaking blacks, people of African descent have been a critical component of this diverse region. Many of the English-speaking blacks who moved to the territory by 1880 worked to integrate themselves, directly and indirectly, into the area's fledgling economic and political culture. Moreover, African American cowboys, like the legendary Nat Love, later drove cattle through Arizona. The 9th and 10th cavalries, or “buffalo soldiers,” served the U.S. government by protecting settlers and subduing Mexican revolutionaries, indigenous Americans, outlaw gunfighters, and cattle thieves. In addition, black women including Elizabeth Hudson Smith ...

Article

Asians  

Bruce Tap

The first Asians to arrive in the United States in significant numbers were Chinese laborers attracted to the country after the discovery of gold in California. By the early 1870s nearly sixty-five thousand Chinese immigrants had entered the United States and had settled principally in California. The Chinese presence in the United States was facilitated by the Burlingame Treaty, negotiated in 1868, which established a mechanism for free and unfettered immigration to the United States.

Although the Burlingame Treaty was negotiated in part to secure the steady flow of Chinese to supply laborers for the American West many Americans were suspicious of the new arrivals and more than willing to accept European immigrants The mysterious appearance clothing food and customs of Chinese immigrants made them unwelcome in the United States particularly in areas with large concentrations of Chinese workers In California for instance anti Chinese opinions and actions were ...

Article

Robert Ross

South African businessman, also known as Harry the Strandloper, was born a member of the Khoesan group known as the Goringhaikona, who lived mainly in the vicinity of Table Bay, where modern Cape Town is situated. The group was known to the Europeans as “strandlopers” (beachcombers) because they acquired the majority of their subsistence by harvesting the resources of the sea, including shellfish, sea fish, and marine mammals, including seals, for which on occasion they visited Robben Island in the bay. No doubt they also collected plants as appropriate. They had few, if any, cattle or sheep.

At the time of Autshumao s birth European ships were beginning to use Table Bay with increasing frequency in order to take on fresh water and firewood and to leave messages for each other This provided an evident opportunity for those Africans living in the neighborhood Autshumao quickly came to take advantage of ...

Article

For information on:

Earlier efforts by blacks to return to Africa: See Abolitionism in the United States; American Colonization Society; Black Nationalism in the United States; Crummell; Cuffe; Delany; Garnet; Garvey; Liberia.

Support for repatriation to Africa: See Downing; Race ...

Article

James McCarthy

Scottish explorer, naturalist, surgeon, and philologist who opened up the Niger region to European trade and influence, was born in Kirkwall, Scotland, the eldest son of a Royal Navy captain, John Baikie. He was educated for a time at Kirkwall Grammar School in Orkney, but mainly privately, in company with his cousins. He gained a medical degree from Edinburgh University, where he also developed his interest in natural history. In 1848, together with Robert Heddie, he wrote the first part of a published study of the natural history of Orkney, Historia naturalis Orcadensis. In the same year he joined the Royal Navy as an assistant surgeon, serving on no less than five different ships in the Mediterranean before being appointed in the same capacity to Haslar Hospital, Portsmouth, from 1851 to 1854. It was from here in 1854 that through the patronage of the influential Sir Roderick ...

Article

M. W. Daly

British adventurer, explorer, and administrator, was born in London to Samuel Baker, a businessman, and his wife. Educated in England and Germany, and a civil engineer by training, he played a notable role in the history of the Upper Nile in the 1860s. His varied and peripatetic life as a planter, big-game hunter, writer, and controversialist may be studied in his extensive writings and the enormous literature on European travel in Africa.

His work in Africa began in 1861–1865 with explorations in the eastern Sudan, up the White Nile, (where he met James Augustus Grant and John Hanning Speke), and beyond to the Great Lakes. Credit for discovery of the source of the Nile has gone to Grant and Speke; Baker, famously accompanied by his second wife, Florence, explored and named Lake Albert Nyanza. For these adventures, embellished in several books, Baker was much acclaimed, and in 1869 as ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

pioneer settler in Los Angeles County, California, in the 1850s, blacksmith, teamster, firewood salesman, and landowner, was born in Kentucky around 1827. Although it is commonly assumed that he had been enslaved there, he arrived in California a free man prior to the Civil War, and nothing has been established about his previous life.

He was married on 6 November 1859 to a woman named Amanda, born in Texas, by Jesse Hamilton, the earliest pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal church, Los Angeles. Their first two children, Dora and Julia, were born in 1857 and 1859. In 1860 the household included a laborer named Juan Jose, recorded by the census as being of Indian ancestry. Another man of African descent, Oscar Smith from Mississippi lived next door and no race was specified for the other neighbors who had either English or Hispanic names ...