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John Gilmore

Writer, art collector, and owner of plantations in Jamaica. He was the son of William Beckford, on whose death in 1770 he inherited an enormous fortune. This came under his control when he attained his majority in 1781 and for many years enabled him to travel extensively in Europe, to fund his enthusiasm for building Fonthill Abbey in Wiltshire as a Gothic extravaganza to house himself and the books, pictures, and works of art that he collected on a prodigious scale. In the 1790s his income was estimated at well over £100,000 a year, and in 1809 the poet Lord Byron hailed him as ‘England's wealthiest son’. From the 1820s the income from his Jamaican estates declined significantly, and he was forced to sell Fonthill and major parts of his collections. Beckford is remembered as the author of the novel Vathek an Orientalist fantasy published in ...

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The U.S. Supreme Court's 1856 determination in the case of Dred Scott v. Sandford sounded like a thunderclap throughout the entire country Radical Republicans in Congress and abolitionists throughout the North and South had long come to suspect pro slavery forces of conspiring to fashion a federal government that would upset the carefully maintained balance between slave and free states and allow the unfettered spread of the peculiar institution into every state and territory With the Court s decision Republicans felt they had all the proof they needed Not only had Chief Justice Roger Taney opined that Scott a slave who argued that time spent in the free states of Missouri and Illinois had emancipated him must legally remain a slave he went further to argue that black people were incapable of being citizens Taney s further ruminations on black people as an inferior class of beings who had ...

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Liliana Obregón

Bartolomé de Las Casas is a controversial figure, whose prolific and complex writings continue to raise questions after five centuries of study and debate. Though known as the most unrelenting advocate of Native American interests before the Spanish Crown, he endorsed the colonial system and played a role in the Transatlantic Slave Trade Throughout his life he denounced the violence and abuse that were inherent in Spanish policies towards Native Americans while he proposed more benevolent forms of colonization As a strategic reformist and in the hope of saving indigenous lives he initially advocated that imported African slaves be used in place of Native American forced laborers However towards the end of his life Las Casas regretted his promotion of black slavery and was deeply troubled by having condoned any form of human bondage Ironically through his repentance he became the first colonist of the sixteenth century to denounce ...

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At the time of the 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry—led by abolitionist John Brown—Alexander R. Boteler was serving as a member of Congress, representing Virginia. In his recollections published in 1883, Boteler claims to have been close enough to the action to have heard bullets whizzing overhead, along with some of the exchanges between Brown and the soldiers who surrounded him, among whom was Colonel Robert E. Lee. Following the battle, the author briefly speaks with a wounded Brown, who expresses regret at the fact that his attack did not inspire a larger uprising.

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Allan D. Austin

Islamic slave and autobiographer, was African born and also known as Omar, Uncle Moro, and Moreau. The son of moderately wealthy parents in Futa Toro (northeastern Senegal), whom he honored in several of his American writings, he may have been related, at some remove, to some of the other Fulbe or Fulani caught up in the Atlantic slave trade, such as Job Ben Solomon, Ibrahima Abd al-Rahman, Bilali, Salih Bilali, and Charno (a literate Fula enslaved in South Carolina). All were steadfast adherents to Islam. According to Said's own statements, he was educated for some twenty years by Fulani instructors, became a teacher himself, and while in Futa Toro closely followed the tenets of his religion. He never mentioned having a wife or children.

Said did write that an unidentified African army he belonged to was defeated by an infidel non Muslim enemy ...