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Davis, John  

Glenn Allen Knoblock

sailor during the War of 1812, was a crewman on the privateer Governor Tompkins, a fourteen-gun schooner owned by principals from Baltimore, Maryland. Nothing is known of his early life or place of origin. The schooner departed New York in July 1812 under Captain Nathaniel Shaler. Among his crew were two black men, Davis and John Johnson ( ?–1812). While little information is known about either man, it is likely that they were free men and skilled sailors. Given the fact that the Governor Tompkins sailed from New York, it may be reasonably inferred that Davis and many of the crew, if not from that city, had previously been employed there.

Once out into the Atlantic, Captain Shaler and his crew cruised in search of British merchantmen to capture This was the purpose of a privateer to hit the enemy where it hurt by capturing ...


Menéndez, Francisco  

Jane G. Landers

Spanish militia captain, corsair, and founder of the first free black town in what became the United States, was born in “Guinea” (a name used by Europeans and Americans for the slave-trading coast of West Africa) to unknown parents. Menéndez's birth date and birth name are also unknown, but when he was baptized a Catholic he took the name of his Spanish godfather, the royal accountant in St. Augustine, and Menéndez's former owner.

Enslaved as a young man, Menéndez was transported to South Carolina by British traders to work alongside large numbers of Africans already herding cattle, cutting timber, and producing naval stores, indigo, and, later, rice. Soon Carolina was said to be “more like a Negro country” (Wood, 132), and planters began to fear retaliation from the slaves who now outnumbered them. Slave revolts rocked Carolina periodically in the first decades of the eighteenth century.

Then ...


Quamino, John  

Edward E. Andrews

also referred to as “Quaum” or John Quamine, slave, African missionary in-training, possibly the first African to attend college in the American colonies, and Revolutionary privateer, was born near Annamoboe, on the Gold Coast of Africa. He came from a wealthy family, and in the mid- to late 1750s he was sent by his father to receive a Western education. However, the captain who agreed to take him reneged on this agreement and sold him into slavery.

By the mid-1760s Quamino had become a slave to Captain Benjamin Church of Newport, Rhode Island. The historical record does not detail exactly what Quamino did under Church's ownership, but he converted to Christianity after his arrival in Newport. Quamino attended the First Congregational Church, which was taken over by Jonathan Edwards's avid protégé, Samuel Hopkins, in 1769. In that same year Quamino married Duchess Quamino then a ...


Savary, Charles Joseph  

Caryn Cossé Bell

military officer, was born into an influential family of free persons of African descent in the city of Saint-Marc in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (later Haiti). He married the Saint-Marc native Marie Charlotte Lajoie, and the couple had at least two sons, Belton and Bertile Savary. The family fled their native land during the Haitian Revolution and eventually emigrated to New Orleans in a massive Saint-Domingue refugee movement in 1809 and 1810 that nearly doubled the size of the city.

Charles Joseph Savary s life spanned the American French and Haitian revolutions and because of the tumultuous age in which he lived the facts related to his history are scarce fragmentary and sometimes contradictory Part of the problem also stems from circumstances that forced Savary to conceal his identity In Saint Domingue s repressive three caste society and in slave regimes throughout the Americas free men ...