1-10 of 10 Results  for:

  • Before 1400: The Ancient and Medieval Worlds x
  • Government and Politics x
  • Language and Literature x
  • Writing and Publishing x
Clear all

Article

Dioscorus of Aphrodito  

Giovanni R. Ruffini

Egyptian lawyer and poet, was the son of Apollos, son of Psimanobet. Flavius Dioscorus is the best-documented figure from Byzantine Aphrodito (modern Egypt’s Kom Ishqaw) and consequently one of the best-documented representatives of village life in Egypt in the entire Greco-Roman period. The Aphrodito papyri—largely the business and personal papers of Dioskoros and his extended family—comprise an archive of hundreds of texts detailing the economic and social connections between thousands of Aphrodito villagers in the sixth century CE. Dioscorus, an Aphrodito village headman and in turn the son of another village headman, was one of the leading figures in the politics of his village in that period, and was involved in the political and economic affairs of the landowning and officeholding Roman imperial elite at the higher provincial level.

The bulk of the evidence for Dioscorus concerns either his private economic transactions or his career in village politics In the ...

Article

Easton, Hosea  

Donald Yacovone

minister, author, and abolitionist, was born in North Bridgewater (later Brockton), Massachusetts, to James, a successful businessman, and Sarah Dunbar Easton. Easton'sTreatise on the Intellectual Character, and Civil and Political Condition of the Colored People of the U. States (1837) was the nation's first systematic study of racism and stands with David Walker's Appeal (1829) as among the most important writings by African Americans during the early nineteenth century. The seven children of the Easton family blended African, American Indian, and white ancestry. Thus, the concept of “race,” as whites began to redefine it in the early nineteenth century, possessed little meaning to the Eastons. Indeed, one of Hosea Easton's brothers married into North Bridgewater's most distinguished white family.

James Easton had been a much respected businessman in the greater Boston area and a Revolutionary War veteran and viewed ...

Article

Mountain, Joseph  

Paul Walker

outlaw, was born the slave of Samuel Mifflin of Philadelphia, father of the governor of Pennsylvania. He traveled to England when he was seventeen and devoted his life to crime, traveling in Britain and Europe, robbing individuals and coaches at gunpoint. On his return to America in 1790 he was executed for rape at New Haven.

Mountain's biography contains some of the usual elements of slave narratives, but the majority of his story consists of descriptions of the people he robbed, the places the robberies took place, and the value of the loot. The narrative was recorded in 1790 by David Daggett the justice before whom Mountain was tried The frontispiece states that Daggett Has Directed That The Money Arising from the Sales Thereof Be Given to the Girl Whose Life Is rendered Wretched by the Malefactor This raises question of whether Mountain was coerced into making a ...

Article

Newby, William H.  

Eric Gardner

writer and activist, was born in Virginia to parents whose names remain unknown. Newby's enslaved father died in his youth. His free mother moved the family to Philadelphia in the early 1830s. She may have been the laundress Maria Newby listed in the 1850 Federal Census of Philadelphia, though the surname is not uncommon (p. 362). A 20 June 1863Pacific Appeal article on Newby by journalist Philip Alexander Bell referred to him as largely “self-educated” but did note his attendance at the city's segregated public schools. Working first as a barber and then as a daguerreotypist, Newby seems to have stood at least at the fringes of the city's Black society; Bell remembered him as a member of the Philadelphia Library Company of Colored Persons and a “skillful debater.”

Probably in response to the limitations imposed by Northern racism and the hope of the Gold Rush Newby made ...

Article

Pomp  

Timothy J. McMillan

enslaved man and farmer, was probably born in West Africa. He worked as a farmhand and slave in Massachusetts. A transcript of Pomp's dying confession, which survives as a one-page broadside, is the only source of information about his life, but one that provides rare insight into the life of an African American in New England in the days of the early republic.

How exactly Pomp came to America, and specifically Boston, is unclear, but he arrived as a baby along with both his parents. His father died soon after his arrival in Boston and Pomp was put into the service of a Mr. Abbot of Andover whether in slavery or indenture is not known Pomp remained with Mr Abbot until the age of sixteen at which time he was passed on to his master s son also referred to as Mr Abbot It was at this point ...

Article

Russwurm, John Brown  

Penelope Campbell

journalist and first nonwhite governor of Maryland in Liberia Colony, West Africa, was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, the son of John Russwurm, a white American merchant, and an unidentified Jamaican black woman. As a boy known only as John Brown, Russwurm was sent to Canada for an education by his father. After his father's settlement in Maine and marriage in 1813 to a white New England widow with children, he entered the new family at his stepmother's insistence. John Brown thereupon assumed his father's surname and remained with his stepmother even after the senior Russwurm's death in 1815 His schooling continued at home and later at preparatory institutes such as the North Yarmouth Academy in Maine He made a short unhappy visit to Jamaica and returned to Portland Maine to begin collegiate study Thrown on his own after just one year because of his sponsor ...

Article

Suʾda  

Allen J. Fromherz

semi-historical Berber princess, was a main character in the Sira al Hilaliyya, the epic saga of the great Arab migration into North Africa in the eleventh century. Coming from the drought-stricken Arabian Peninsula and known for their warrior prowess on camelback, these Hilali Arabs were sent to Tunisia as a punishment for the Berbers breaking away from the Fatimid Caliphate in Cairo. One of the great classics of the Sira al Hilaliyya is a poignant portrait of the clash of two cultures, Berber and Arab, even as it insists on moments of reconciliation and the possibilities of peace through the theme of love transcending duty to one’s family, tribe, and people. At times Berber characters, especially women such as Suʾda were portrayed as even more noble than the Arab heroes themselves. Most closely analogous to the Dido character in the Roman epic The Aeneid Suʾda was the ...

Article

Terry, Lucy  

Anthony Gerzina

first known African American poet, was born in Africa. The facts of her early years are not known with certainty. But, as best as can be determined, she was brought to New England about 1729 through the port of Boston by Barbados-based slave merchants. As the property of Samuel Terry, a Harvard-educated aspiring minister, she lived initially in Mendon, Massachusetts, west of Boston and perhaps in Union in northeast Connecticut. She was sold to Ebenezer Wells, a Deerfield, Massachusetts, merchant and tavern holder, sometime before 15 June 1735 which is the date of her baptism Her baptism record notes her as servant to Ebenezer Wells as slaves were often euphemistically described in New England Many Deerfield slave owners had their slaves baptized during the Great Awakening and Terry s baptism proved the beginning of her lifelong religiosity She was admitted to the fellowship of the Church ...

Article

Van Rensselaer, Thomas  

Roy E. Finkenbine

abolitionist, civil rights activist, and journalist, was born a slave and spent the early years of his life in bondage in the Mohawk Valley near Albany, New York. His master was probably a member of Albany's wealthy Van Rensselaer family. He ran away from slavery in 1819 and, although his master circulated handbills and sent slave catchers as far as Canada to recover him, he eluded recapture. Eight years later he became legally free when slavery was finally abolished in New York State. In 1837 he visited and reconciled with his master, prompting the antislavery press to label him “a modern Onesimus,” a biblical reference to Philemon 10:16.

While residing in Princeton New Jersey in the early 1830s Van Rensselaer became attracted to the emerging antislavery movement He settled in New York City by mid decade married joined an independent black church and established a restaurant that ...

Article

Webb, Frank J.  

Eric Gardner

writer and educator, was born Frank Johnson Webb in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He may have been the son of Frank Webb, a china packer and community activist; his mother's name is not known. Little is known of Webb's life prior to his marriage to Mary Webb, whose maiden name is unknown, in 1845. Webb apparently lived on the fringes of Philadelphia's black elite, and he seems to have been related to the Forten family by marriage.

Webb and his wife worked in clothing-related trades, and he participated in the Banneker Institute, an African American literary and debating society. When their business failed around 1854, the Webbs attempted to move to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Webb was denied passage because of his race, and this event was reported in several abolitionist newspapers.

In the meantime Mary Webb began giving dramatic readings. Harriet Beecher Stowe noticed her and wrote ...