Throughout U.S. History there has been a constant connection between
black Americans and
religion. The church, regardless of denomination, was the central point in the
development of black culture.
Allen, Richard Allen, Richard (1760-1831), American clergyman, born in
Philadelphia. The son of a slave, Allen was freed after his master was converted to
Methodism. He was ordained a minister in 1784 at the first conference of the Methodist
church in the U.S. During the next two years he was an itinerant preacher. While preaching
at Saint George's Church in Philadelphia in 1786, an incident of racial prejudice
occurred, which is believed to have started him working for the establishment of an
independent Methodist church for black members. This separate church was formed in 1799.
In 1816 the African Methodist Episcopal Church was formed, uniting congregations of blacks
in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. Allen was appointed its first bishop, a
post he held until his death.
Gabriel Prosser (1775-1800),
a slave with great ambitions planned not only a slave revolt, but to convert Virginia into
a free state for blacks. (Oh, you know they're going to hang this
brother.) Well the plan didn't work. Prosser became
known because he so thoroughly organized several thousand slaves in his effort. The plan
was to seize the city of Richmond, capture the armories, and then free as many slaves as
possible to join there ranks. Then they would make a stand for the land. On the night of
August 30, 1800, Prosser and about 1,000 other slaves met outside Richmond. A powerful
storm flooded bridges and roads into the city, and Prosser postponed the attack. That same
night two of his comrades betrayed him to their master. The master, in turn, informed
Governor James Monroe, who called out the militia. Prosser and about 34 others were soon
captured and hanged. (Told ya.)
born free in Maryland in
1731, was remarkable because of his mechanical and mathematical abilities. In an August
19, 1791, letter to Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State, he enclosed a manuscript
copy of his first almanac. In the letter Banneker complains that although African
Americans "have long been considered rather as brutish than human, and scarcely
capable of mental endowments, . . . one universal Father hath given being to us all; and
that he hath not only made us all of one flesh, but that he hath also, without partiality,
afforded us all the same sensations and endowed us all with the same faculties." In
the letter Banneker also quotes from the first lines of the Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .
Prior to U.S. purchase Florida belonged to
Spain. It was "free territory" for slaves in Georgia and South Carolina. A slave
in Maryland might run north for freedom while a runaway from Georgia might be better
served by running south.
As far back as 1739 there is evidence of
runaways seeking sanctuary with the Seminole natives, and, for a period of time,
Seminoles, themselves, owned black slaves.
History has also recorded that blacks participated in the First Seminole War
(1817-1818), the Second Seminole War (1835-1842) and the Third Seminole War (1855-1858),
fighting with Seminoles against the United States Army.
The "Trail of Tears" began in 1830. It was the forced removal of many
Native Americans (Black Seminoles among them) from the Southeast portion of the U.S. to
Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) by the Federal Government. The Indian Removal Act was
passed by congress and authorized by President Jackson and thus became the law of the
After a heartless roundup of Seminole families, the deadly journey began. The food
was inadequate food and blankets scarce. As with the Cherokees, many died of starvation
and disease. Others were ambushed and killed by bandits who preyed on them. One of the
reasons they called it "The Trail of Tears", is because usually survivors were
not permitted to stop and bury their dead.
The Army was unable to remove all the Maroons and Seminoles from Florida, and many
of them hid out in the Everglades. One warrior chief, a Black Seminole named Billy Bowlegs
("Alligator Chief") lead the tribe in the Second and Third Seminole wars.
Bowlegs and his warriors fought for several years using tactics that took advantage of the
terrain, and climate. The Second Seminole War ended up costing the U.S. Government 1,500
soldiers and 30 million dollars with no clear victory.
Carl Waldman, the author of "Who Was Who In Native American History,"
wrote this passage about The Third Seminole War; "It started when a party of army
engineers and surveyors, working in the Great Cypress Swamp, stole crops and destroyed
banana trees belonging to Bowlegs' band, then, when confronted, did not offer any
or compensation. Bowlegs led his warriors in a series of raids on settlers, trappers, and
traders... Bowlegs and some of his members, eventually agreed to emigrate West." In
1858, he took 33 warriors and 80 women and children to the Indian Territory. He fought for
the North in the Civil War and died in 1864.
After traveling through the American South and observing the
condition of slaves, African American abolitionist David Walker wrote and published his
radical antislavery pamphlet David Walkers Appeal in 1829. Walker denounced slavery
and urged slaves to fight for their freedom. The pamphlet so alarmed officials in several
Southern states that they prohibited the distribution of abolitionist literature. In the
following excerpt, Walker detailed the cruelties that African American slaves suffered at
the hands of their white masters, saying that slavery had made African Americans into
"the most wretched, degraded and abject set of beings that ever lived." For
those that read Walker's writings you might find his words quite appropriate for life in
modern day America as they were when written.
Walker's death remains draped in mystery,
but it is believed by many historians that he was murdered for his political beliefs.
Although African Americans also worked with white allies in
integrated antislavery organizations, they were determined to let their own voices be
heard. They published political and historical pamphlets such as David Walker's
militant Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World (1829). In 1827 John Russwurm and Samuel Cornish founded the
Journal, in New York. Ten years later
Cornish became editor of the New York newspaper, Colored American.
In 1816 the American Colonization Society was formed to resettle
free blacks and freed slaves in Africa.White slaveholders were among its leaders,
and most African Americans were suspicious, rejecting their overtures. Still, by 1827, the
Society had taken over 1400 volunteers, mostly free blacks from the upper South, to
African American Masonic leader Prince Hall, believed to have been
born in Barbados in 1735, was a Revolutionary War veteran. He received a charter from
England in 1787 to establish the first African American Masonic lodge in the United
States. In this 1797 address Hall charges his brother Masons to respect and help each
other, work to end slavery, and show love to all mankind. He enjoined them to "bear
up under the daily insults you meet with in the streets of Boston," stating that
people of color were sometimes molested and beaten. He encouraged them not to fear humans
and reminded them that all men "are free and are brethren."
one of the 25,000 free blacks living in Colonial America before the revolution. Again,
during those early years pioneers gave little concern to skin color; unless it was red and
owned land. Denmark entered the history books when he planned a slave revolt in South
Carolina. The revolt never took place, but as a result of this failed effort there were a
number of laws restricting the education, movement, and
occupation of both slaves, and
free blacks. (Ah, what!?!) Yes, in 1822 the need to control
blacks was becoming commonplace.
Denmark organized about 9,000 free blacks and slaves and prepared to
attack several South Carolina cities. The plan called for a siege against arsenals and the
collection of weapons that would be used to fight off militia response. Well, a brother
told his master what Denmark was up to. Those the betraying slave knew were arrested
and they gave additional information that resulted in Denmark being captured and some of
his key people. Denark, and some thirty-five others, were hanged. Another thirty-five to
forty slaves were sold off to West Indian plantation owners, who, thanks to William Lynch,
knew how to manage slaves more
effectively than their American counterparts.
History tells us little about the life of Denmark Vesey. We know he
married a slave woman that bore him his children. The children he wanted to see free.
Rumor has it that in 1800 he purchased his freedom after hitting the lottery. (Okay, don't run off now and buy tickets. Wait until later.) We do
know that he was a carpenter working in Charleston up until he planned the revolt. We also
know that he must have possessed either magnificent courage, or loved his children so
greatly that he dared to strike a blow for freedom.
Absalom Jones (1746-1818) founded the St. Thomas African
Episcopal Church, and became its priest. He was born a slave in Sussex County, Delaware.
In 1762 his master moved to Philadelphia, and opened up a grocery store where Absalom
worked. In 1784 Absalom purchased his freedom from savings earned from delivering
groceries. He then became a lay preacher at St. George's, and established the Free African
Society along with Richard Allen, another Episcopal priest..
In 1787, Absalom and Richard Allen led black members of the church in
a walkout protesting a new church policy that required blacks to sit at the back of the
In 1794, the Free African Society split into two groups. One, led by
Absalom, formed the St. Thomas African Episcopal Church. Allen formed the Bethel African
Methodist Episcopal Church. Jones was officially ordained a priest in 1804.
Paul Cuffe, born on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts
should be recognized for recognizing what we fail to accept even today, and that is that
black people will only achieve true freedom when they establish their own nation. A
seaman, and successful merchant, Cuffe encouraged the colonizing of blacks in Sierra
Leone, Africa, after sailing there in 1810 he was convinced that this is where his
brethren should settle.
Cuffe, who was quite wealthy, financed the voyage of 38 free blacks
in Sierra Leone in 1815, but most that he approached discounted his suggestion to return
to Africa; most having never been to Africa in the first place.
Cuffe then sought to
strengthen the legal position of blacks in the United States. Twice he, and his brother
sued for equality; first as black men then as natives because their mother
American. They lost both times, and the first time they were jailed for their efforts to
gain equality. However, in 1783, Massachusetts did grant blacks the right to vote due to
Cuffe's insistent lobbying.
Born free in Massachusetts before the Revolutionary War, Paul Cuffe
(sometimes spelled Cuffee) became an entrepreneur who saw opportunities in shipping. He
thought that Africans and African Americans would be able to enjoy profits if they worked
together to establish a shipping network of their own. During an 1811-12 visit to Sierra
Leone, he formed the Friendly Society for the purpose of encouraging emigration of free
people of color from the United States. He dictated this pamphlet after that visit. Unable
to interest anyone in financing his colonization scheme, Cuffe determined to finance it
himself, but the U.S., then at war with England, imposed a boycott on trade with British
Colonies including Sierra Leone. Finally, in 1815, at a personal expenditure of $4,000,
Cuffee took nine free black families to settle in Sierra Leone.
William Lloyd Garrison
The antislavery cause gained much more visibility in 1831 when
white Boston newspaper editor William Lloyd Garrison struck his blow for freedom with his
, joined African Americans in demanding the
immediate abolition of slavery. Though he was a pacifist, in 1831 Garrison published in
his paper excerpts from Walker's Appeal,
, including its call for slave revolt. That summer a revolt
led byNat Turner, a slave, killed more than 50 whites in Virginia and increased
slaveholders' conviction that such antislavery propaganda was dangerous. Southern states
and local areas offered rewards for Walker, Garrison, and Garrisons publisher and
newspaper agents, and prohibited the paper's circulation. Later that year, Walker died
suddenly at his shop in Boston; many suspected foul play.
(1800-1831) was a black slave and
preacher that most white folks considered crazy. Well in 1831 the young preacher may have
proved his critics correct when he gathered over sixty slaves and staged one of the most
violent slave revolts we know about.
The first to go were Nat Turner's owner, Joseph Travis, and his
family. More whites died during the rebellion led by Turner than in any other in the
nation's history at that time. The Virginia militia was called out, and they hanged over a
score of slaves but Turner eluded them for weeks before his capture. In addition angry
whites murdered another one hundred innocent slaves that had nothing to do with Turner's
revolt. Now, there were even more restrictive laws passed to monitor the activities of
Okay, so why did Nat do it? We really don't know what act, or
collection of acts, brought about Nat Turner's rebellion. He was born in Southampton
County, Virginia to slave parents. It is believed that his parents, and grandparents,
encouraged him to lead through educating him, which was against most laws of the time. Nat
read the Bible a lot and with the knowledge gained read anything he could lay hands on. I
suppose an educated slave is a pain where a pill won't reach and a doctor won't dare
because Nat was owned by a collection of plantation operators.
Some might consider that Nat Turner may have been called upon by a
higher power to take a stand against wrong. He died for it, and so did so many others.
was another prominent activist in the
anti-slavery movement. It seems from his personal history that he was destined to be a
messenger for freedom. A runaway slave himself Douglass spoke loudly and frequently with
his first hand accounts of life as a slave. His speeches raised the conciseness of men and
women of conscience, and increased support for the abolitionist movement. Later in his
life he was instrumental in convincing President Lincoln to allow blacks to fight in the
added her voice to those that opposed
enslavement. She spoke out against slavery as loudly as she lobbied for
The WESTWARD MOVEMENT began years before the American Revolution, but
once the United States of America was established there was an immediate demand for more
land. In 1790 the first official population census was conducted. At that time there were
some 60,000 free blacks living in this newly formed nation, but to be black was to be a
slave in most circumstances.
The Lewis & Clark Expedition of 1803 is credited with triggering the westward
movement. What the students of public schools don't learn about is the role of the slave,
York, during that venture into what was considered the wilderness. Historians do not argue
that York accompanied Lewis & Clark, but what is disputed is the final fate of this
slave. Some believe he was given his freedom and returned to the wilderness to live with
the natives. Others contend that he remained a slave for many more years before be awarded
was Haitian born, but educated in France. A former slave he operated a trading post at
Fort Dearborn, what is now Chicago, yet there is not a single street named after him in
the city. Only a museum, that is poorly supported, and a school remain the acknowledgement
of his historical contribution.
Many black men sought the mountains to gain the freedoms denied them in the
settled areas of civilization. One such man was James Beckwourth.
James was the son of a slave woman who had slept with her Irish owner.
James was freed by his father, but freedom did not mean equality. In 1808, James got into
a fist fight with a white blacksmith. James bested the man fairly, but had to flee for
fear of being hung. He fled St. Louis, and headed westward.
For the next fifty years James roamed the western mountain ranges as a trapper,
Army scout, and trading post operator. For six years James lived with the Crow tribe;
being named, and honored, as one of their chiefs. He was given the name of Morning
Star, and eventually married a Crow woman.
During his travels James discovered a pass through the Sierra Nevada mountains
that is still being used today, and carries his name: Beckwourth Pass. As the story goes
James was poisoned by members of his Crow tribe after he announced his intentions to leave
the tribe. His adopted brethren considered him good fortune and did not want to see him
leave. By killing him they hoped to retain his spirit.
James Beckwourth is credited with establishing what is now Pueblo, Colorado where
he operated a trading post in 1842.
In 1856 Beckwourth had published his memoirs
entitled Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth, Mountaineer, Scout, and Pioneer.
The slanting of history is a
crime against knowledge that must be stamped out of the public and private
school systems. Not only would young black children have access to some
excellent role models, heroes, and the like, but the same would be for all
children regardless of race, greed, or color. As we did during days gone by we
need to sit our children down and share the stories that are our history. Take
the story of Emily Morgan, the
Yellow Rose of Texas. Emily, in 1836, was a slave living on a Texas ranch. At
that time Texas was a part of Mexico, and Texas settlers were in revolt. One early spring
morning the Mexican General Santa Anta laid eyes of Emily, and with little fanfare took
her as his own personal servant, and mistress. What Santa Anna did not know was the close
relationship between Emily's owner, and Sam Houston, the leader of the Texas rebels. The
general had taken into his lair a spy.
On the afternoon of April 21, 1836, while the general was in his tent occupying
himself with Emily, the Texans attacked, and captured the general literally with is pants
down. Although outnumbered ten to one the Texans had checkmated the king in capturing
Santa Anna, and peace was negotiated that brought about Texas independence, and a song,
"The Yellow Rose of Texas"
was born into slavery in 1803. For years she labored as did others
with no hope of freedom. She married, and gave birth to four daughters, and a son. Then
the greatest fear of a slave occurred when her family was sold and scattered to parts
unknown. Her husband, son, and daughters disappeared with new owners leaving Clara alone
in Virginia with her owner, George Brown. When Mr. Brown died the bastard freed Clara in
his will. That was in 1857, but there was a condition. Clara, at 54 years of age, had to
leave the state of Virginia. That was the law. All freed slaves had to leave. That same
year gold was discovered in Colorado.
Clara struck out for the western mountains. Not a prospector she earned her living
taking in laundry. Soon she had a thriving business servicing miners and
Frequently miners, busted and broke, came to her in need of money. Back then fifty dollars
could outfit a miner for another chance at hitting that fortune yielding strike. Being
kind hearted, and owning a cash business, Clara "bank-rolled" quite a few. Most
failed, but not all, and of those that did discover gold or silver remembered Clara and
paid her share of their new found wealth. As the years passed Clara amassed a considerable
fortune, and, by 1879, she was the richest woman in Colorado.
Since gaining her freedom Clara was constantly searching for her family, but her
efforts were in vain. In 1879, however, Clara became aware of the plight of many blacks
trying to migrate from southern states to homestead lands in Kansas. Called "The
Great Kansas Migration", thousands of black families took to the roads seeking a
better way of life. At this time the Reconstruction Era was coming to an end.
Federal troops were recalled from southern states, and local governments established.
Governments that ignored attacks upon blacks, and the taking of government awarded lands
from former slaves. The KKK was thriving and powerful. For many blacks the Kansas
Migration was similar to the exodus from Egypt, but their way was blocked not by the Red
Sea, but the Mississippi River.
Southerners were alarmed by so many blacks leaving. These blacks represented a
cheap labor force to work the vast plantation fields. The Mississippi River was
"closed" and no captain permitted to ferry migrating Negroes across. In one
incident a black man had both of his hands chopped off and then told to go to Kansas and
work. Upon hearing of these atrocities the kind heart of Clara Brown broke, and she took
Clara Brown traveled from Colorado with clothing, food, tools, and gold. She
bribed the ferry captains, provided food and clothing to those attempting to seek a better
life, and, undoubtedly, reserved her place in heaven.
Clara Brown died a poor woman living in Chicago. When she was eighty years of age
she was blessed when she made contact with one of her daughters, Eliza.
Looking for a role model? I recommend
Black economics, or the lack thereof, remains a critical problem in the U.S. Black
Americans continue to purchase as if the white man's ice is somehow colder. Considered the
fifth largest consumer group in the world black Americans insist upon doing business with
those that do not do business with them. That, however, was not always the case.
William Alexander Leidesdorff (1807-1848) was a black man with more than a funny
name. In 1841, William, originally from the Virgin Islands, landed on the shores of
California as a successful sea captain. He must have liked the climate because he decided
Mr. Leidesdorff established the City Hotel, San Francisco's first hotel. He was
instrumental in establishing the public school system ( I wonder if they included
"black history" in its curriculum?), and was later elected Treasurer of the San
Francisco City Council. William also owned land bordering Sutter's Mill where gold was
discovered, but he died in 1848 from typhus, and never realized the value of his property.
black history, United States history, and glimpses into the history of
black Americans. The Midnight D.J believes that a better understanding of
African-American history can open up a better understanding of the racism that
plagues life in the United States of America. Professionally the Midnight D.J.
works with Internet models, photo models, actors, and marketing professionals in
the development and promotion of promotional websites. The commentary presented
on this website are the opinions and the result of research conducted by The
Midnight D.J. Here is presented the black view, and black perspective of
,current events, historical events, and historical people. American
blacks, by and large, do not have a healthy enough attitude about themselves to
demand equality and nothing less. Our contemporary history reflects the absence
of economic and political strength required for equality in a democracy. Slavery
was abolished well over a hundred years ago, however many blacks remain in
chains. They accept the unacceptable; do business with those that do no business
with them; still step back when white folks are coming through, and send
representatives to various seats of government that do not work toward the good
of the black community. And The Midnight D.J. brings Free Eye-candy, Free
Pictures of Internet Models, Free Photos of photo models. Free links to all
types of websites. The Eye candy is provided by some of the hottest Internet
Models in cyberspace. Some are erotic pics, but the purpose of this website is
not to provide erotic pictures, but to provide some insight into black history
as it relates to United States history. In fact, both are the same and
intertwined. There is also vintage photography, pictures of historical figures.
The old pictures tell an old story that must come to an end. Although there are
photos of ,black erotic models, The Midnight D.J. would rather you read the
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