The Midnight DJ Discusses Blacks In United States history, 1783-1860
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Page Updated Tuesday, July 12, 2005
 
 
1783-1860

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.)


Benjamin Banneker, 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 . . . ."

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The Seminoles

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 land.

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 apology 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.


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David Walker 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 Walker’s 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 first black Freedom’s 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 Liberia.

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."

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Denmark Vesey (1767-1822) was 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.

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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 balcony.

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 (1759-1817) 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 was a native 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.

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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 newspaper, The Liberator, , 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 by Nat 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 Garrison’s 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.

Nat Turner (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 blacks.

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.

Frederick Douglass 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 Civil War.

Sojourner Truth added her voice to those that opposed enslavement. She spoke out against slavery as loudly as she lobbied for women's rights. 

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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 his freedom.

Baptise DuSable DuSable.gif (37004 bytes) 1745-1818 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 Beckwourth 1798-1867

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.

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The YELLOW ROSE of TEXAS

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"

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The Richest Woman in Colorado

Clara Brown 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 townspeople. 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 action.

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 Clara Brown;  

the Richest Woman In Colorado.

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The GOLDEN GATE

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 to stay.

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.

CONTINUE WESTWARD

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The Midnight D.J. presents 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 commentaries, and then visit the various Internet models official websites to view the free eye-candy they provide.