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Author & Scholar to Speak on Midwest Renaissance & Origins of Black Chicago & Detroit; DPTV and The Wright Museum Team Up to Help Educators Teach Black History

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During the period known as the Great Migration, over 5 million African Americans moved north and west across the United States in search of a better life. Author, scholar, and professor of African American Studies and History at Northwestern University Dr. Darlene Clark Hine will discuss African American geographic movement and its impact on American history in a free lecture Thursday, October 24, 2013, at 6 pm. Preceding the lecture will be a special professional development opportunity for educators centered on the new PBS mini-series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. Both programs take place at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Detroit.
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Dr. Darlene Clark Hine’s historical research has been expansive and groundbreaking, and she has written a variety of scholarly works and textbooks, many of which are used in high school and college settings. Dr. Hine’s recent work on the impact of the Great Migration to Midwestern cities like Chicago and Detroit sheds light on the ways in which African Americans created and re-created a sense of cultural community and renaissance in the midst of oppressive conditions. After the lecture, Dr. Hine will sign copies of The Black Chicago Renaissance (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012), co-edited by Darlene Clark Hine and John M. McCluskey. This free event is co-sponsored by the Detroit organizing branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).
 
Detroit Public Television, in partnership with The Wright Museum and The Michigan Historical Museum, will host a professional development opportunity from 1 pm until 5 pm on Thursday, October 24, 2013, in which educators will have an opportunity to tour The Wright Museum, hear from an expert on Michigan’s African American history, learn about local history resources, and be given a demonstration of the educational resources and lesson plans offered with The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. This six-part mini-series is hosted by scholar-activist Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and examines the 400-year history of African Americans, from the origins of slavery in Africa to President Obama’s election. It premieres on DPTV on October 22, 2013, at 8 PM EST. Staff members from LAB@Thirteen and WNET’s Educational and Community Outreach Department in New York will lead the series overview and lesson plan demonstration.
 
The professional development opportunity program is free for educators, but attendees should RSVP by contacting Heather Forgione at Detroit Public Television at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (248) 305-3707. The Great Migration lecture and book signing by Dr. Darlene Clark Hine is free and open to the public.

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About Dr. Darlene Clark Hine

Since 2004, Darlene Clark Hine has been Professor of African American Studies and Professor of History at Northwestern University. Previously, she was Professor of History at Michigan State University (1987-2004). She has taught at Purdue University (1974-1987), and at South Carolina State University (1972-1974). She is a graduate of Roosevelt University (1968, Chicago, IL) and earned her PhD at Kent State University (1975). Hine is the author of Black Victory: The Rise and Fall of the Democratic White Primary in Texas (1979, rev. 2005, University of Missouri Press); and Black Women in White: Racial Conflict and Cooperation in the Nursing Profession, 1890-1950 (Indiana University Press, 1989). She is co-editor (with Rosalyn Terborg-Penn and Elsa Barkley Brown) of Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia ( 2 vols.1994), and editor of Black Women in America (3 vols, Oxford University Press, 2005). She is co-editor with Trica Daniele Keaton and Stephen Smalls of Black Europe and the African Diaspora (2009). Hine is past-president of The Organization of American Historians, and of The Southern Historical Association. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2006). Hine has held fellowships at the National Humanities Center, The Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, and at the Radcliffe Institute.

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Today in Black History, 10/18/2013

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• October 18, 1763 John Chavis, minister and educator, was born in North Carolina. Little is known of his early life although it is believed that he worked as an indentured servant. Chavis enlisted in the army during the Revolutionary War and served in the 5th Virginia Regiment for three years. After the war, he took private classes and in 1795 enrolled at the Liberty Hall Academy (now Washington and Lee University). In 1800, he graduated with high honors and was granted a license to preach. From 1800 to 1807, he served as a circuit riding missionary ministering to enslaved and free Black people in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. In 1808, Chavis opened a school in his home in Raleigh, North Carolina where he taught White and Black children. His school was one of the best in the state and the children of some of the most prominent White families studied there. After the Nat Turner Rebellion in 1831, North Carolina passed laws that forbade Black people to teach or preach. As a result, Chavis had to close his school and give up preaching. He had to rely on charity until his death June 15, 1838. Chavis Heights Apartments and Chavis Park in Raleigh are named in his honor.

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Today in Black History, 10/17/2013

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• October 17, 1711 Jupiter Hammon, the first African American published writer in America (several years earlier Phyllis Wheatley’s poems had been published in England), was born enslaved in Long Island, New York. Unlike most enslaved people, Hammon was allowed to attend school and could read and write. His first published poem, “An Evening Thought. Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries,” was published Christmas Day, 1760. On September 24, 1786, he delivered his “Address to the Negroes of the State of New York” in which he stated “If we should ever get to Heaven, we shall find nobody to reproach us for being Black, or for being slaves”. He also said that Black people should maintain their high moral standards precisely because slaves on earth had already secured their place in heaven. Hammon remained enslaved his whole life and died around 1806. Hammon’s story is told in “America’s First Negro Poet: The Complete Works of Jupiter Hammon of Long Island” (1970) and “Jupiter Hammon and the Biblical Beginnings of African American Literature” (1993).

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Today in Black History, 10/16/2013

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• October 16, 1831 Lucy Ann Stanton, the first African American woman to complete a four-year collegiate course of study, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Stanton entered Oberlin Collegiate Institute (now Oberlin College) in 1846 and in 1849 was elected president of the school’s Ladies Literary Society. Stanton graduated in 1850 with a literary degree. At her graduation, Stanton delivered an address entitled “A Plea for the Oppressed,” an anti-slavery speech which was published in the Oberlin Evangelist. After graduating, she moved to Columbus, Ohio to become principal of a school but two years later returned to Cleveland to marry. In 1854, Stanton wrote a short story for her husband’s newspaper, making her the first Black woman to publish a fictional story. Stanton and her husband moved to Buxton, Canada in 1856 to teach previously enslaved Black people. After divorcing her husband in 1859, Stanton returned to Cleveland. In 1866, she was sponsored by the Cleveland Freedman’s Association to teach in Georgia and later Mississippi. Stanton moved to Tennessee in the 1880s where she was an officer in the Women’s Relief Corps, a grand matron of the Order of Eastern Star, and president of the local chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Stanton died February 18, 1910.

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President's Message, October 2013

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Autumn provides an opportunity for reflection amidst the unceasing changes and cycles of life. The same holds true for The Wright Museum, which can be said to have its own annual cycles of growth and renewal. Of course, this doesn't mean the museum slows down in manifesting its mission through lively exhibits and events, including the Liberation Film Series, Noel Night, or our ever-popular Kwanzaa celebrations. But given the extraordinary accomplishments of the past few months, I’d like to reflect on a concept critical to our work: Legacy.



Everyone involved in the museum, from its Board of Trustees, staff, and volunteers, to donors, members, and visitors, are a part of continuing the legacy begun by Dr. Charles Wright and his visionary partners in 1965. The 2013 Wright Gala, held September 28 at MGM Grand Detroit, was the culmination of three years of intense effort led by museum trustee Yvette Bing. Mrs. Bing, museum board chair Betty Brooks, and their committed host committee have produced a legacy event in The Wright Gala that has helped keep the museum operating.

Another example of legacy building is that of museum member Thomas K. Burke, founder of the Jackson, Michigan-based Save Our Youth Inc., who has brought groups to the museum each of the past three years. This past August, Mr. Burke, with support from the Jackson Area Civil Rights Association, brought youth from homeless shelters to tour the museum, with each child receiving a museum backpack as a souvenir of their visit. Can you imagine the impact a visit like this will have on a homeless child's life? We salute Mr. Burke and his organization for instilling a legacy of dignity and pride in children most in need.

Finally, we were pleased to hear that on May 10, 2013, Louisa Wright Griggs received her M.D. degree from the University of Illinois School of Medicine, and is proudly following in the footsteps of her grandfather, Dr. Charles H. Wright, and specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. During her last rotation in medical school, Louisa spent seven weeks in Ghana working at two medical facilities thanks to a scholarship from the National Medical Fellowship Foundation – paralleling her grandfather’s work in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Liberia with Operations Crossroads Africa and the U.S. Department of Public Health. Dr. Wright Griggs, the daughter of William and Stephanie Wright Griggs, has started her residency at Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. We wish her the very, very best in continuing the legacy of Dr. Wright’s caring and care for the community.

Legacy lives and breathes at The Wright Museum, in these stories, and those yet to be told. Speaking of which, on November 10, 2013, the museum launches The Struggle Against Slavery, a digital history website that features extensive information about the Underground Railroad, including online courses, an interactive map and timeline, interviews with historians, educational resources, and much more. Made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, this project and event will speak to the legacy of the Underground Railroad and black resistance. We hope you will join us, as well as log on to www.UGRRonline.com, November 10.



Click here to download our October 2013 Member Newsletter

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Today in Black History, 10/15/2013

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• October 15, 1837 Fannie Jackson Coppin, educator and journalist, was born enslaved in Washington, D. C. Coppin’s aunt worked for $6 per month and saved $125 to purchase Coppin’s freedom when she was 12 years old. In 1860, Coppin enrolled at Oberlin College and was the first African American student to be appointed in the college’s preparatory department. While attending Oberlin, she established an evening school for previously enslaved Black people. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1865, she began to teach at the Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheyney University) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1869, Coppin became principle of the institute, making her the first African American woman to receive that title. She served in that position until 1906. In addition to teaching, Coppin founded homes for working and poor women and wrote an influential column in the local newspaper that defended the rights of women and Black people. In 1902, Coppin and her husband went to South Africa and founded the Bethel Institute, a missionary school that emphasized self-help programs. Coppin died January 21, 1913. Her book “Reminiscences of School Life, and Hints on Teaching” was published later that year. In 1926, a teacher training school was named the Fannie Jackson Coppin Normal School in her honor. That school is now Coppin State University. Coppin’s name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.

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Today in Black History, 10/14/2013

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• October 14, 1834 Henry Blair, the second African American inventor to receive a United States patent, received patent number 8447 for his invention of the corn seed planter. His invention allowed farmers to plant their corn much faster and with much less labor. The machine also helped with weed control. Not much is known of Blair’s life except that he was born in Montgomery County, Maryland in 1807 and he could not read or write. On August 31, 1836, Blair received another patent for the invention of the cotton planter. This machine was similar to the corn seed planter in the way it was put together. Blair died in 1860.

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Today in Black History, 10/13/2013

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• October 13, 1825 John Sweat Rock, teacher, doctor, dentist, lawyer and abolitionist, was born in Salem, New Jersey. Rock taught school in New Jersey from 1844 to 1848 and while teaching, studied medicine. In 1850, he opened a dental practice and in 1852 graduated from American Medical College. In 1851, he received a silver medal for the creation of an improved variety of artificial teeth. Rock was a passionate abolitionist and civil rights leader and was known as one of the most brilliant speakers in the anti-slavery movement. In 1860, Rock gave up his dental and medical practices and began to study law. He gained admittance to the Massachusetts Bar in 1861 and in 1865 became the first Black person admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1863, Rock helped assemble the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, the first officilally recognized African American unit in the Union Army during the Civil War. Rock died December 3, 1866.

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Today in Black History, 10/12/2013

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• October 12, 1882 John Preston “Pete” Hill, hall of fame Negro league baseball player and manager, was born in Culpeper, Virginia. Hill played in the Negro leagues from 1899 to 1925 and was considered the most important member of three of the most talented teams to ever play. He was also considered the most consistent hitter of his time, retiring with a career batting average of .326. From 1919 to 1921, Hill was player/manager of the Detroit Stars. His final position in professional baseball was as field manager for the Baltimore Black Sox. In 1930, Hill moved to Buffalo, New York to work as a railroad porter. He died December 19, 1951. Hill was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

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Today in Black History, 10/11/2013

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• October 11, 1887 Alexander Miles received patent number 371,207 for his invention of the automatic elevator door mechanism. Miles was born in Ohio in January, 1837. Prior to his invention, the opening and closing of the doors of both the shaft and elevator had to be done manually. Sometimes people would neglect to close the door and people would fall down the elevator shaft. This potential danger led to Miles’ invention which is still used around the world today. By 1900, Miles had moved to Chicago, Illinois where he started an insurance agency for Black people. By this time, Miles was considered “the wealthiest colored man in the Northwest”. Miles died sometime after 1905 and in 2007 was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

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Today in Black History, 10/10/2013

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• October 10, 1800 Gabriel (also known as Gabriel Prosser) was executed for planning a large slave rebellion in the Richmond, Virginia area in the summer of 1800. Gabriel was born enslaved around 1776 in Henrico County, Virginia. He was taught to read and write and worked as a blacksmith. Prior to executing the planned revolt, Gabriel was betrayed and eventually captured, put on trial, and hung with his two brothers and 23 other enslaved men. In reaction to the planned rebellion, Virginia and other states passed restrictions on free Black people and prohibited the education, assembly, and hiring out of enslaved people in order to restrict their chances to learn and plan similar rebellions. In 2002, the City of Richmond passed a resolution in honor of Gabriel and in 2007 the Governor of Virginia gave Gabriel and his followers an informal pardon in recognition that their cause “the end of slavery and the furtherance of equality for people has prevailed in the light of history “. “Gabriel’s Rebellion: The Virginia Slave Conspiracies of 1800 & 1802” was published in 1993.

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Today in Black History, 10/9/2013

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• October 9, 1806 Benjamin Banneker, astronomer, surveyor and almanac author, died. Banneker was born November 9, 1731 in Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland. When he was old enough to help on his parent’s farm, his formal education ended. In 1753, he carved a wooden clock that struck hourly, using a pocket watch as a model, and continued to work until his death. He began to study astronomy using borrowed books and equipment in 1788. In 1791, Banneker was hired to assist in the survey of what is now the District of Columbia, however due to illness he only worked on the project for three months. Banneker made astronomical calculations that predicted solar and lunar eclipses that he included in a six year series of almanacs from 1792 to 1797. The almanacs included the times for the rising and setting of the sun and moon and were commercially successful. Banneker expressed his views on slavery and racial equality, including a plea for justice for African Americans, in a 1791 letter to the United States Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. The complete correspondence between the two can be found by doing a search on “Benjamin Banneker letter to Thomas Jefferson”. His biography, “The Life of Benjamin Banneker: The First African-American Man of Science”, was published in 1972. In 1977, a commemorative obelisk was erected near his grave site by the Maryland Bicentennial Commission and the State Commission on Afro-American History and Culture. In 1980, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor and in 1998 the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum located on the site of his former farm was dedicated. Banneker’s name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.

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Today in Black History, 10/8/2013

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• October 8, 1837 Powhatan Beaty, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, was born enslaved in Richmond, Virginia. Beaty gained his freedom around 1861 and in 1863 enlisted in the Union Army’s 5th United States Colored Infantry Regiment. By 1864, he had risen to the rank of first sergeant. On September 29, 1864 at the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm, his regiment unsuccessfully attempted to attack the Confederate defenses at New Market Heights. During the regiment’s retreat, their color bearer was killed. Beaty returned under enemy fire to retrieve the flag. Only 16 of the original 91 members of the regiment, including Beaty, survived the attack unwounded. With no officers remaining, Beaty took command of the company and led a second attack against the Confederate lines. That attack was successful and drove the Confederates from their fortified positions. For his actions, Beaty was awarded the medal, America’ highest military decoration, April 6, 1865. By the time he retired from the army, Beaty had participated in 13 battles and numerous skirmishes. After retiring, he returned to Cincinnati, Ohio and successfully pursued a career in acting and public speaking until his death December 6, 1916. In 2003, an Ohio Historical Marker was unveiled in his honor at his burial site in the Union Baptist Cemetery in Cincinnati.

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Today in Black History, 10/7/2013

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• October 7, 1821 William Still, abolitionist, Underground Railroad conductor, writer and historian, was born in Burlington County, New Jersey. In 1844, Still moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he began working as a clerk for the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. When Philadelphia abolitionists organized a committee to aid runaways, Still became its chairman. By the 1850s, Still was a leader in Philadelphia’s African American community. Often called “the father of the Underground Railroad”, Still helped as many as 60 enslaved people a month escape to freedom and in 1872 published “The Underground Railroad Records” which chronicled the stories and methods of 649 people who escaped to freedom. He also helped to establish an orphanage for Black youth and the first YMCA for African Americans. Still died July 14, 1902.

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Today in Black History, 10/6/2013

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• October 6, 1824 Thomas Mundy Peterson, the first African American to cast a vote after the passage of the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution, was born in Metuchen, New Jersey. By March 31, 1870, he was serving as a school custodian and general handyman in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. On that date, Peterson cast his vote in a local election to revise the town’s charter. After that was approved, he was appointed to the committee to revise the charter. Peterson later became the town’s first African American to hold elected office and also the first to serve on a jury. Peterson died February 4, 1904. Decades later, the school where he worked was renamed in his honor. In New Jersey, March 31 is annually celebrated as Thomas Mundy Peterson Day in recognition of his historic vote.

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Today in Black History, 10/5/2013

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• October 5, 1878 George Boyer Vashon, the first African American graduate of Oberlin College, died. Vashon was born July 25, 1824 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At an early age, Vashon displayed an aptitude for languages, speaking Sanskrit, Hebrew, and Persian and being well versed in Greek and Latin. In 1844, Vashon earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin and was valedictorian of his class. In his speech titled “Liberty of Mind” he stated, “genius, talent and learning are not withheld by our common Father from people of color”. In 1846, Vashon applied for admission to the Allegheny County bar but his application was rejected because of his race. He therefore moved to New York State and successfully completed their bar examination in 1848, the first Black lawyer in New York. In 1849, Vashon moved to Port-au-Prince, Haiti where he served as professor of Latin, Greek, and English. In 1851, he returned to the United States and joined the faculty of the predominantly White New York Central College. While there, he wrote “Vincent Oge” (1854), an epic poem on the Haitian insurrection. In 1863, Vahon became the second Black president of Avery College. He later became a professor of mathematics and ancient and modern languages at Alcorn College where he served until his death.

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Today in Black History, 10/4/2013

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• October 4, 1864 The New Orleans Tribune, the first Black daily newspaper in the United States, was founded by Dr. Louis C. Roudanez. Born in St. James Parish and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Roudanez studied medicine in Paris where he received his first degree and then studied at Dartmouth College where he received his second medical degree. He used the newspaper and his medical practice to bridge the gap between African Americans and the majority population. The Tribune was dedicated to social justice and civil rights for all Louisiana citizens and was published in French and English. The newspaper closed in 1868 and was re-established in 1985. It continues to be dedicated to social justice and civil rights for all Louisiana citizens. “My Passage at the New Orleans Tribune: A Memoir of the Civil War Era” was published in 1984.

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Today in Black History, 10/3/2013

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• October 3, 1829 James Theodore Holly, missionary and the first African American Bishop in the Episcopal Church, was born in Washington, D. C. Holly joined the Protestant Episcopal Church and became a deacon in 1855 and a priest in 1856. He believed that African Americans had no future in the United States and the only answer was emigration. He was a delegate to the National Emigration Convention held in Cleveland, Ohio August 24 through August 26, 1854 and the next year represented the National Emigration Board as commissioner. Holly promoted emigration to Haiti and delivered a series of lectures that were published in 1857 as “Vindication of the Capacity of the Negro Race for Self Governance and Civilized Progress”. In 1861, Holly led 110 African Americans to Haiti and the next year became a Haitian citizen. In 1874, he was consecrated Missionary Bishop of Haiti and in 1878 was recognized as Bishop of the Orthodox Apostolic Church of Haiti. Holly died March 13, 1911.

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Today in Black History, 10/2/2013

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• October 2, 1800 Nathaniel “Nat” Turner, rebellion leader, was born enslaved in Southampton County, Virginia. Turner learned to read and write at a young age and was deeply religious. By early 1828, he was convinced that he “was ordained for some great purpose in the hands of the Almighty” and that God had given him the task of “slaying my enemies with their own weapons”. On August 13, 1831, there was a solar eclipse and Turner took that as his signal. On August 21, he began the rebellion with a few trusted fellow enslaved men. The rebels traveled from house to house, freeing enslaved people and killing their White owners. The rebels grew to a group of more than 50 enslaved and free Black men and they eventually killed 55 White men, women, and children. Turner’s rebellion was suppressed within two days and he was captured October 30. On November 5, he was convicted and sentenced to death and was hung November 11, 1831. The state executed 56 other Black men suspected of being involved in the uprising and another 200 Black people, most of whom had nothing to do with the uprising, were beaten, tortured, and murdered by angry White mobs. Also the Virginia General Assembly passed new laws making it unlawful to teach enslaved or free Black or Mulatto people to read or write and restricting Black people from holding religious meetings without the presence of a licensed White minister. “The Confessions of Nat Turner,” a novel, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1968 and a film “Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property” was released in 2003. Turner’s name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.

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Today in Black History, 10/1/2013

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• October 1, 1799 John Brown Russwurm, abolitionist and newspaper editor, was born enslaved in Port Antonio, Jamaica. In 1807, Russwurm was sent by his White father to Quebec to attend school and in 1812 moved with his father to Portland, Maine. He graduated from Hebron Academy in his early twenties and taught at an African American school in Boston, Massachusetts. In September, 1826, Russwurm earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College, the first African American to graduate from Bowdoin. In 1827, Russwurm moved to New York City and along with his co-editor, Samuel Cornish, published the first edition of Freedom’s Journal, an abolitionist newspaper dedicated to opposing slavery, March 16, 1827. Freedom’s Journal was the first newspaper in the United States to be owned and operated by African Americans. In 1829, Russwurm immigrated to Liberia where he served as the colonial secretary for the American Colonization Society until 1834. He also worked as editor of the Liberia Herald and served as the superintendent of education. In 1836, he became the first Black Governor of the Maryland section of Liberia, a post he held until his death June 17, 1851. There is a statue of Russwurm at his burial site in Liberia. The Russwurm African American Center on the campus of Bowdoin was dedicated in 1970 and the John B. Russwurm House in Portland was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Biographies of Russwurm include “John Brown Russwurm” (1970) and “The Struggles of John Brown Russwurm: The Life of a Pan-Africanist Pioneer, 1799-1851” (2010).

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