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Civil War

The Louisiana Native Guards:  1st Black Military Unit To See Combat During The Civil War

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Louisiana Native Guards

The Louisiana Native Guards was the first all-black military unit of the Union Army to see combat action during the Civil War.  The more well known 54th Massachusetts Infantry is often credited with being the first black unit to see military action. However, the Louisiana Native Guard’s entry into combat preceded the 54th’s by a few months. Continue reading “The Louisiana Native Guards:  1st Black Military Unit To See Combat During The Civil War”

Revisionist History Reaches An All Time Low….Trump Chief Of Staff Says A ‘Lack Of Compromise’ Led To The Civil War

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In an interview with Fox News today, Trump Chief Of Staff, John Kelly says a “LACK OF ABILITY TO COMPROMISE led to the CIVIL WAR”.

COMPROMISE? Can you really come to a compromise when it comes to the enslavement, oppression, rape, murder, and economic disenfranchisement of an entire race of people perpetuated and perpetrated out of greed for hundreds of years?

Click the link to view the interview:


Osborne P. Anderson: Abolitionist & Lone African American Survivor Of John Brown’s Raid On Harper’s Ferry

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Osborne P. Anderson (1830-1872) was one of the five African American men who accompanied John Brown in his raid of Harper’s Ferry in 1859. Seventeen men in total accompanied John Brown. Anderson was a free born abolitionist from Pennsylvania. He attended Oberlin College in Ohio. After college he moved to Chatham Canada. There he worked as a printer for the Provincial Freeman Newspaper. The paper was started by Mary Ann Shadd. She was the first African American female newspaper editor in North America. The paper was an antislavery and temperance publication.

Anderson met John Brown in 1858. In 1859, Brown, determined to bring an end to slavery, launched a plan to attack the U.S. military arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). The raid was was part of a larger plot by Brown to establish an independent group fortification of freed slaves in the mountains of Virginia and Maryland that would fight to end slavery. Brown was apprehended during the raid. Brown and his men were overtaken and captured by U.S. Marines. Anderson and five other men escaped without capture. Brown was eventually convicted of treason and executed. The raid skyrocketed tensions between whites and enslaved blacks before the Civil War.

With the assistance of Mary Ann Shadd, Anderson published, A Voice From Harper’s Ferry in 1861, detailing his experience. This was the only published work regarding the raid on Harper’s Ferry authored by one someone who joined Brown in the raid.

Anderson joined the Union Army in 1864. He served as a recruitment officer in Indiana and Arkansas. He died in 1872 at the age of 42 in Washington DC from tuberculosis.


Fab New Photo Of Harriet Tubman & 10 Amazing But Little Known Facts About Her Life

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Harriet Tubman (1819?-1913) She is believed to be between 43-46 years old in this photo


A newly discovered photo of a “younger” Harriet Tubman (1819? – 1913) is getting lots of publicity in the media! The photo was discovered among other pictures belonging to a deceased friend of Tubman’s.  It is estimated that Tubman is in her early to mid 40’s in the picture.  Her photo along with 44 other photos will be auctioned on March 30 by Swann Galleries.  The photo was likely taken just after the Civil War.  Tubman was then residing in Auburn, NY on land that would later become the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.

Tubman also made the news in 2016 after it was announced that her image would be added to the $20 bill beginning in 2030 replacing, President Andrew Jackson. While many of us are familiar with Tubman’s bravery and heroism in bringing hundreds of people to freedom, via the Underground Railroad, I’d like to share some lesser known facts about her life!

  1. Tubman’s was given the name Araminta Ross at birth (nickname: Minty). She adopted the name Harriet after running away to escape slavery to aid in disguising her identity. Harriet was her mother’s name. Her last name, “Tubman” was taken when she married her first husband John Tubman who was a free man.
  2. It is estimated that Tubman walked approximately 90 when she escaped slavery. No one knows exactly how long it took her to make the trip.
  3. Tubman’s husband was not interested in following her North. He remarried a free woman of color after Tubman’s escape and had several children with her; leaving Harriet heart-broken. She would later remarry Nelson Davis in 1869.  He was 22 years younger than Tubman.  They remained married for 19 years until his death.
  4. Tubman suffered from a health condition that would cause her to fall asleep suddenly without warning. She also experienced severe headaches, and seizures. The condition (possibly temporal epilepsy) was caused due to a head injury she received while enslaved at the age of 12. She was hit in the head with a 2 pound iron weight that was thrown at another enslaved African but hit Tubman instead. After her head injury she began to see visions which she believed were from God.
  5. Tubman never had any biological children.  However, she and her second husband Nelson Davis adopted a child (a girl), Gertie in 1874.
  6. When rescuing enslaved persons, she threatened to shoot any of her “passengers” who thought to turn back.
  7. Tubman was a soldier, spy, and nurse for the Union Army during the civil war. She was known for her ability to treat dysentery successfully using native herbs.
  8. She was the first woman to lead an armed war expedition during the Combahee River Raid with 300 other African American soldiers. 3 gun boats were used in the raid to liberate 700 enslaved blacks in South Carolina. She would later be denied payment for her war time service and was only able to collect a widow’s pension from her husband’s death which was $20/month. Ironically, in 2016, Tubman was selected to replace Andrew Jackson on the new $20 bill which will be released in 2030.
  9. In the late 1890’s Tubman had brain surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital due to pain and “buzzing” in her head which made it difficult for her to sleep (likely related to her childhood injury). She refused to take anesthesia and instead chewed a bullet during the operation. This was something she had seen soldiers do during the civil war when their limbs were amputated.
  10. She established a home for the aged and indigent in Auburn, NY where she spent the last years of her life.

Harriet Tubman’s life and legacy is certainly one that deserves to be celebrated! She was truly a phenomenal woman.


106 Year Old Virginia McLaurin Visits President Obama At The White House

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106 Year old Virginia McLaurin never thought she would live to see a black president…..Let alone get a chance to meet him.  This White House video says it all.  Virginia was dancing with pride and joy. She was born less than 50 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War. She has lived through segregation, wars, and many other triumphs and tragedies!  Check out this White House video!

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The Black Codes: A Continuation of Unequal Treatment After The Civil War

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Black Codes.png


The 13th Amendment ended slavery. However, Southern whites quickly found a way to attempt to control the freedom of blacks. They did so through the Black Codes. The codes continued to perpetuate a system of unequal treatment. Continue reading “The Black Codes: A Continuation of Unequal Treatment After The Civil War”

Lily Ann Granderson: Started “Midnight School” To Educate Slaves

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Lily Ann Granderson also known as MIlla Granson, was born a slave in 1816 in Virginia. She was moved to Kentucky as a child, where she was taught to read by the children of her owner, even though it was illegal to educate slaves. She then organized a clandestine school, eventually educating hundreds of slaves. She carried on this secret project first in Kentucky and then in Mississippi for seven years, helping many slaves to write freedom passes that allowed them to escape North. The school was finally discovered by authorities in Kentucky, becoming the subject of lengthy debate in the state legislature. After much deliberation, they passed a bill making it possible for slaves to teach other slaves.

When her master died she was sold to a Mississippi slave owner and worked in the cotton fields. She soon, however, began to work in the main house where she started a “midnight school”. Laws in Mississippi prevented slaves from becoming taught how to read and write by their owners. So teaching had to be done in secret.   Punishment would have been severe if she was discovered. Granson taught hundreds of slaves how to read and write between 11pm to 2am at night.

She generally had about 12 students in her class at a time. When missionaries arrived in 1863 to set up schools for black children in the wake of the civil war, they were surprised to learn about Granderson’s “moonlight” school that was already in operation. As a free woman, Granderson was hired as a teacher by the American Missionary Association. Last reported records regarding Granson indicated that she was 54 years old in 1880, still teaching and married.  The date of death is uncertain.


Did you miss yesterday’s post about the “Wailing Wall” in Detroit?  Click the link below to learn about how the wall was used to facilitate housing discrimination.

Civil War Slave Compensation Paid Out By The US Government

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civil war black regiment

Many people are aware that some well known insurance companies; some of which are still in existence today; provided insurance for slaves owners.  However, many people may not be aware that the US government paid claims to slave owners as well.  For a short time during the Civil War, slave owners could file a claim against the federal government and receive compensation if their slaves joined the military.  Two acts of congress passed in 1864 and 1865 made this possible.  The acts were struck down by congress in 1867.

Back regiments fought for the Union Army  during the Civil War.  Of Approximately 186,000 African-American soldiers (including 94,000 former slaves from Southern states), 38,000 died in battle.  The Confederate Army generally frowned upon having blacks served.  Though some did do so, it was generally felt that arming blacks who were also enslaved or had been enslaved would be a threat to the Confederate Army.

Integration Ruled Illegal: Berea College v. Kentucky Supreme Court Case

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Some may be familiar with the Plessey v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision that made “segregation” of races legal under the assertion of providing “separate but equal” accommodation of the races. Some may also know about the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision making segregation illegal in public schools. Between these two cases was another important but lesser known Supreme Court case: “Berea College v. Kentucky”.

Berea College was originally founded in the state of Kentucky in1855 by abolitionist, Reverend John G. Fee, as a private Christian college who accepted both black and white students. Fee envisioned having an anti-slavery and interracial community which would include, a church, and school. His dream was for the school to be an advocate of equality and excellence in education for men and women of all races.


Rev. John Fee

Fee was gifted a 10-acre homestead on which he established the church with 13 members and the school on a ridge they named “Berea” after the biblical town whose populace was open-minded and receptive to the gospel (Acts 17:10). They school had an interracial faculty and the community around it was interracial. John Fee, intentionally distributed plots of land in ways that insured that there was mix of both black and white families living in close proximity to each other. Berea was the only college in the state of Kentucky at the time that educated both races together. In 1859, due to “pro-slavery” opposition and the start of the Civil War, work on the college was abandoned and its workers were forced out of the state. Fee spent the Civil War years raising funds for the school. After the war ended, in 1865, he and his followers returned and resumed work on building the interracial college and community. Many of Berea’s students and settlers were escaped slaves, former slaves and freedmen who migrated there after the Civil War. For several decades following the Civil War, Berea’s student body continued to be divided equally between white and black students.

Berea College Students
Berea College Students

Things would change dramatically, when in 1904, the Kentucky legislature passed the “Day Law”, which made it illegal for African American and White students to be educated at the same school or in schools that were located less than 25 miles apart. Proponents of the law sited concerns regarding violence and inter-racial marriage as reasons for separation of the races.  With Berea College being the only integrated educational institution in Kentucky, it was obviously the target of the Day Law. Berea appealed its case to the United States Supreme Court but lost. The Court upheld the law requiring segregation of the school as constitutional and it remained in effect until it was amended by the legislature in 1950.

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against them in 1904, Berea set aside funds to assist in the establishment of Lincoln Institute, a school located near Louisville, for black students. When the Day Law was amended in 1950 to again allow integration, Berea was the first college in Kentucky to reopen its doors to black students. Almost 50 years after it resolved Berea, The Supreme Court made segregation of public school illegal with Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case. Berea College is still educating students today. It provides free tuition to all students.

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