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An Untold Story: Slavery In Canada

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 canada

We are often told about the history of slavery in the United States. However, Canada also participated in the slave trade.  In comparison to the U.S., the number of people estimated to be enslaved in Canada was much lower.  Still those enslaved in Canada experienced the same mistreatment and abuse.  We often hear narratives of enslaved people escaping to freedom in Canada.  However there were also groups of slaves in Canada who escaped to freedom in the United States by crossing the border into to Detroit, MI.  The stories of those enslaved in Canada has often gone untold or been ignored.  Slavery was legal in Canada for 200 years.  Continue reading “An Untold Story: Slavery In Canada”

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.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/harriet-tubman-whos-being-recognized-more-and-more-is-a-total-10-in-rare-portrait_us_589b44c9e4b0c1284f29b3b9

http://www.harriet-tubman.org/death/

Madison Washington: Architect Of The Most Successful Slave Revolt In U.S. History

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In 1841, Madison Washington, an enslaved African American started a slave revolt aboard the ship, “Creole”. The vessel was taking 130 enslaved people from Virginia who were to be sold in New Orleans.  Madison Washington had escaped to freedom in Canada, but returned to try and free his wife.  He was captured and returned to slavery in Virginia. Washington and the enslaved men and women traveling aboard the “Creole” endured deplorable conditions and abuse. Led by Washington, 12 other enslaved people onboard the “Creole”, launched a revolt.  One of the slave traders was killed and crew members were also wounded.  Washington and the other slaves were able to take control of the ship and demanded that it be sailed to Nassau, Bahamas.  Continue reading “Madison Washington: Architect Of The Most Successful Slave Revolt In U.S. History”

Charles L. Reason: 1st African American To Teach At A Predominately White College

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 Charles Reason.jpg

 

 Charles L. Reason (1818 – 1864)was active in efforts to gain voting rights for black men. Reason believed strongly that industrial education was very important for blacks to gain their freedom. He also valued classical education as well and started a teachers training college in New York City. Reason and Charles B. Ray started the Society for The Promotion of Education among Colored Children, a black organization approved by the state legislature to oversee schools for blacks in New York City.In 1849, the mostly white Free Mission College (renamed New York Central College) in Courtland County, NY hired Reason as an instructor making him the first African American to teach at a predominately white college. Continue reading “Charles L. Reason: 1st African American To Teach At A Predominately White College”

Why Do People Think Black History Starts With Slavery and Ends With MLK?

 

Black History: Special Delivery!!

 

Dr. Jane Landers is a History professor at Vanderbilt University who has done extesnive research into the presence of Africans in the Americas that predates the antebellum south or British colonization efforts of the 1500’s.  Her work is fascinating paints a very different picture than what most of us have been taught in school.  For many of us we encapsulate black history as starting with slavery and ending with MLK. In this short video, she shares some fascinating history and little known facts about the history of Africans in the Americas!

Continue reading “Why Do People Think Black History Starts With Slavery and Ends With MLK?”

Rev. Daniel J. Jenkins: Founder of Jenkins Orphanage & Jenkins Orphanage Band

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Daniel Jenkins
Daniel Jenkins, Founder of Jenkins Orphanage (now Jenkins Institute)

Jenkins Institute, originally chartered as, “Jenkins Orphanage” was founded on December 16, 1891 by Pastor Daniel J. Jenkins. It received its official charter from the State of South Carolina in 1892. Its mission was to provide, “a safe, secure, loving home environment for orphans and destitute boys and girls in need”. Jenkins was pastor of a small African American church. He also worked as a labourer. On a cold December day in 1891, Rev. Jenkins was working, hauling timber, when he encountered 4 young boys. They were huddled in a railroad car and had been abandoned by their parents. All of the boys were under the age of 12. The plight of the boys touched Jenkins, as he was also orphaned as a child. Born a slave, he too, was orphaned at a young age and turned off his plantation and left to fend for himself. He then went from farm to farm working for room and board. Jenkins brought the boys home to his wife, Lena, and provided them with food and beds. Though Jenkins and his wife had children of their own and not much money; they did not hesitate to help the young boys who were in need. Their act of kindness to these 4 boys would start a life long journey of helping children. Continue reading “Rev. Daniel J. Jenkins: Founder of Jenkins Orphanage & Jenkins Orphanage Band”

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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Betrayed By Pharaoh: Gabriel Prosser’s Slave Revolt

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gabriel prosser

Born in 1776, Gabriel Prosser was enslaved on the Prosser Plantation near Richmond, VA. He was one of 53 slaves on the plantation. Gabriel was a skilled blacksmith. Unlike many of the other slaves on the Prosser Plantation, Gabriel could read and write. At that time, only 5% of slaves could read and write. He devised a plot to liberate himself and other slaves from the oppression they were subjected to by Virginia’s white merchant class. Continue reading “Betrayed By Pharaoh: Gabriel Prosser’s Slave Revolt”

LITTLE KNOWN FACTS AND QUOTES FROM THE LIFE OF SOJOURNER TRUTH

Black History: Special Delivery!!

 

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Sojourner Truth (circa 1870)

 

Many are familiar with the activism of Sojourner Truth as an abolitionist and suffragist.  Here a few facts you may not know about Sojourner Truth:

She was born into slavery in approximately 1797 in New York. Her birth name was Isabella Baumfree. She was later sold at the age of 9 along with a flock of sheep for $100.

Continue reading “LITTLE KNOWN FACTS AND QUOTES FROM THE LIFE OF SOJOURNER TRUTH”

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