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Please help me to find her – Reconnecting Families After Slavery

Information Wanted Ads: Reconnecting Families After Slavery

As late as July 31, 1902, there were still formerly enslaved Americans using national newspapers in hopes of somehow reconnecting with the families shattered by slave owners before the end of the Civil War nearly 40 years before. These are a tiny sample of the requests in The Christian Recorder.

I was thinking about writing more about this phenomenon in post-Civil War America, but I feel that the messages, and the people asking for help, made themselves very clear.


February 4, 1865 – Of John Pierson, son of Hannah Pierson. When last seen by his mother he was about 12 years of age, and resided in Alexandria, Va., Fairfax county, from which place his mother was sold to New Orleans, La., by one Alexander Saxton. Nine long and dreary years have passed away since his mother has seen him. Through the reverses of this war she has made her way to New Bedford, Mass., where she now resides. Her name is now Hannah Cole. Any information concerning him or his grandmother, Sophia Pierson, will be thankfully received by his anxious mother.

February 18, 1865 – INFORMATION WANTED – Mrs. Harriet Mayo, of Detroit, Michigan, wishes to make inquiry of Joseph Mayo, Richard Mayo, Aaron Mayo, and Lucy Mayo. The last she heard of them they were in Petersburg, Virginia. She now thinks they are some where within the lines of the Union army. Any one knowing of their whereabouts will please address MRS. MATILDA ROBINSON, No. 88 Mullet St., Detroit, Mich. (more…)


[Watch Now] Black History Month Webinar

If you missed our January 25th webinar, it is not too late.  You can watch it below.

About the Webinar:

Our African American Newspapers Collection provides important original source material—written by African Americans for African Americans—readily available for research and fresh interpretation by historians, educators, and students. In addition, The Liberator and the National Anti-Slavery Standard will be thoroughly discussed.

The event was hosted by Bob Lester, Product Development & Strategy Consultant, Unlimited Priorities, LLC

You can also download the PowerPoint slideshow.

Post 2019-01-26

Ballots for Women: Giving or Forcing?

Members of the Massachusetts legislature, or of the legislatures of other states, who are urged to vote this winter for suffrage bills or amendments, should remember that what they are really asked to do is not to give the ballot to women, but to force it upon them.

That is what it really amounts to. The suffragists are admittedly a minority among women. As a matter of fact,—though this they do not admit—they are a small minority. Tested in any way one pleases,—by the membership of their organizations, by the signers to their petitions, or by the votes cast at school elections,—they are a small minority.

Actions speak louder than words. If the suffragists do not know that they are a small minority, why do they always bitterly oppose every proposal to submit the question to a referendum of women’s votes?

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Women’s Suffrage Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily (1849-1856), National Citizen and Ballot Box (1878-1881), The Revolution (1868-1872), The New Citizen (1909-1912), The Western Woman Voter (1911-1913), and the antisuffrage newspaper, The Remonstrance (1890-1913).



To Our Oppressed Countrymen (December 1847)

This message, directly from Frederick Douglass, defined his mission in producing The North Star newspaper. It appeared in the first issue that was published on December 3, 1847:

To Our Oppressed Countrymen: We solemnly dedicate the “NORTH STAR” to the cause of our long oppressed and plundered fellow countrymen. May God bless the offering to your good! It shall fearlessly assert your rights, faithfully proclaim your wrongs, and earnestly demand for you instant and even-handed justice. Giving no quarter to slavery at the South, it will hold no truce with oppressors at the North. While it shall boldly advocate emancipation for our enslaved brethren, it will omit no opportunity to gain for the nominally free, complete enfranchisement. Every effort to injure or degrade you or your cause – originating wheresoever, or with whomsoever – shall find in it a constant, unswerving and inflexible foe.

We shall energetically assail the ramparts of Slavery and Prejudice, be they composed of church or state, and seek the destruction of every refuge of lies, under which tyranny may aim to conceal and protect itself.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.


Questions of General Interest (January 11, 1919)

One of the recurring sections in Frank Leslie’s Weekly was Questions of General Interest, a column in which the newspaper staff would answer questions submitted by readers. These are a few of the questions from 100 years ago this week – the all have a motor or mechanical theme:

Removal of Truck Restrictions

D. F. D.: “I understand that the restrictions on passenger-car output has been lifted considerably so that 75% of production during the same period as a year ago is now permitted. What regulations cover the truck output?”

Truck makers, through a recent order of the War Industries Board, may return to a production of 100% of their output of a year ago. Of course, the truck industry was not so seriously curtailed as was the passenger-car business, and therefore about the same proportion of return to normal can be expected in each case.

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1855 to 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.

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