Tag Archives: African American History
John Brown Russwurm

Freedom’s Journal News Summary for February 8, 1828

Although Freedom’s Journal lived a relatively short life, it is important in that it was the first American newspaper written by blacks for blacks. From the beginning the editors felt, “… that a paper devoted to the dissemination of useful knowledge among our brethren, and to their moral and religious improvement, must meet with the cordial approbation of every friend to humanity…”.

This news summary was published in the February 8, 1828 edition.

SCHOOLS — The bill making an annual State appropriation of 10,000 dollars for the Free Schools, and providing a fund for accumulation, to be devoted to the same object, has been passed by the House of Representatives of the Legislature of Rhode Island with only two dissecting votes.

DROWNED — Mr. Benjamin Ellis and his son Sewall were drowned at Plymouth, Mass. lately, by falling through the ice. The bodies were recovered a few hours after the accident occurred. Mr. Ellis has left a wife and a large number of children.

DEAF AND DUMB — An institution for the instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, has been commenced in N. Carolina; and an application has been made to congress for a grant of land.

AFRICAN SCHOOL — During the last summer an African School was kept in Portsmouth N.H. the expense of which was principally defrayed for the first time by the town. Nearly all the coloured children amounting to about 30, attended the school.

EDUCATION — Four scholarships of 1000 dollars each, are founded at Danville College. A farm is attached, to reduce by labour the expense of living. The indigent will be supported and educated without charge. Those who are able, will never pay above 20 dollars per annum.


Emancipation proclamation issued January 1st, 1863

The Emancipation Proclamation in The Christian Recorder

We print in this number the President’s Proclamation, emancipating all slaves whose masters are in open rebellion against the Government of the United States. It will be seen that the President only makes provision for the emancipation of a part of an injured race, and that the Border States and certain parts of the rebel States are excepted from the relief offered to others by this most important document. We believe, those who are not immediately liberated will be ultimately benefited by this act, and that Congress will do something for those poor souls who will still remain in degradation. But we thank God and President Lincoln for what has been done, “and take courage.”

Emancipation Proclamation

A Proclamation.

WHEREAS, On the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

“That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward and forever free, and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognise and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any effort they may make for their active freedom. That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people therein, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States, and the fact, that any State, and the people thereof, shall, on that day, be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States, by members chosen thereto at elections, wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State and the people thereof are not then in rebellion against the United States.”


A Favorite Pro-Slavery Argument

Slaves are better fed, clothed and treated, and more kindly cared for in old age, than the majority of Northern laborers.

— Favorite Pro-Slavery Argument

If so, it is astonishing how little they appreciate the blessing of their condition.

To get out of it, one secretes himself in the hold of a vessel: another boxes himself in a case: a third threads woods and swamps in the dark, guided only by the North star: a fourth swims rivers and risks bloodhounds and rifle bullets sooner than be taken: a fifth disguises himself and sets out for a land of strangers without a penny in his pocket: a sixth plunges in the river at Wilkes-Barre, preferring drowning to capture.

One day it is a boy that has run away, the next day a girl, then a man and his wife: then a mother and her children: then a superannuated old man. Last week we heard of six from Virginia, yesterday of eleven from Arkansas, today of a dozen form Kentucky. One is half naked, another has a scarred cheek, a third a branded arm, a fourth a mangled back, a fifth a bullet in his leg.


Am I not a man and a brother?

The Case of Somersett from Freedom’s Journal

Somerset (Somersett), a black slave, had been brought to England, in November, 1769, by his master, Mr. Charles Stewart, and in process of time left him. Stewart found an opportunity of seizing him unawares; and he was conveyed on board the Ann and Mary, Captain Knowles, in order to be carried to Jamaica, and there to be sold for a slave.

Mr. Serjeant Davy brought the case into court before Lord Mansfield on the 24th of January, but professed the cause to be of so high importance, that he requested it might be deferred till another term in order to give him time to prepare fully for its support.

This request Lord Mansfield declined granting, but fixed the hearing for that day fortnight, apprising Serjeant Davy at the same time, that “if it should come fairly to the general question, whatever the opinion of the court might be, even if they were all agreed on one side or the other, the subject was of so general and extensive concern, that, from the nature of the question, he should certainly take the opinion of all the judges upon it.



A Good (Moral) Test

Mr. Dodd, an eminent minister, being solicited to play at cards, rose from his seat and uncovered his head.  Being asked what he was going to do, he replied-

“To crave God’s blessing.”

The company exclaimed, “We never asked the blessing on such occasions.”

Then said he, “I never engage in anything but on what I can beg of God to give his blessing-‘In all thy ways acknowledge Him.'”

Apply this mode of settling moral questions to Slavery, rum drinking, rum selling, beer brewing, going with a majority in religion or politics, and to any and everything else, and what would be the result?

In the year 1828, we put the question to Richard Furman, D.D., of Charleston, South Carolina, on hearing him assert that slaveholding was sustained by the Bible.

“Can you pray God to continue it, and to spread it through the earth?” He sat silent, and the company sat silent. Try this test everywhere.

Christian Contributor


Collection: African American Newspapers
Date: September 7, 1848
Title: A Good Test
Washington, D.C.