Tag Archives: African American History
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.

Storming Fort Wagner

Nancy Shively on the Massachusetts 54th Regiment at Fort Wagner

Today, July 18th, marks the anniversary of the Civil War battle in which the legendary Massachusetts 54th Regiment heroically led a Union assault on Fort Wagner, SC. My first acquaintance with this regiment was through the Academy Award winning movie Glory. (If you haven’t seen it run…do not walk… to the nearest video store/computer and rent/download it. It is one the best of the many Civil War movies out there. )

For the uninitiated, the 54th Mass was one of the first all-black units to serve in the Civil War. They distinquished themselves in the ultimately unsuccessful assault on Fort Wagner while singlehandedly putting to rest any lingering doubts the US Army might have had about African Americans’ abilities as soldiers. Sadly the 54th sustained many casualties in the battle including their white commander Col. Robert Gould Shaw.


Guerrero was a Spanish slave ship which wrecked in 1827 on a reef near the Florida Keys with 561 Africans aboard

A Crime Against God and Man

Via The London News and The National Era

The Transport of the Africans to the French West Indies

The great irregularity of the West African mail steamers has of late interrupted the current of the history of the notorious Regis contract for supplying the French West Indies with purchased Africans. The last arrivals, however, put us in possession of some additional facts quite conclusive as to the character of this traffic.

Subsequently to the news that the Portuguese authorities had refused to allow the French purchase of negroes within the limits of the province of Angola, our readers may recollect that advices from the West Indies announced the arrival in the French Antilles of one of M. Regis’s ships with a cargo of 800 Africans, 100 of whom lost their lives in an attempt to land them. But hitherto there has been nothing positively known as to where this unhappy batch of negroes was obtained. (more…)

Reverend Lemuel Haynes

The Death Of Reverend Lemuel Haynes in 1833

The following item appeared in The Liberator a month after Reverend Hayne’s death in 1833.

This eminent servant of God, died in Granville, N.Y. on the 28th of September, aged 80 years. He was born in Hartford, Conn. and brought up in a pious family in Granville, in this State. He was there converted and when he was about 27 years old, he began the work of the ministry. He preached five years in Granville, Mass.– about three years in Torringford, Conn.– nearly or quite thirty years in Rutland, Vt.– about three years in Manchester, Vt. and eleven years in the place where he died.

We shall never forget the man who is the subject of this notice. We have seen him in the pulpit and at his own house and amidst his family. and we can truly say he seemed ever like a man of God. There was something peculiarly touching in the manner in which he invited sinners to the only refuge. He was original in his ideas– gentle in his reproofs and powerful in his rebukes. His talent at satire was prodigious, and when he found it necessary to employ it, his opponents would shrink away before him and leave him master of the field. His discourse on universal salvation preached immediately after the conclusion of a sermon by Hosea Ballou, in his own pulpit, is a wonderful illustration of this remark.