Tag Archives: African American Newspapers
MVB-Slavery

Martin Van Buren and Slavery

This appeared in the March 11, 1837 issue of The Colored American newspaper.

The following extracts from President Van Buren’s inaugural address, present his views and designs, in regard to the question of Slavery:

“The last, perhaps the greatest, of the prominent sources of discord and disaster supposed to lurk in our political condition, was the institution of domestic slavery.”

“Perceiving, before my election, the deep interest this subject was beginning to excite, I believed it a solemn duty fully to make known my sentiments in regard to it”

“I then declared that, if the desire of those of my countrymen who were favorable to my election, was gratified, I must go into the Presidential Chair the inflexible and uncompromising opponent of every attempt, on the part of Congress, to abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia, against the wishes of the slaveholding States, and also, with a determination equally decided, to resist the slightest interference with it in the States where it exists.”
“It now only remains to add that no bill conflicting with these views, can ever receive my constitutional sanction.”

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.
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Cooking by Gas in 1855

Cooking by Gas in 1855

A small party of scientific and other gentlemen of the city, yesterday made a visit to the city of Worcester, to partake of a dinner cooked by Mr. James B. Blake’s gas cooking apparatus, recently patented. They found the apparatus in a room adjoining Warren Hall, I successful operation, cooking the dinner for the invited guests. The apparatus is a very simple affair in its construction. The boiling part is a cast iron plate with different sized perforations suited to such utensils as are necessary for family use. A coil of copper gas pipe pierced for a number of jets is presented beneath each perforation in the cast iron plate, at such a distance that when the cooking utensil is inserted, the flame from the jet is at the best heating distance.

The baking part consists of an oven of peculiar construction, and which overcomes the grand difficult hitherto experienced in gas cooking . The difficulties hitherto encountered were the loss of heat by radiation and imperfect combustion. In the latter particular there was not only a taster of gas, but an unpleasant odor from the unconsumed gas. Mr. Blake has overcome both of these difficulties. The oven of his invention is oval in form, made of Russian sheet iron, with an inch of coal dust between the outside and the inside, which is so perfect a non-conductor that but very little heat is lost by radiation. The gas is applied at the bottom of the oven, and the heat ascends around it, between the sheet iron that forms the oven and the charcoal lining; there being no escape at the top, the mixed gases, instead of escaping there, as in other gas-cooking ovens, come down past he burners, and, being heavier than the air, not the least offensive odor is noticed.

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.
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What Shall we do with the Freedmen?

WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH THE FREEDMEN, NOW THAT THEY HAVE NO MASTERS TO TAKE CARE OF THEM?

This is a question which is often discussed. We see it in our papers, and hear it frequently in conversation; but, if the North were more familiar with the state of affairs at the South, the question would much oftener be, “What shall we do with the white men, now that they have no slaves to take care of them?” The prevalent idea, that the masters of the South were intelligent, capable men, who, though unjust and cruel, still exercised a provident supervision over the wants of their slaves,—clothing and feeding them,— while the negroes, on the contrary, were unthinking, unthrifty, dull machines, is false.

The negro’s wants were few; and, such as they were, he was fully capable of supplying them, if not interfered with. With the change from slavery to freedom, he will doubtless discover new wants, the most pressing of which is that of education, which it is our duty to supply; but there is little ground of any apprehension that the slaves of the South, as a mass, are to suffer, by being deprived of their former masters, or that they will need charitable support.

Who built the huts in which they have been living? Who raised the corn upon which they have fed? Who wove the homespun stuffs with which they have been clothed? Will it be more difficult to obtain these things now that they work for themselves alone, than when they gave a large share of the products of their labor to their master?

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.
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Sin of Slavery

The Church in Fault; The Sin of Slavery (1838)

The great sin of slavery and caste as they exist in this country, do more to neutralize the means of grace, and block up the way of salvation, than all other things combined. Slavery is THE SIN of the nation and caste, THE SIN of the Church; and if these sins need not to be prayed and wept over – if they need not to be repented of an removed, then may all sin be tolerated.

If it be not the business and duty of the ministers of Jesus Christ, to set themselves at work, to convince the world, and especially the Church of these sins, then have the ministers nothing to do in the church militant; the sooner they go home to heaven, the better.

If we were to judge from the silence on these subjects, of ministers in the northern sections of the church, and the practice of these evils by ministers in the southern sections, we should conclude that oppression, the most cruel and unreasonable oppression, was no crime. But, alas! we cannot judge ;by this fallible standard; God has in his word, and by his providence, told us to the contrary. Oppression is the antipode of Christian charity. No sin in the history of the church nor world, has so readily provoked the wrath, and brought down the vengeance of God upon the nations, as oppression. In all ages, Jehovah has seemed, without the semblance of pity, to pour out his judgments upon oppressors. And yet do the clergy of our land SLEEP over this sin!!!

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.
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Library Fire

The Congressional Library Burns

Today, the Library of Congress celebrates its 217th birthday. On April 24, 1800, President John Adams approved the appropriation of $5,000 for the purchase of “such books as may be necessary for the use of congress.”

On December 24, 1851, the largest fire in the Library’s history destroyed 35,000 books, about two–thirds of the Library’s 55,000 book collection, including two-thirds of Jefferson’s original transfer. Congress in 1852 quickly appropriated $168,700 to replace the lost books, but not for the acquisition of new materials. This marked the start of a conservative period in the Library’s administration by librarian John Silva Meehan and joint committee chairman James A. Pearce, who worked to restrict the Library’s activities.

Congress in 1852 quickly appropriated $168,700 to replace the lost books, but not for the acquisition of new materials. This marked the start of a conservative period in the Library’s administration by librarian John Silva Meehan and joint committee chairman James A. Pearce, who worked to restrict the Library’s activities.

Between 1865 and 1870, Congress appropriated funds for the construction of the Thomas Jefferson Building, placed all copyright registration and deposit activities under the Library’s control, and restored the Library’s international book exchange. The Library also acquired the vast libraries of both the Smithsonian and historian Peter Force, strengthening its scientific and Americana collections significantly. By 1876, the Library of Congress had 300,000 volumes and was tied with the Boston Public Library as the nation’s largest library.

When the Library moved from the Capitol building to its new headquarters in 1897, it had over 840,000 volumes, 40% of which had been acquired through copyright deposit.

The 1851 fire was reported in Frederick Douglass’s newspaper on January 8, 1852. At the time of the fire, the library was still part of the Capitol building.

Burning of the Congressional Library

On Wednesday morning, Dec. 24th (1851), a fire was discovered in the Library rooms of the Capitol at Washington. The alarm was immediately given, and the Fire department, promptly on the spot, used their utmost exertions to arrest the flames, but unhappily failed to do so before the splendid collection of books upon the shelves, was more than half consumed. The morning was an extremely frosty one, and the chill air and the ice-bound water seriously impeded operations. The President, the members of the Cabinet and of Congress , lent every assistance; and by their direction, the roof connecting with the rotunds, was torn away, and the remainder of the building saved. The fire was brought under control about noon. The origin of it is unknown.

The Library occupied three apartments in the main building. The main room was a very large one, ninety-two by thirty-four feet, with a gallery round it. There were six recesses, or alcoves, on either side. The number of volumes upon the shelves was about 55,000; all of them works of the highest value, and many of them wholly irreplaceable.

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.
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