Tag Archives: African American Newspapers
Fugitive Slave Act

The Colored Man’s Perils (1837)

The following shows up to the light some of the doings and devices of wicked men, which surround people of color in northern cities. Not only slave agents and kidnappers, but black-legs in desperate circumstances, prowl about to plot our ruin.

It will be recollected, that not long since, two colored men were arrested at Utica, on a claim of being fugitive Slaves, but who afterwards effected their escape. The Rev. Geo. Storrs, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, recently met with them, in his going about, and received the story of their difficulties from their own lips. He learned various interesting facts from them – and found them to be very simple, honest-hearted persons. The following is a copy of a part of his written memorandum of their conversation, as we find it in a Union paper. The soul-catcher alluded to, passed as a “Virginia gentleman!” at the time of the investigation at Utica.

Southern Jewels

“Jewels” found at Alexandria – engraved by Samuel Curtis Upham, 1819-1885

“Harry’s own story of the matter,” says Mr. Storrs, as he told it to me was, “that the soul-catcher had tried to persuade him to get his mistress’ consent to be sold, saying – ‘Harry, if you will be sold to me, I will give you $20, and will make you rich. I go to New York sometimes, and when there, I gamble, and sometimes lose $1000 or $1500, and then I go out and kidnap some of the colored people, and then go and gamble again, and get all my money back again, and win too.”

“He wanted,” adds the paper alluded to, “to see Harry as a decoy or stool-pigeon to entice others into his snares.”

The same paper further states – “It is proper to mention, that the colored men did not runaway on the solicitations of this gentleman soul-catcher. They were left by their deceased master to his widow, during her life, and afterwards, to younger heirs. The old lady being aware that they would be sold into Louisiana as soon as she died, and not expecting to live long, as they had been favorite servants, advised them to runaway.” These facts were disclosed, by the colored men, to their counsel in Utica. So that, in truth, they came into this State with the consent of their mistress, and hence could not, legally, be pursued or retained as slaves.

Learn more about this era in our free copy of Twelve Years a Slave.

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.

Source: Weekly Advocate, February 25, 1837
Top Image Source: Practical illustration of the Fugitive Slave Law


chapel

Presbyterians vs. Slavery in 1849

Some of the New School Synods and Presbyteries of the West, seem but little satisfied with the Assembly at Philadelphia.

Resolutions have been adopted by the Ottowa (Ill,) Presbytery recommending the exclusion of slave holders from the pulpit and the communion table – disapproving the course pursued by the General Assembly, and declaring the formal withdrawal of the Presbytery from that body.

And in the Synod of Illinois, a resolution was reported and discussed declaring slavery a sin, and the action of the late General Assembly in reference to this matter so unsatisfactory, that the Synod of Illinois ought publicly and solemnly to separate itself from that body.

After much discussion, the original proposition was modified by the substitution of the declaration – That, while they feel very anxious to be delivered from all participation in the sin of slavery, they do not feel, at present, willing to be separated from the General Assembly.

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.

Source: The North Star, December 14, 1849


home-library

Tips on Building a Household Library (1838)

In order to obtain a good library, which every family ought to have, the following directions may be observed with advantage:

  • Select a room, or at least a corner of some room, where the Bible and other books, together with inkstand and paper, shall be kept. Every house ought to have a room for retirement, prayer and study.
  • Obtain a good, convenient book case, and writing table or desk, or both. Let the dust be brushed off, daily used, and kept constantly neat and clean.
  • Whenever a book has been taken into another room for use, let it always be returned to the library for safe keeping.
  • Avoid subscribing for books, unless you feel that the book cannot be published without a subscription, and you do it either as an act of benevolence to the author, or for the purpose of doing good to the world.
  • Lay out your money carefully. Buy no books but good ones. Select the best. Seek to make, from month to month, some increase to the library. Teach your children, servants and friends, to use the books with care.
  • Admit no novels.
  • Select, in addition to religious works, books of reference, school books, scientific works, and philosophical, etc. – a few of the best productions of the best poets.
  • In all departments, get works of established and solid reputation.


By pursuing this course a few years, every farmer and mechanic can have a library which will be of great value to his children, when he is gone, as well as to himself while living.

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.

Source

Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: The Colored American
Date: July 7, 1838
Title: Household Libraries
Location: New York, New York


"You call it the dirty work of the Democratic Party to catch fugitive slaves for the Southern people. We are willing to perform that dirty work." John A. Logan, in the Illinois State Legislature, Dec. 9th, 1859.

The Difference in Fugitive Slave Laws

Caption:  “You call it the dirty work of the Democratic Party to catch fugitive slaves for the Southern people. We are willing to perform that dirty work.” John A. Logan, in the Illinois State Legislature, Dec. 9th, 1859.
Image Details:  Illustration from Puck Magazine

The Difference

Boston, Mass., March 4, 1851.

To the Editor of the National Era:

I frequently hear it asserted that the law of 1850, for the recovery of fugitive slaves, does not materially differ from that of 1793, and that neither enactment requires anything more of the North than the performance of its constitutional obligations. Regarding both these propositions as false and mischievous, as tending to reconcile the public to the present state of the law, I wish, if you will give me room in your paper, to state, briefly, the points of difference between the two States, and the points wherein the statute of 1850 transcends the requirements of the Constitution.

1. The law of 1793, as expounded by the Supreme Court of the United States imposed no duty upon a free State, or upon any citizen of a free State, except upon certain officers; and, as they occupied their places voluntarily, it may with truth be said that, under that law, a man could live in a free State without participating in the business of making men who, through deadly peril, had won their freedom, slaves again. The amount of the enactment of 1793, was, that if a slave escaped into a free State, his owner might, carrying with him from home, or engaging in the State to which the slave had fled, such voluntary aid as he should find needful, take him away, without becoming liable to the penalties for kidnapping. By that law, freemen were not required to become slave-hunters or slave-catchers. They performed their whole duty if they offered no opposition when the slave-hunter would hunt his prey upon their soil. By the law of 1850, the United States carries the fugitive back to slavery, and thus every citizen must participate in the deed. More than this by that law every citizen is required, when called upon, to give his strength the labor of his own free muscles to the work.

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Glorious News – Slavery Abolished from the Constitution

We have the pleasure of chronicling in this issue of our paper, for the benefit of our readers, the thrilling and joyous intelligence that on the last day of January, 1865, the House of Representatives of the United States voted to amend the Constitution, so as to cause it to read as follows:

Article XIII

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

This was carried by a vote of 119 for the amendment, to 56 in opposition to it. Thus is has passed by a two-third vote. The Constitution of the United States is now amended beyond doubt.

The Lord be praised for his great work of reformation in the hearts of the American people. We know that this welcome news will gladden the hearts of all patriots and true lovers of God and humanity, freedom and liberty. We hope that our Legislatures will act wisely in the premises. Once more may the old State House Bell ring forth, as in days of yore, proclaiming Liberty throughout the land – proclaiming that the martyrs of today have not cast their lives away in vain. A wild hum of joy comes to our ears on the dancing breeze as the bondman’s shackles fall, and we can almost hear the glad cry gushing like a fountain from his heart – “O God, we thank thee.”

Source: The Christian Recorder, February 4, 1865