Tag Archives: Slavery

The Liberator: A Race for Liberty

William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator was a weekly abolitionist newspaper published in Boston. The paper held true to the founder’s ideals. Garrison was a journalistic crusader who advocated the immediate emancipation of all slaves and gained a national reputation for being one of the most radical of American abolitionists.

A Race for Liberty

ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD — ‘Ranaway from the subscriber, living in Washington City, on the 1st day of June, a Negro man, named Vincent Scoot. He is twenty-one years old, five feet, six or eight inches high, straight and well formed; he is an excellent house servant, carriage driver, and ostler; he acted as a waiter to my son Lieut. Henry Stewart, five years, in the Western army. He has a scar on his right arm, near the elbow, and about two and a half inches in length, and half an inch wide.’

— A Southern Paper

The above scar was no doubt received in rescuing his master from death, or fighting in defense of his country’s liberties, who, with five years’ campaign, together with shedding his blood in sustaining the independence of his county, is denied the pleasure of running away to enjoy it, while the humane master, instead of rewarding him for his services— offers a reward for his apprehension as a slave. The above sketch, delineated by a skillful hand, would make a beautiful frontispiece to the literary works of every American writer of taste.

— African Sentinel

Source:  The Liberator, May 7, 1831


Anna: I Wish I Could Do Something

“Have you read Uncle Tom’s Cabin?” said a lady to her friend, a few days since. “Yes,” was the reply, “and O, how it makes me long to do something. Men ought to read it. All men ought to read it – they can do something.”

But cannot woman do something? True she cannot nor does she wish to go to the ballot-box, but lies there not a power back of this? Was not Hannibal ever an enemy in the Roman name? When only nine years old, his father made him take a solemn oath never to be at peace with Rome. Is not slavery a far greater foe to our country than was Rome to the Carthaginian nation? And O mothers, as we wish our country free of her greatest enemy, as we wish our children to enjoy the blessings of life, liberty, and happiness, temporal and eternal, let us follow the example of Hamilcar, and early and perseveringly teach our sons how vile, how dreadful a thing slavery is, let us teach them eternal hostility to slavery.

In the spirit of kindness let us show them the guilt and awful responsibility of those who, in any way, sustain this withering, blighting, heart-rending, soul-destroying curse of American Slavery. And O, as we value all the sacred endearments of home, as we love our husbands, as we cherish our babes and watch with jealous care lest some insidious foe tear them from our bosoms, let us feel for those mothers, with affections as deep, as strong, as holy as ours, whose little ones are snatched from them, not only by the tyrant Death, but by a more cruel, more dreadful tyrant Slavery, sustained by the laws of our free country. “O, these are noble laws – just laws – most equitable laws.”

How solemn the thought that from thousands of souls enslaved, is daily going up into the ear of Avenging Justice the cry, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our cause?” Why did Queen Mary “fear the prayers of John Knox more than an army of her enemies?” Can we not do something? Has the Christian power to prevail with God? Let our cry ascend before “the God of the earth,” not for judgment on the oppressor, but that God would give him a better heart, that he would “let the oppressed go free.”

From the Independent

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: Frederick Douglass’ Paper, July 9, 1852
Image Source: Uncle Tom’s cabin

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Negro Color Lines: More Truth Than Fiction

To the Editor of LESLIE’S WEEKLY:

The article appearing in the March 11 issue of your magazine entitled “The Negro Color Lines” tempts me, a colored man myself, to take pen in hand and acknowledge that the article no doubt contains more truth than fiction.

The colors black and white considered abstractly are negative colors, neither one of which has any inherent superiority over the other. Through a concatenation of circumstances, black represents an enslaved and white a master class. A servile race is always a despised people; a logical consequence is to create an aversion to black, not on its own account but solely because it represents the visible badge of personal degradation. Caste distinctions and social prejudices are pronounced factors among all civilized peoples, and I see nothing alarmingly strange in that the Negro race should also have their social barriers.



Imprisonment of Free State Abolitionists

From the Pennasylvania Freeman:

Many of the readers of the Freeman are familiar with the case of Dr. Brooke, and others, of Ohio.

By the constitution and laws of that State, all slaves entering her territory with the consent of their owners, are declared free. A party of slaveholders emigrating from Virginia to Missouri with their human chattels, encamped for the night in Clinton county, in which reside a large number of active abolitionists.

Several of these called at the encampment, and informed the slaves that by the laws of the State they were in, they were entitled to their freedom; whereupon they all decamped. For this act, twenty-one persons were indicted for abduction and riot.



The Instruction of Slaves in Alabama

This brief overview of literacy among slaves of Alabama appears in the chapter titled History of Public Education in Alabama in the volume History of Clarke County by John Simpson Graham in our American County Histories: Southeastern States.

The Instruction of Slaves

Historical writers have given little or no concern to negro education in slave times. Presumably this want of concern has been due to the assumption that there was no such thing as the instruction of slaves, but as a matter of fact there was (see See C. G. Woodson, The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861).

No inconsiderable number of negroes in Alabama came out of slavery with the ability to read and write. At least three causes operated to give to a small proportion of the slave population a modicum of text-book instruction.  These were:

(1) the clandestine efforts of anti-slavery enthusiasts;
(2) the profits accruing to some masters by reason of the ability of their slaves to read, write, and otherwise transact business; and
(3) the kindness of young masters and mistresses in instructing their servants.

There was, moreover, a more or less general feeling that negroes might be permitted to learn to read their Bibles, and what is known as “vocational training” was widespread. But the fear of insurrectionary influence and the spread of abolitionist propaganda led to the legal regulation of slave assemblies and to the creation of the patrol system; and, as the abolitionists became more insistent, the education of slaves, in the case of individuals as well as in assemblies, was prohibited by law.

In making this prohibition, Alabama was neither first nor last among the slave states, but occupied a middle ground; its law was enacted in 1832. These laws generally had the effect of preventing organized effort to instruct the slaves, so that such literacy as negroes possessed when emancipated was of the sort that young masters and mistresses had chosen to give, in disregard of the law, to their favorite servants.

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