Tag Archives: African American History

Rumors Among Slaves in Alabama – 1840

Perry County, Alabama
December 24, 1840

There has been considerable excitement in this State, in reference to disturbances among the black population. The impression is general among them that they are to be free, either after Christmas, or the 4th of March, at farthest.  Great numbers have been examined, but it is evident there is no organization among them—no concerted plans. Some say one thing, some another. One fellow testifies that Van Buren is in the region of Mongomery with 200,000 men to effect their deliverance. Another says, Queen Victoria is coming to Alabama with a British army to deliver them! So you see it is all “moonshine.”


Northup Reunited

Kidnappers of Solomon Northup Caught!

The Northup kidnappers are likely “to do the State some services.” The evidence against them appears to be conclusive; and they are likely to end their base career by TEN YEARS OF SLAVERY in the penitentiary.

Solomon in his Plantation Suit

Solomon in his Plantation Suit

The case presents many remarkable features. A worthy , intelligent, and industrious citizen of this State who is “Guilty of a skin not colored like our own,” is decoyed to the capital of the nation, is there drugged, and while insensibly is dragged to a slave pen, sold, cruelly beaten, and ultimately consigned to the obscurest section of the Red River region.

Twelve years he is subjected to the severe rigors of the slave system; when by a concurrence of the most singular events, he is found out and rescued by an agent acting under commission from the Government of the state.

He returns, published a most interesting narrative of the scenes and sufferings thro’ which he had passed entitled, SOLOMON NORTHUP ; or, “TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE.” Which is read by hundreds of thousands of his fellow citizens and which enlists their warmest sympathies in his behalf.

No one, however, expects to find the guilty perpetrators of the base outrage. But they are found, and a host of the most creditable witnesses rise up, as if by magic to prove there identity and their guilt. The whole case is certainly the most remarkable upon record, and it can only be appreciated by reading the “narrative” in connection with the incidents of the arrest and detention of the kidnappers.

Auburn Daily Advertiser

Illustrations from the Orton & Mulligan edition of "Twelve years a slave. Narrative of Solomon Northup, a citizen of…

Posted by Accessible Archives on Thursday, October 24, 2013


Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: Frederick Douglass Paper
Date: August 4, 1854
Title: The Northup Kidnappers
Location: Rochester, New York

Solomon Northup’s Narrative

You can read the book online below, or download it as a PDF. EPUB, or MOBI (Kindle users should get the MOBI edition).


Top image is Northup’s Arrival Home, and First Meeting with his Wife and Children from the illustrated edition of his book.

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.


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