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History - Page Text Content

S: Colonial America: African Americans

FC: Colonial America: African Americans | David Thai #27 & Michele Xie #32 | African American History March 8,2012


2: "Walker's Appeal" | David Walker was born in North Carolina in 1796 to a free African American mother and an enslaved father. While growing up, he learned about the many horrors of being enslaved through his father. Although Walker was free, he still witnessed the firsthand degradations of African Americans. At the age of 29, he left North Carolina and opened up a secondhand shop in Boston, MA. | Walker taught himself how to read and write. He also began associating himself with several prominent black activists. In September 1829, he published a booklet, Walker’s Appeal, in Four Articles and became involved with the nations first newspapers written solely by blacks.

3: "Walker's Appeal" Front Page | Walker relied on sailors to transfer his pamphlet to southern parts. Walker’s Appeal made a huge impact throughout the South and affected both slaveholders and slaves. However, slaveholders were afraid that Walker’s book might raise the idea of rebellion so many offered rewards to capture him, alive or dead. Walker mysteriously died in 1830. Many suggest that he was more or less murdered. | Within his published works, he describes the brutal treatments of enslaved men, women, and children and the discrimination all around for African Americans.

4: On April 7, 1712, about twenty-four enslaved African Americans gathered at an orchard and burned down several houses. While white colonists attempted to put out the fire, they were severely attacked and beaten by the African Americans. They swung their axes and knives and fired guns into the flesh of their fellow masters. As a result, nine died and six suffered crucial injuries. Soldiers stationed in New York eventual tracked down and captured the rebels. | A countless number of rebellions occurred between 1600s-1700s. To name a few, in 1658, Native Americans and enslaved African Americans joined forces and burn down homes of many slaveholders. In 1663, white indentured servants and enslaved African Americans in Virginia organized a plan but were turned in by a spy. In 1708, an enslaved African American killed his master’s family in New York. In 1741, about 34 people were killed accused of joining the “Great Negro Plot.” Series of fires and thefts broke out in the city of New York and it was evident that that many African Americans were blamed. Seemingly, more slave codes were passed.

5: The "Great Negro Plot" | Without the presence of a white person, African Americans were unable to gather together in many states and those seen with two or more people were punished. It was required of freed colored people to carry passes signifying their freedom. Blacks were limited to move about in the South.

6: The Stono Uprsing

7: A handful of enslaved African Americans chose to escape and flee into Spanish Florida or live amongst Native Americans. In 1733, the Spanish King offered fugitives their freedom if they aided his army in attacking Great Britain. In 1738, a large number of runaway slaves gathered near St. Augustine and built a fort with their Native American allies, the Seminoles. News quickly spread throughout the South and more runaways continued to increase. On September 9, 1739, twenty African American slaves gathered near the Stono River and appointed by their leader Jeremy, led the daring journey to St. Augustine. They carried various handmade weapons and firearms. Along the way, they killed about twenty to thirty whites and burned down a few plantations. However, a colonial militia eventually caught up with them and killed and wounded many rebels. Nevertheless, stricter slave codes were passed and it was required of white males to carry guns in case any blacks were found violating the law, they were lawfully obliged to shoot them on the spot.

8: Gabriel Prosser | Several free African Americans hosted uprisings throughout Southern states and although many of them failed, many continued to strive and fight towards justice and freedom. | Gabriel Prosser was a 24-year-old enslaved African American owned by Thomas Henry Prosser in Virginia. He was a skilled craftsman and was hired out to work in plantations. In the 1800s, Gabriel began a series of rebellion. He was inspired by a passage in the bible about the enslavement of Israelites in Egypt. Prosser dreamed of leading his people to a “promised land” – an African American state located in the heart of Virginia.

9: During local barbecues where several African Americans were present, Prosser began spreading the word and convincing others to join him. He also convinced his brother Martin and his wife Nanny to join him. In preparation, he advised his followers to hand make swords and several other weapons. Prosser hoped to arm his followers with guns seized from slaveholders. The night of the raid, more than a thousand supporters and followers gathered outside Richmond, VA and advanced into the great thunderstorm. In the midst of Prosser’s uprising, two enslaved African Americans betrayed Prosser and as a result, Governor James Monroe called out 600 troops to capture the rebels. Prosser was caught, along with 35 other rebels, and was put to trial. Prosser was hanged on October 7, 1800. His failed attempt in revolting did not discourage fellow African Americans, so to speak. Many uprisings began to surface throughout other states.

10: Richmond, VA 1800s | Denmark Vesey

11: Born in 1767 in West Africa, Telemanque was captured and sold as a slave at the age of 14. In 1800, the same year Prosser was hanged, Vesey won $1500 in a lottery and spent $600 purchasing his freedom. He used the rest of his money to open up a carpentry shop in Charleston, South Carolina. Vesey studied various French and Haitian revolutions. Soon enough, an interest of aiding slaves in a rebellion grew in the back of his mind. Vesey communicated with slaves on the streets and convinced many to join his future revolt on Charleston. In May 1822, Peter Poyas assisted Vesey in organizing an elaborate plan where they would set up several points of attack around Charleston. Only the two shared in depth information on their plot. However, Peter Devany Prioleau informed authorities of their plot and some 130 African Americans were arrested. Although one confessed, it was enough to sentence everyone to death. As a result, 35 rebels were executed while others were sent to the Caribbean islands. Peter Devany Prioleau was granted a pension of $50 a year and legislature passed severe laws limiting the rights of free African Americans.

12: Nat Turner was born a week before Gabriel Prosser was hanged, on October 2, 1800, in the city of Southampton County, VA. As a young child, Nat envisioned many catastrophic events and overheard supernatural voices. He was internationally known as a “prophet” and many African Americans thought of him as someone with a great purpose. He was also an extremely holy man who practiced religious prayers and devoted his time fasting. Eventually, Turner was convinced to believe that he was sent down from God on a special mission in life. In 1825, Turner envisioned “white spirits and black spirits engaged in battle”. He fathomed his vision as though the Lord wanted him to avenge his overseers and masters. Although Nat Turner longed for the day to stage his uprising, he did not reveal his plans to anyone until he was ready to act.

13: Nat Turner

14: In 1831, Turner gathered up several enslaved African Americans and began a “journey of death”. Unlike Gabriel Prosser and Denmark Vesey, Turner did not assemble large numbers of African Americans nor did he form an elaborate plan. He simply took off with those nearby and began slaughtering white overseers. First the assembled men stopped by the home of Turner’s owner – Joseph Travis – and murdered the entire family. | Nat Turner was captured in 1831

15: As they paved a bloody path of killing all of the white people they encountered, Turner picked up about 50 supporters. In total, they killed about 60 whites. As fear mounted the hearts of Southern white folks, dozens of innocent African Americans were seized and killed. Nat Turner hid for about two months and once caught, the he was immediately hanged on November 5, 1831. Despite the celebrations and gunfire in the air of his capture and death, Nat Turner became a legend among African Americans. Many began spreading stories of “Old Nat’s War”. On the contrary, white plants depicted him as a devil. As more uprisings continued throughout the South, Southern whites quickly realized the danger of slavery. In the angst of so, lawmakers tightened slave codes and limited the few rights African Americans had.

16: Free African Americans in the North and South (1700s-1860) What are some obstacles that the free African Americans have come across?

17: Nancy Gardner Prince was an African American woman born in the 1800s in Newburyport, MA. She traveled to Russia with her husband, Nero Prince, who worked as a personal servant at the court of the czar in St. Petersburg, Russia. Shortly after their arrival in Russia, Nancy opened a dressmaking business where she fabricated elegant dresses for many noblewomen, including the empress at the time. The two stayed in Russia for approximately 10 years and due to inclement weather, her health conditions began to fail. She was forced to return to America alone. Nero decided to stay in Russia to earn some finances before rejoining his wife. Unfortunately, Nero died before he could make such event happen. When she finally returned to America, Nancy resided in Boston, MA where she began another seamstress business.

18: Boston. MA in 1820s | Prior to her arrival in Boston, African Americans living in New England were freed from slavery. Slavery had only been active down South, where the invention of the cotton gin revolutionized a new form of economic growth in Southern states, calling the use of slaves for mass production in less time. Nevertheless, discrimination polluted the air of the entire country where one’s different characteristic and cultural background withheld them from a proper, just treatment.

19: The population of free and enslaved African Americans steadily grew during the years after the American Revolution. In 1800, 11% of African Americans in the country were free; 108,435 out of about one million African Americans at the time were at liberty to live on their own with, however, the shared cruelties and rigorous treatments of their enslaved brothers and sisters. The number of free African Americans began to increase due to the banning of slavery in the North. In 1860, there were about 4.5 million African Americans living in the states; 488,070 were free and more than half resided in the North.

20: Domestic slave trade evolved in the Southern states after lawmakers banned the Transatlantic Slave Trade in 1806. Previous slave owners bred their slaves and forcibly sold their offspring to buyers. Many planters also smuggled slaves from nearby countries such as Barbados and the Caribbean islands. On the contrary, a handful of slaves managed to earn enough money to purchase their freedom while others were freed by their owners. Although many weren’t granted the same fate as their freed brothers and sisters, the option of escaping never seemed to narrow out. Likewise, thousands of African Americans relentlessly gained their freedom by simply running away. Pierre Chastang was an enslaved African American who lived in Mobile, Alabama and due to his war efforts during the War of 1812 and his willingness to aide others during the yellow fever epidemic in 1819, white citizens in his city raised money to purchase his freedom.

21: Southern white folks shared a common fear of free African Americans coming together and collectively organizing a slave rebellion. Therefore, lawmakers felt the need to sharpen the rights of free African Americans by limiting them to certain freedoms, such as denying them the right to vote, have a trial by jury, and to testify against whites. Often times, freed men and women had to show a certificate of freedom in order to find work and blacks in both the South and North shared difficulties in finding work. However, some actually did better financially in a few Southern states. Due to the constant labor shortage in the South, many free African Americans were able to build businesses and earn a living. On the contrary, most freed African Americans were laborers or servants in the North. Finding jobs was difficult, considering the increase of competition since immigrants began flooding the cities in the North around the 1830s, many of who were Irish. Regardless of their poor skills, white folks hired more Irish immigrants over freed blacks simply because of their similar skin color.

22: James Forten | Not every African American at the time lived bitterly. A scarce amount of free African Americans became successful businessmen and entrepreneurs. For example, James Forten was born a free African American in the city of Philadelphia who managed a profitable sail-making business that employed more than 50 black and white workers. Forten also worked toward equal rights for black Pennsylvanians.

23: Furthermore, Paul Cuffe was also a successful entrepreneur. Born in 1759, he was one of the ten children of an enslaved African American male and a free Native American. Soon enough, young Cuffe taught himself mathematics, navigation, and many other seafaring skills and by age 16, he began earning a living through whaling and trade in the Americas and Europe. By 1806, Cuffe owned three large ships and several smaller vessels. Likewise, he fought for equal rights and was eager to teach young men about the science of navigation. He also believed that blacks would endorse a better future if they were sent back to Africa. Therefore, Cuffe paid for a number of African Americans to be transported over in his ships.

24: Paul Cuffe

25: African American children were also banned from attending public schools and many African Americans who attended white churches were forced to sit in separate pews. African Americans realized that by the means of earning an education, one would reach success. Although public schools barred colored children from entering, colored parents managed to pay money to educate themselves and their children. Teachers even opened schools for black children. However, such actions infuriated many white folks, causing many to result in violent, crude actions, such as burning down their personally built schools. Nevertheless, African Americans and some whites continued to set up schools and educate colored kids.

26: Anti-Slavery Almanac

27: Free African Americans began attending colleges and universities, and after graduating, many became doctors, teachers, ministers, and many more successful characters. Eventually, it became common for blacks to be able to read and write. In addition, hundreds of newspapers, pamphlets, and books were written and published to the public which assisted the abolition movements throughout the growing country. During the 1800s, free African Americans formed mutual-aid societies to help aide families that were ill. These societies even established libraries and offered lectures. They also helped runaway slaves resettle in the North during later years. Regardless, there was a constant threat of slave catchers who would kidnap African Americans, free or enslaved, and sell them into slavery in the Deep South.

28: Fredrick Douglass

29: Frederick Douglass was internationally known as a strong-willed abolitionist who worked towards justice and equal opportunity in the 1800s. Born in 1818 in Maryland, Douglass began working in a plantation at the age of 6. At age 8, he was sent to Baltimore to live as a house servant. It was then when his mistress taught him the alphabets. She eventually had to stop because it was unlawful for anyone to be teaching their slaves how to read. Douglass acquired a weak education by giving away his food to neighborhood boys who, in return, taught him a fairly in depth way of reading and writing. America had already condoned 270 years of legalized slavery and Douglass sought out to change that. After attending an anti-slavery convention in 1841, he became a lecturer for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, leading him into public speaking and writing. Douglass also became Abraham Lincoln’s trusted advisor. He lived a life of honor and success, “What is possible for me is possible for you” he daringly states.

30: Migrating to Canada was also a favorable option; one that many supported and chose to do. Although white Southerners were anxious to remove free African Americans and send them away, they were not. They have accepted the United States as their home and therefore, many African Americans opposed the idea of colonization. Whites in the South established the American Colonization Society in 1817 in an attempt to eradicate blacks and move them to a set up colony in Liberia, Africa. A meeting held in Philadelphia reprimanded the concept of resettling African Americans. | Slowly but surely, free African Americans in the 1800s lived in a bitter life in the shadows of slavery. Reality was flawed with discrimination and racism, all of which was painted cruelly in an attempt to demean African Americans. Nevertheless, blacks kept their dreams of freedom and liberty alive. In hopes of saving those who were unable to speak up and were still enslaved, many never gave up. In the angst of advocating rights and justice, white folks continued to knock down African Americans. In return, many stood up, brushed the dirt from their knees, and continued fighting for a better future.

32: Bibliography: | Bellis, Mary. (2012). The Cotton Gin and Eli Whitney. Retrieved from http://inventors.about.com/od/cstartinventions/a/cotton_gin.htm Gilbert, Ruth. (2012). Forten, James. Retrieved from http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/bios/Forten__James.html Friends General Conference. (2012). Paul Cuffe. Retrieved from http://www.fgcquaker.org/fit-for-freedom/paul-cuffe Friends General Conference. (2012). A Short Biography of Frederick Douglass. Retrieved from http://www.frederickdouglass.org/douglass_bio.html | PBS. (2012). Gabriel’s Conspiracy. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part3/3p1576.html Gale Group. (2001). Denmark Vesey. Retrieved from http://www.africawithin.com/bios/denmark_vesey.htm PBS. (2012). Nat Turner’s Rebellion. Retrived from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part3/3p1518.html PBS. (2012). Denmark Vesey. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/thisfarbyfaith/people/denmark_vesey.html Blackpast. (2012). Nancy Gardner Prince. Retrieved from http://www.blackpast.org/?q=aah/prince-nancy-gardner-1799-c-1856

33: Picture Links: | http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/walker/walkertp.jpg http://www.myblackhistory.net/great%20negro%20plot.jpg http://buzz.7hills.org/groups/ushiswenger11/wiki/3dfb7/images/7c1e7.jpg http://www.blackpast.org/files/blackpast_images/stono_rebellion.jpg http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-t5P5-l2fWac/TadEECe4dEI/AAAAAAAAADU/rmWelzwUJ10/s1600/scroll.png http://www.wntb.com/blackhistory/gabrielprosser/gabrielprosserpict.jpg http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-8gaE8hvUEKk/ToFOjytbJnI/AAAAAAAAEVA/43HVNZqpt_o/s1600/NY2_274.jpg http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/amsterdamnews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/fc/5fc538e0-540d-11e1-9298-001871e3ce6c/4f3554f7e9dfd.preview-300.jpg http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-FxF4tCnYakk/TWbG5BeJtoI/AAAAAAAAI4o/k3jLOqEzh9g/s400/paul+cuffe-01.jpg

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Michele Xie
  • By: Michele X.
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  • Title: History
  • African Americans during colonial America
  • Tags: African Americans
  • Published: almost 7 years ago