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Unveiling The Past To Connect The Future...

This page complements Black Facts, is more pictorial in its effect, and depicts the subjects as they appeared at the time of the events with which they are associated. These are by no means their only accomplishments and contributions,  and you should be ecouraged to study more about them and take pride in those accomplishments and milestones in our history.


1517: Black plantation slavery begins in the New world when Spaniards begin importing  slaves from Africa to replace Indians who died from harsh working conditions and exposure to disease.

1746: Lacy Terry composes the poem "Bars Fight" the earliest extant poem by an African-American. Transmitted orally for more than 100 years, it first appears in print in 1855. Consisting of 28 lines in irregular iambic tetrameter, the poem commemorates white settlers who were killed in an encounter with Indians in 1746. Terry was cosidered a born storyteller and poet. She was also a persuasive orator,  successfully negotiating a land case before the Supreme Court of Vermont. She delivered a three-hour address to the board of trustees of Williams College in a vain attempt to gain admittance for one of ner sons.


1799: Richard Allen becomes the first ordained black minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church

1822: Freedman Denmark Vesey plans the most extensive slave revolt in U.S. history. The Charleston rebellion is betrayed before the plan can be effected leading to the hanging of Vesey and 34 others.
1829: Abolitionist David Walker publishes a pamphlet entitled " the Colored Citizens of the World..." calling for a slave revolt.  Radical for the time, it is accepted by a small minority of Abolitionists.


1839: Slaves revolt on the Spanish slave ship Amistad in the Caribbean.  After their arrest in Long Island Sound, former U.S. president John Quincy Adams successfully defends the rebels before the Supreme Court.


1859: Martin R. Delaney, physician and advocate of black nationalism, leads a party to
West Africa to investigate the Niger Delta as a site for settlement of African-Americans.

1862: The second Confiscation Act is passed, stating that slaves of civilian and military Confederate officials "shall be free forever," enforceable only in areas of the South occupied by the Union Army.


1739:  The Stono Rebellion, one of the earliest slave insurrections, leads to the deaths of at least 20 whites and more than 40 blacks west of Charleston in the black-majority colony of South Carolina


1772: Jean-Baptist-Point Du Sable builds a fur-trading port on the Chicago river at Lake Michigan.  Its success leads to the settlement that later becomes the city of Chicago.


1773: Phyllis Wheatley, the first black woman poet in the United States, is acclaimed in Europe and America following publication in England of her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral

1800: Gabriel (Prosser) plans the first major slave rebellion in U.S. history, massing more than 1,000 armed slaves near Richmond, Va. Following the failed revolt, 35 slaves, including Gabriel, are hanged.
1816: The African Methodist Episcopal Church is formally organized and consecrates Richard Allen as its first bishop.


1821: The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is organized, developing from a congregation of blacks who left the John Street Methodist Church in New York City because of discrimination.

1831: Nat Turner leads the only effective, sustained slave rebellion in U.S. history, attracting up to 75 fellow slaves and killing 60 whites. After the defeat of the insurrection Turner is hanged on November 11.
1833: The American Anti-Slavery Society, the main activist arm of the Abolitionist movement, is founded under the leadership of William Lloyd Garrison.

1856: In the ongoing contest between pro and anti slavery forces in Kansas, a mob sacks the town of Lawrence, a "hotbed of abolitionism" leading to retaliation by John Brown at Pottawatomie Creek.
1857: In its Dred Scott decision the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes slavery in all the territories exacerbating the sectional controversy and pushing the nation toward civil war.


1861: The Civil War begins in Charleston, S.C. as the confederates open fire on Fort Sumter


1862: Future U.S. congressman Robert Smalls and 12 other slaves seize control of a Confederate armed frigate in Charleston harbor. They turn it over to a Union naval squadron blockading the city.


1619: A dutch ship with 20 African slaves aboard arrives at the English colony of Jamestown, Virginia.


1790: Benjamin Banneker, mathematician and compiler of almanacs, is appointed by President George Washington to the District of Columbia Commission, where he works on the survey of Washington, D.C.


1793: Congress passes the first Fugitive Slave Act, making it a crime to harbor an escaped slave or to interfere with his or her arrest

1817: The American Colonization Society is established to transport freeborn blacks and emancipated slaves to Africa, leading to foundation of a colony that becomes the Republic of Liberia in 1847.
1820: The Missouri Compromise provides for Missouri to be admitted to the Union as a slave state,  Maine as a free state, and western territories north of Missouri's southern border to be free soil.


1839: William Lloyd Garrison begins publishing the antislavery newspaper The Liberator advocating emancipation for black Americans held in bondage.

1859: Harriet E. Wilson writes Our Nig, a largely autobiographical novel about racism in the North before the Civil War
1859: The U.S. Supreme Court in Ableman v. Booth, overrules an act by Wisconsin state court that declared the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 unconstitutional.


1861: Pinckney Pinchback runs the Confederate blockade on the Mississippi to reach New Orleans; There he recruits a company of black volunteers for the Union, the Corps d'Afrique.

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