Frederick Douglass

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Nat Turner


Nat Turner was a black preacher who led an 1831 uprising in Southampton County, Virginia in which at least 55 whites were killed by a group of about 50 slaves. Turner was a deeply religious man who claimed to have visions and directives from God. On the night of 21 August 1831 he led four other slaves (Henry, Hark, Nelson and Sam) on a murderous spree near the town of Jerusalem, killing men, women and children in their beds. By the next day his mob had grown to at least 40 or 50, but the local militia confronted and captured most of them. Turner escaped, but was eventually captured in October and tried. He was hanged and skinned 11 November 1831. Before he was executed, he described his actions to Thomas R. Gray, and “The Confessions of Nat Turner” was later widely published in newspapers. Turner’s failed rebellion led to hundreds of blacks being murdered by white vigilante mobs, and spurred a new set of strict codes that limited the activities of slaves.

6. James Somersett

image from abolitionist pamphlet

James Somerset or Somersett was a young African slave who was purchased by Charles Stuart in Virginia in 1749. Stuart was involved in English government service and traveled as part of his duties accompanied by Somerset, who at the time did not have a first name. In 1769, Stuart along with Somersett traveled to England. While in England, Somersett met and became involved with people associated with the anti-slavery movement in England including the well known activist Granville Sharp. During this period, Somersett was christened with the name James in a church ceremony. Somersett was recaptured after escaping, and his trial ultimately spelt the end of slavery in England (though not English participation in slavery in its other nations).

Frederick Douglass


Born in bondage on the eastern shore of Maryland, Douglass worked for several different slaveholders in both eastern Maryland and Baltimore between 1818 and 1838. During his youth, Douglass became proficiently literate by reading the Bible and classic orations and listening to the sermons of antislavery black preachers and Quakers. These experiences later contributed to his unyielding abolitionism and fierce egalitarianism. In 1838, while a ship caulker’s apprentice, Douglass acquired free seaman papers and escaped to New York City. He then moved to Massachusetts and became involved in antislavery activism, under the tutelage of William Lloyd Garrison. Eventually rejecting the apolitical nature of Garrisonian abolitionism, Douglass moved to Rochester, New York, and founded his own abolition journal, The North Star. website for below:

  1. Frederick Douglass

    • Frederick Douglass, born a slave in 1818, learned to read and write at the age of eight by giving his food away to the neighborhood boys, who in turn taught him the intricacies of reading and writing. After escaping from slavery at the age of 20, he became a staunch abolitionist who fought slavery with pen and paper by publishing his own newspaper and writing three autobiographies focusing on the ills associated with slavery.

Sojourner Truth

    • Sojourner Truth, born Isabella Baumfree, gained the name Sojourner Truth because of her role as a traveler telling the truth about the evils and destructiveness of slavery. After her freedom was bought for just $25, she went on a sort of truth-telling mission, telling all who would listen of the horrors she experienced as a slave. These speaking sessions were so emotionally moving that audiences were often brought to tears.

Harriet Tubman

    • Name "Moses" for her freedom missions using the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman led many slaves to freedom during her daring and dangerous excursions. She longed so much for freedom that she started the Underground Railroad after escaping from slavery, leaving a hesitant husband behind. She began by returning to slave territory and rescuing her sister from bondage. After this successful attempt, she was compelled to continue her perilous pursuit to free others.

Benjamin Banneker

    • Benjamin Banneker stood out as an astute and intelligent man of great dignity and character. He had very little formal education but assisted in the surveying of land in the Eastern United States. He created his own almanac for the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, which was published from 1792 through 1797. He corresponded continually with Thomas Jefferson, urging him to work for the abolition of slavery.

Phillis Wheatley

    • Phillis Wheatley, one of the most accomplished writers of the slavery era, is considered the first African American to have published a book, and the first African American woman to earn a living from writing. Because of her undeniable interest in poetry, her slave owners financed the publication of her book of poetry entitled "Poems." Wheatley's success was pervasive, as she was as popular in England as she was in the United States.

The following information was taken from different areas of Wikipedia

These African-Americans are famous for fighting against slavery. Learn more about their lives.

Frederick Douglass
One of the most important Black Americans in the history of the country was Frederick Douglass. Find out more about this outspoken foe of slavery.

Harriet Tubman
The "Moses" of her people, she escorted more than 300 slaves to safety. Find out more about this extraordinary woman.

Sojourner Truth
Born into slavery and never able to read or write, she nonetheless was a tired and famous advocate for both abolition and women's voting rights.

Josiah Henson
Read the story of the man who was the inspiration for Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Booker T. Washington (1856–1915), born into slavery, became an American educator, author and leader of the African-American community after the Civil War.

Cinque, leader of the slaves in a slave rebellion on a ship and the Amistad v. United States case in 1839

Dred Scott (c. 1799–1858), attempted to sue for his freedom in Scott v. Sandford.

Gabriel Prosser (1776–1800), leader of Virginia slave revolt

George Washington Carver (1864–1943) an American scientist, botanist, educator and inventor, born in slavery and freed as a yiung child by the Emancipoation Procalmation.

Hercules (chef), head cook at George Washington's plantation Mount Vernon. Escaped and gained his freedom in 1797, but his wife Alice and his three children: Richmond, Evey and Delia remained in slavery.

 Ida B. Wells, African American activist, born a slave, who in later life campaigned against – and succeeded in abolishing – lynching

Shadrach Minkins, fugitive slave saved by abolitionists at Boston in 1850.

York, an African-American slave on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

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