1. For a biographical background on Isaac Myers, see the introduction and Doc. 7 in Part XI, Vol. I.
2. Henry McNeal Turner (1843–1915) was born in Columbia, South Carolina, of free Negro parents, and in 1855 moved to Macon, where he joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church and became a preacher. “His eloquence,” a church paper noted later, “attracted the attention of the white citizens, who considered him to be ‘too smart a nigger’ to remain in the South, and he was obliged to leave.” Turner went to Baltimore and finally to Washington as pastor of Israel Bethel Church. Here he rapidly became a leader of the Negro community and an outstanding and militant fighter for racial justice in the capital. In 1863 he was appointed by President Lincoln as chaplain to the first United States Negro troops. After the war Turner moved to Georgia, where he continued preaching and played a prominent part in Reconstruction politics.
Before he was declared ineligible for membership in the Georgia House, Turner had introduced two bills of a progressive nature, neither of which was passed. One called for an eight-hour day for laborers and the other sought to prevent common carriers “from distinguishing between white and colored persons in the quality of accommodations furnished.”
In 1880 Turner was ordained Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
During the years between Reconstruction and World War I, Turner became the chief advocate of emigration of black Americans to Africa. He became convinced that there was no future for the Negro in the United States, dominated as it was by white racism, and his conviction was fully fixed in 1883, when the Supreme Court nullified the Civil Rights Act of 1875, in a decision which declared that the federal government could not prevent racial discrimination by private parties. During the 1890s Turner organized several attempts to transport blacks to Africa and through his newspaper the Voice of Missions, urged Afro-American emigration. He died in Windsor, Canada in 1915.
Jefferson Franklin Long (1836–1900) was born a slave near Knoxville, Georgia. As a youth he moved to Macon, where he learned the tailor’s trade, and eventually opened his own shop. After the Civil War, Long entered an equally successful political career. In 1871 he became a member of the United States House of Representatives, the only black congressman from the state of Georgia. In March 1871, when his term expired, he returned to Macon and declined to run for political office again.
3. The Freedmen’s Savings and Trust Company was chartered by the federal government in 1865 specifically to provide banking services for freedmen. Two-thirds of the deposits were to be invested in United States securities. Between April 1865 and 1872 thirty–four branches were established, nearly all of them in southern cities and deposits totaled about $3,000,000. Throughout its existence poor investment policy and faulty business practices plagued the institution. In an attempt to save the bank, Frederick Douglass became its president, but it was too little too late. Political influence secured loans for a few privileged financiers, such as Jay Cooke who borrowed large sums at excessively low interest rates, while still other speculators saddled the bank with bad loans. Douglass’ efforts failed and the bank was closed in June 1874. Thousands of black depositors lost their hard-earned savings.
4. Joseph E. Bryant was a leading figure in the Republican Party of Georgia. He edited a Radical newspaper, the Loyal Georgian, published in Augusta.
5. The Union League of America was organized in the North to rally support for the Union effort during the Civil War. After the war it became a (sort of) benevolent association operating in the South to protect Republican Party gains, and recruited members primarily among the freedmen. Negro members were taught their political rights, and in return, blacks looked to the local League for advice when they knew it would not be forthcoming from other quarters. Consequently, the Union League became important in the South during Reconstruction as a mechanism for delivering black votes to the Republican Party.
6. For a discussion of this practice among planters of “dealing in supplies for their hands” and its abuses, see pp. 24, 26, 349.
7. “John Chinaman” was a common expression, sometimes of derision, referring to the Chinese labor which entered the United States through California during the post-Civil War industrial expansion. Usually contracted for pitifully low wages in order to receive passage to America, they depressed the price of labor and thus stirred considerable resentment among Euro-American workers.
8. The Fifteenth Amendment was passed in 1870 as part of the Radical program for Reconstruction. It states that the right of citizens to vote shall not be denied or abridged “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Although the intention was to ensure Negroes the right to vote, it remained a dead letter until nearly a century later when the mechanisms utilized to subvert the amendment were outlawed during the civil rights movement of the twentieth century.
9. The city referred to was New York City where the National Anti-Slavery Standard was published.
10. For biographical background on Lewis H. Douglass, see the introduction to Part IX, Vol. I.
11. For biographical background on George T. Downing, see note 48, Vol. I.
12. For background on the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company, organized by Isaac Myers in Baltimore, Maryland, see Part XI, Doc. 7, 11–13, Vol. I.
13. Prior to the Civil War blacks in Baltimore had no building for public meetings, except churches. Consequently, in 1863, several local black leaders purchased a large three-story building on Lexington Street for that purpose. They named it the Douglass Institute after Frederick Douglass, “the grand old man from Maryland.” In addition to public entertainment, the hall also provided a meeting place for fraternal orders. Douglass Institute served in this capacity for twenty years until it was converted to a fire-engine house.
14. Robert Browne Elliott (1842–1884) was born free in Boston, of West Indian descent. Although there is some debate over the authenticity of his own account, he claimed to have been educated first in Jamaica and then in England, where he graduated from Eton with honors in 1859. While in England he also studied law, and was admitted to the bar and practiced in Columbia, South Carolina. After serving as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from July 6, 1868, to October 23, 1870, and as assistant adjutant general of South Carolina, 1869–71, he was elected as a Republican to the Forty-second Congress from the Third District of South Carolina. He was reelected, but resigned on November 1, 1874, and returned to the South Carolina House of Representatives, where he became speaker. Elliott Spoke French, German, Spanish and Latin, and had the largest private library in the state of South Carolina. He was considered one of the greatest black orators up to that time in American history.
15. The Hon. Franklin J. Moses, Jr. (1838–1906) was born in South Carolina. His father was a prominent Carolinian, serving in the state Senate from 1842 to 1862, as circuit judge, and then as chief justice of the state from 1868 until his death in 1877. As a youth Franklin went into politics, but enlisted in the Confederate Army when the Civil War broke out, and rose to the rank of colonel. In 1866 Moses was admitted to the bar and began editing the Sumter News between 1866 and 1867. Moses’ editorials became so radical, however, that he was dismissed from the editor’s post. In 1868 he was elected as a delegate to the constitutional convention, and served in the new state government as Speaker of the House of Representatives. In 1872 he was elected governor by a landslide and served for two years. When he finished his term as governor, the scandal and corruption which characterized his administration left him a ruined man. His wife, family, and friends deserted him, and he moved to Massachusetts where he was plagued by poverty, drug addiction and served several prison terms for theft.
16. Jonathan J. Wright (1840–1885) was the first Negro admitted to the Pennsylvania bar. In 1865 he went to Beaufort, South Carolina, to organize schools for freedmen under the auspices of the American Missionary Association. From 1866 to 1868, Wright served with the Freedmen’s Bureau as a legal consultant, then left the Bureau for politics. He was elected as a delegate to the 1868 constitutional convention, and then became state senator from Beaufort, South Carolina. In 1870, Wright was elected associate justice of the state supreme court where he served until 1877 when he resigned from the post.
17. Francis L. Cardozo (1836–1903) was a freeborn son of a Jewish economist in Charleston, South Carolina, by a woman of mixed blood. After his elementary schooling, he became a journeyman carpenter. His savings, gained through summer employment and a $1,000 scholarship, enabled him to go to the University of Glasgow and then for two years to a theological school in London. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was a Presbyterian minister in New Haven. When the conflict ended, he went as a principal to Avery Institute in Charleston and entered politics. Cardozo served as a delegate to the 1868 constitutional convention and subsequently was elected South Carolina Secretary of State. In 1872 the people elected him state treasurer and he was reelected in 1877. In 1878, Cardozo received an appointment in the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., and between 1884 and 1896, he served as principal of Colored High School in the capitol city.
18. Alonzo J. Ransier (1834–1882) was born free in Charleston, South Carolina, where he worked as a shipping clerk. After the Civil War he became active in politics, and in 1866 attended the state’s first Republican Convention. In 1868 Ransier served as chairman of the Republican State Executive Committee. He accepted the nomination for lieutenant governor and in 1870 was elected to that post. In 1873 Ransier was elected to a seat in the United States House of Representatives, which he occupied for two terms. When the state was regained by the White Democrats in 1876, Ransier’s fate was sealed, and when he died in 1882, he was a day-laborer for the city government.
19. Robert Carlos De Large (1842–1874) was born a slave in Aiken, South Carolina, where he became a successful farmer. Entering politics in 1868, he served as a delegate at the constitutional convention, and later won election to a two-year term in the state assembly. When his term was up in 1870, De Large became Land Commissioner and then was nominated and elected to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives under suspicious conditions. The election was challenged and the seat declared vacant. When he returned to South Carolina, he was appointed a magistrate in Charleston, but died soon afterward.
Thomas J. Mackey was a white Republican who played a secondary role in the Republican government of South Carolina after the Civil War. A vice president of the Liberty League, he was elected as a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1868. He also was a delegate to several Republican conventions and became a county judge, probably for his active campaigning for the corrupt administration of Franklin Moses. Even though Mackey held no major political office, he ranked high in the Charleston News Courier’s “guilt by association” list (November 25, 1874). That Mackey’s Radical Republicanism was a matter of convenience rather than principle was evidenced in 1876 when he dumped the Republican candidate Daniel Chamberlain to support the Redeemer candidate Wade Hampton after it became apparent that Republican rule was over.
20. For biographical background on the Hon. William Whipper, see Vol. I, note 29.
21. Joseph Hayne Rainey (1832–1887) was the first Negro to serve in the House of Representatives. Born in Georgetown, South Carolina, he received a limited education and followed the trade of barber. In 1862 he was drafted to work on the Confederate fortifications in Charleston harbor, but he eventually escaped to the West Indies and did not return to South Carolina until the end of the Civil War. In 1868 Rainey became a delegate to the state constitutional convention, and a year later he was elected to the state senate. He resigned in 1870 and was elected to the Forty-first Congress from the First District of South Carolina.
22. “H. H.” refers to Henry Highland Garnet. For biographical background on Garnet, see Vol. I, note 54.
23. A. A. Bradley was a black state senator in the Georgia legislature.
24. Alexander H. Troup was the treasurer of the National Typographical Union, and represented the Boston Workingmen’s Assembly at the founding of the National Labor Union.
25. Magna Carta, the Great Charter of the liberties of England, was granted by King John to the barons at Runnymede on June 15, 1215. The main provision granted that no freeman could be imprisoned, banished, or put to death except in accordance with the established law.
“Christopher Attick” apparently refers to Crispus Attucks, a black sailor of Boston who was shot in the so-called Boston Massacre. A runaway slave, the forty-seven year old Attucks was in a tavern with several of his associates when a disturbance in the streets brought them out to join in the harassing of a column of British troops. Attucks was supposed to have shouted, “The way to get rid of these soldiers is to attack the main guard.” Several of Captain Preston’s company fired upon their tormentors, and Attucks fell first followed by two others who died with him. An additional two men died later from wounds.
Saint Crispin was the legendary saint of shoemakers, dating back to early Medieval European mythology. He was honored each year in a festival on October 25, generally conducted by the shoemakers’ guilds. Under the strains of high unemployment in the American shoe industry during the post-Civil War years, Saint Crispin was recalled into service.
Newell Daniels and six other tradesmen met in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on March 1, 1867, and formed a union called the Knights of St. Crispin. The K.S.C. focused their attention primarily on gaining control over the labor supply by control over the apprenticeship programs. Although most of the K.S.C. members opposed the introduction of machinery into the industry, the K.S.C. acquiesced to the inevitable if skilled shoemakers operated the machines. The union grew quickly, but the loss of the 1872 strike at Lynn, Massachusetts, presaged its downfall, and within a few years the union was dead. A new K.S.C. appeared in 1875, but it had an insignificant impact and disappeared in 1878.
26. The “efforts to oust Mr. Douglass from the Government printing office” is a reference to the exclusion of Frederick Douglass’ son Lewis H. Douglass from the Columbia Typographical Union. See Vol. I, Part IX.
27. Richard F. Trevellick (1830–1895) was born on St. Mary’s in the Scilly Islands off the southwestern tip of England. He became a ship’s carpenter and traveled to the Far East. Even as a youth he was known as an outspoken labor reformer, especially favoring the eight-hour day. He arrived in New Orleans in 1857, where he became the local union president for the ship carpenters’ and caulkers’ union, and successfully fought for the nine-hour day. When the Civil War came, he moved to Detroit and became the first president of the Detroit Trades Assembly. In 1865 Trevellick became president of the International Union of Ship Carpenters and Caulkers, and in 1869, 1871, and 1872, respectively, served as president of the National Labor Union.
A tireless labor organizer and reformer, Trevellick fought for the eight-hour day, led the fight against the blacklist, and advocated complete exclusion of Chinese contract labor. After the Panic of 1873, Trevellick fell under the influence of the Greenback movement, and thereafter advocated inflation as a means of relieving depressions. Helping to establish the Greenback Party in 1876, he served as temporary chairman of the 1878 convention in Toledo which formed the National Greenback-Labor Party and chaired the 1880 convention. Trevellick was one of the most influential leaders of the early labor movement.
28. For biographical background on John M. Langston, see Vol. I, note 61.
29. James T. Rapier was born in Florence, Alabama in 1839 of a white and black mother. His father acknowledged him as a “natural son” and sent him to Montreal College in Canada and the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Returning to Alabama after the Civil War, Rapier was successively a delegate to the Reconstruction constitutional convention, newspaper editor, labor organizer and secretary of the Alabama Equal Rights League. In 1872 he was elected to Congress from the second Congressional District of Alabama. He served one term, during which he fought repeatedly for civil rights. Rapier died in 1883.
30. “Patriots of Cuba” is a reference to the liberation fighters in Cuba. In 1868, young Cubans met secretly and drafted el grito de yara calling for the island’s independence from Spanish rule. The declaration marked the beginning of the Ten Years’ War (1868–1878) between Spanish troops and the poorly armed guerillas. No less than 200,000 lives and about $700 million in property were lost in the struggle. While this war seemed futile, it did fix the determination of the Cuban people to be free, and produced heroes who became the idols of future generations. Perhaps the most significant of these heroes was Antonio Maceo, a mulatto.
31. Oliver Otis Howard (1830–1909) was born at Leeds, Maine, and attended Bowdoin College from which he graduated in 1850. He attended West Point and graduated in 1854. After brief service in Florida, and a teaching post at West Point, he became a colonel of the 3rd Maine Regiment when the Civil War broke out in 1861 and rose to the rank of brigadier-general in the regular army. During the war he participated in numerous battles, and commanded the right wing of Sherman’s army as it cut a wide and destructive swath through the South on its way to the Atlantic coast.
On May 12, 1865, President Andrew Johnson appointed Howard Commissioner of the newly established Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. Charges of corruption troubled Howard and the Bureau, and in 1870 a congressional committee investigated the Bureau and exonerated him. Howard championed the rights of the freedmen and put up a vigorous fight against racial prejudice. He was otherwise active in organizing a Congregational church in Washington, D.C., and demanded the admission of blacks. He was instrumental in founding Howard University, becoming its president between 1869 and 1874 when he resigned. Howard also served as president of the Freedmen’s Bank for a time. In 1874 he was given command of the Department of Columbia, and during the late 1870s campaigned against several of the northwestern Indian tribes. In 1886 Howard became commander of the Division of the East until his retirement in 1894.
Howard retired to live in Burlington, Vermont, where he died. In his last years he wrote a number of books on a variety of topics and constantly contributed articles to magazines.
32. The New Era became the New National Era in the summer of 1871. It was published by Frederick Douglass and his son Lewis H. Douglass in Washington, D.C., during the decade of the 1870s.
33. Jermain W. Loguen (1814–1872) was born a slave in Maury County, Tennessee. Escaping to Canada, he moved on to Oneida, New York, where he studied and became an African Methodist Episcopal Zion minister. Loguen served as pastor, successfully, in Ithaca, Troy, and Syracuse, New York. A tireless advocate of human rights, and an ardent opponent of slavery, in 1859 Loguen published his autobiography, and in 1868 he was elected an A.M.E.Z. bishop.
34. Henry Wilson (1812–1875) was born at Farmingham, New Hampshire, and given the name Jeremiah Jones Colbath. So poor were his parents that the boy was indentured at age ten. Neighbors instructed the youth until he was thoroughly well-read in the classics. At twenty-one he was released from bonded labor, and immediately changed his name.
Once on his own, Wilson learned the shoemaker’s trade, hoping to save enough money to study law. Meanwhile, he read voraciously and learned the art of public speaking and debating. On a trip to Virginia, Wilson witnessed the heated debates over slavery in the nation’s capitol, saw slaves being sold in pens, and vowed to spend his life in the cause of emancipation. Back in Natick, Massachusetts, Wilson established a moderately successful shoe factory. But his interest lay in politics rather than business, and Wilson immersed himself in Whig politics and anti-slavery. In 1848 he helped establish the Free Soil Party when the Whigs made no stand on the Wilmot Proviso. From 1848 to 1851 Wilson edited the Boston Republican, and helped Charles Sumner (see note 39) win election to the U.S. Senate. In 1851 and 1852 Wilson served as president of the state Senate. After a brief flirtation with the Know-Nothings, he led a walk-out of anti-slavery men which effectively dismembered that party.
In January 1855 Wilson was elected to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat, and in his first speech aligned himself with the Anti-slavery men, a position he adhered to without wavering. When the Civil War broke out, he returned to Massachusetts and organized about 2,300 men in a little over one month. He constantly urged emancipation as a war measure, and reported a bill which would establish the Freedmen’s Bureau. He opposed Johnson’s Reconstruction and joined the Radicals in demanding harsher penalties of the ex-Confederates. In 1872 he was nominated for the Republican vice-presidential slot. An effective presiding officer, Wilson was, however, in poor health, and in November 1875 he suffered a paralytic stroke which caused his death. Wilson was one of the true “crusaders” of anti-slavery, and blacks recognized and respected him accordingly.
35. Jay Cooke (1821–1905), financier, was born in Sandusky, Ohio, to a father who practiced law and served in the U.S. Congress. After serving as a clerk for several years, Jay Cooke went into banking and, for the rest of his life he resided in Philadelphia. In 1861 he formed a partnership of his own, Jay Cooke & Company, one of the best-known firms in the nation.
Cooke enjoyed intimate relationships with key government officials such as Salmon Chase of Ohio, who became Secretary of the Treasury in 1861, and used his connections to good advantage. During the Civil War, Cooke successfully sold $2,000,000 in short-term bonds to Philadelphia bankers in order to help finance the war. A few days later, he sold another $50,000,000 to New York bankers. To capitalize on these government connections, Cooke & Company established an office in Washington, D.C. After 1864 he helped to promote the purchase of $500,000,000 in government bonds to over one million citizens. In 1865 Cooke once again became the government’s “fiscal agent” and helped promote the sale of over $600,000,000 in government securities.
When the war ended, Cooke & Company expanded into the general banking business with branches in all the key financial markets, such as New York and London. Cooke became involved in numerous industrial schemes which required large amounts of capital, such as the Central Pacific Railroad. Cooke & Company speculations were too expansive, however, and when the company shut its doors in 1873, a general depression ensued.
36. The “finest landscape painter” in America is a reference to one of two black painters, both of whom might qualify for that distinction. Edward M. Bannister (1828–1901) was born in New Brunswick, Canada, and without formal instruction became one of the great landscape painters in America. In 1876 he was one of the two black artists to exhibit at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Bannister also founded the Providence Art Club in Rhode Island, where he made his home.
Robert Duncanson (1821–1872) was a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1840 the local Freedmen’s Aid Society sent him to study art in Glasgow, Scotland, for three years. Although he painted several well-known portraits, his forte was landscapes and he received international recognition for his work.
The “finest sculptress in America” is an obvious reference to Edmonia Lewis (1845–1890), the first black woman to be recognized as a sculptor. Born in Greenhigh, Ohio, to a Chippewa Indian mother and Negro father, she was educated at Oberlin College with the financial assistance of several abolitionists who recognized her talents. After graduation she moved to Boston and studied with Edmund Brackett. She resided in Rome from 1867 to 1884 but sent much of her work to the United States to be exhibited. Her most famous work, “The Death of Cleopatra,” was exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876. The only other Negro artist to have his work on exhibit at the Exposition of 1876 was Edward M. Bannister.
“The noble Andrew of Mass.” probably refers to Andrew C. Cameron (1834–1890), printer, and an active member of the Typographical Union. Cameron also edited the Workingman’s Advocate of Chicago from 1864 to 1880, and was known as the greatest labor editor of his time. For six years he served as chairman of the Platform Committee of the National Labor Union, and was its delegate to the International Workingmen’s Association convention in 1869 at Basle (now Basel), Switzerland.
37. William D. Kelley (1814–1890) was a native of Philadelphia, where his father was a leading jeweler. Kelley himself became a jeweler’s apprentice, and moved to Boston when his term of indenture expired in 1834. Kelley studied on his own and in 1838 returned to Philadelphia to read law. Admitted to the bar in 1841, by 1847 Kelley was appointed judge of the court of common pleas.
Kelley abhorred slavery and became one of the founders of the Republic can Party. In 1860 he was elected to Congress, and thereafter reelected to fourteen terms. He supported a vigorous prosecution of the Civil War and backed all measures for the abolition of slavery. During Reconstruction he became a leading Radical in the House. Kelley also became a leading advocate of protection for American industries through a high tariff, especially for iron and steel (for which he received the nickname “Pig Iron”).
38. Josephine Sophie White Griffing (1814–1872), social reformer, was born at Hebron, Connecticut, a farmer’s daughter. She married Charles Griffing, a Hebron mechanic, in 1842 and the couple moved to Ohio. Both became intensely involved in the abolitionist movement, organizing and lecturing against slavery in the West, and maintaining a station on the Underground Railroad.
Josephine Griffing also became involved in the feminist movement in 1848. She constantly worked for these twin movements and made her messages more palatable by blending them with a musical program. When the Civil War erupted, she volunteered to work with the freedmen, and in 1863 journeyed to Washington to petition for aid in their education, acquistion of land, and emergency relief. Helping to establish the Freedmen’s Bureau, she became a commissioner of the Bureau.
Following the war Mrs. Griffing assisted in founding the Universal Franchise Association in Washington, D.C., to lobby for woman’s suffrage, and also served as corresponding secretary for the National Woman’s Suffrage Association.
39. Senator Charles Sumner (1811–1874) was the most notable of anti–slavery senators to serve in that body. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Sumner attended Boston Latin School, Harvard College, and Harvard Law School (1831–1833), where he became a close associate of the famous jurist Joseph Story. He found the work in a law office weary, but finally entered upon his true calling when, in 1845, he was selected as the orator for Boston’s Independence Day celebration. The magic of his oratory captivated the massive audience and brought Sumner into close association with leading lecturers and reformers of his day. Henceforth, Sumner became a leading spokesman for the peace movement and the abolitionist movement.
Sumner entered the U.S. Senate in December 1851, where he thrilled the northern reformers and angered the southern conservatives. He played a large role in the formation of the Republican Party and took a lofty position on most issues which were agitated during the stormy decades of the 1850s and 1860s. For one outspoken speech, Sumner was severely beaten with a cane by Representative Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina, and sustained injuries from which he never fully recovered.
At the October 1861 Republican convention, Sumner was the first significant politician to urge emancipation of the slaves. As early as February 1862, Sumner had begun the struggle to secure equal civil rights for all Americans, and articulated his belief that the southern states abdicated their constitutional rights when they seceded. In cooperation with Thaddeus Stevens (see note 57), Sumner led in the implementation of Radical Reconstruction in the post-war South. Sumner also came into direct conflict with President Grant over the acquisition of Santo Domingo, which resulted in the senator’s demotion from his powerful position as chairman of the committee on Foreign relations. It was the beginning of Sumner’s rapid downward slide from the pinnacles of power. He was considered an anti-slavery man, and for years spoke out on the issue. After the war his emotionalism on the point of equality rendered him little service in that fight. The Civil Rights Bill of 1875, which guaranteed open access to public accommodations, was, however, largely a result of his labors.
40. The “Vicksburg general at the White House” refers to General Ulysses S. Grant who became President of the United States from 1868 to 1876.
41. “John Brown’s Body” was the popular title of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which immortalized the radical anti-slavery John Brown who led an attack on the arsenal at Harpers’ Ferry, Virginia, in October 1859 as a protest against slavery.
42. In 1619 a Dutch vessel anchored off Jamestown, Virginia, and traded “20 negars” for water and provisions. These twenty Africans are traditionally accepted as the first African slaves in the American colonies.
43. For biographical background on Denmark Vesey, leader of the abortive plot to lead a slave insurrection in 1822 in Charleston, S. C., see Vol. I, note 2.
For biographical background on Nat Turner, the leader of America’s bloodiest insurrection, which occurred in 1831 in Southampton County, Va., see Vol. I, note 2.
Regarding the identity of “a colored lady by the name of Deveaux,” Henry Allen Bullock says the following: “The foundations for a freedmen’s school system was strong. With the strong and obvious motivations had come white and Negro teachers whose past deeds in the field of Negro education left no question of their sincerity. . . . there were those who through sheer courage and moral commitment had managed to maintain schools for Negroes throughout the crisis [Civil War]. One such educator, found in Savannah, Georgia, when the Union Army moved in, was a Negro woman whom tradition knows only as ‘Miss Deaveaux.’ She had been teaching a private school in the same building since 1838. Although quite advanced in years, she was still teaching with great earnestness and zeal. Her stories of how she had carried out her work in secret, eluding for more than a quarter of a century ‘the lynx-eyed vigilance of the slave-holders,’ adequately reflected the tenacity of the leadership that kept the Negro’s hidden passage open until revolutionary changes could bring it from underground.” Henry Allen Bullock, A History of Negro Education in the South, From 1619 to the Present (New York, 1967), p. 25.
44. For an explanation of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln which took effect January 1, 1863, see Vol. I, note 14.
45. For background on the American Colonization Society, see Vol. I, note 45.
46. For an explanation of the “eight-hour law,” see Vol. I, notes 58 and 69.
47. The term “land monopoly” is a reference to the practice among southern white property owners in the Reconstruction South of refusing to sell land to Negroes.
48. During the ante-bellum period, the major evangelical denominations in the United States were fractured over the issue of slavery, and tended to split into northern and southern wings. Even though the Congretationalists had no southern churches at all before the war, they were plagued by the issue as well, with pro and anti-slavery forces within the church jockeying for power within the denomination. The American Missionary Association was founded in 1846 when the abolitionists failed to gain control over the Congregational missionary societies. Although the AMA was nominally nonsectarian, it nevertheless remained primarily a Congregationalist organization. During the war the AMA founded the first schools for freedmen in the South, and thereafter education of blacks became its primary concern. The AMA was responsible for the founding of many black secondary and collegiate institutions in the South, including Fisk, Straight and Clark universities, and Tougaloo, Claflin, and Morgan Colleges.
49. For an explanation of the National Bureau of Labor founded by the Colored National Labor Union, see p. 69, Article III of the CNLU constitution.
50. Samuel P. Cummins was highly active in the labor movement of Massachusetts during the 1860s as a leader in the Knights of St. Crispin (see note 25). He also played a prominent role in the National Labor Union.
51. George Myers was the brother of Isaac Myers, founder and first president of the Colored National Labor Union.
52. African Colonization Society is used in the original document, but it is clear from the text of the resolution, and the subsequent reference to the American Colonization Society, that the latter is the organization to which the protest referred. For a background discussion of the ACS, see Vol. I, note 45.
53. Henry Wilson, “New Departure of the Republican Party,” The Atlantic Monthly 27 (January 1871): 104–120. In this article Senator Wilson called upon the Republican Party to reaffirm its commitment to the advancement of equal rights for all Americans regardless of race.
54. George F. Hoar (1826–1904) was born in Concord, Massachusetts, and educated at Harvard College and Harvard Law School. In 1849 he entered the practice of law in Worcester and launched a political career by assisting in the foundation of the Free Soil Party in Massachusetts, and later the Republican Party. In 1852 he was elected to the state House of Representatives, and later served in the state Senate. In 1869 Hoar was elected to Congress where he served until 1877 when he was elected to the Senate. Hoar was noted for his tolerant views of others, and held in utter contempt those he believed to be bigots.
55. Wendell Phillips (1811–1884), a leading orator and social reformer, was born in Boston to affluent parents. Phillips received his education at Boston Latin, Harvard College, and Harvard Law School. He established a practice in Boston during the mid–1830s and immediately became active in the abolitionist movement. In December 1837, at the age of twenty-six, Phillips delivered an impromptu diatribe against slavery, the eloquence of which brought him to the public’s attention.
Relieved of the necessity of earning a living by personal wealth, Phillips began a career as a lyceum lecturer, speaking mostly on the topic of slavery, and he contributed regularly to the abolitionist press. After the Civil War, Phillips continued to advocate other moral issues, such as prohibition, penal reform, women’s rights, and the labor movement.
56. Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906), was born into a wealthy Quaker family in Adams, Massachusetts, and grew up in a family tradition when encouraged strong and independent women. A precocious child, Susan learned to read and write at age three. Well educated for her day, Anthony became a teacher and eventually the head of the Female Department of Conajoharie Academy in New York from 1846 to 1849. She never felt compelled to become a homemaker, preferring to remain single and give herself over to reform.
She returned to Massachusetts in 1850 and there entered into association with the many famous reformers who rallied at the homestead, becoming particularly close to Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In the early 1850s, she assisted in organizing the Woman’s State Temperance Society of New York, and began her fight for equal rights for women. She also took a radical abolitionist stand on the slavery issue. Her life was one of constant lecturing and convention organizing. When the National Woman Suffrage Association was organized in 1869, she became chairperson of the executive committee. When the Association was reorganized in 1890, Miss Anthony served as vice–president, and from 1892 to 1900 served as president. She retired at age eighty.
57. Thaddeus Stevens (1792–1868) was born in Danville, Vermont. His father deserted the family, but the mother sacrificed to see that Thaddeus received all the special care the sickly child required. From his youth Stevens acquired an intense distaste for the aristocratic. After graduation from Dartmouth in 1814, he took a position as instructor at an academy in York, Pennsylvania, where he also continued to read law. In 1816 he moved to Gettysburg to practice. After a few years of earning a meager income, Stevens became both rich and famous as a successful attorney. In 1826 he entered the iron business with a partner, formed Stevens & Paxton in 1828, and constructed several furnaces in the area of York.
Stevens emerged into political prominence in 1831 at the anti-Masonic Convention in Baltimore, and two years later was elected to the Pennsylvania House where he served until 1841, becoming well-known for his advocacy of free public education and other reforms. In 1848 Stevens, now living in Lancaster, was elected to Congress on the Whig ticket. In the House Stevens became known for his uncompromising stand on anti-slavery, a position he had long held. A prominent participant in the formation of the Republican Party, Stevens warned the South to secede at its own peril. When the South did secede and the war came, Stevens had become chairman of the House ways and means committee, which gave him considerable power over revenue bills. On the prosecution of the war, Stevens took a vigorously aggressive stance, and that same vigor carried over into Reconstruction following the cessation of hostilities.
Stevens opposed Lincoln’s and then Johnson’s mild approach to Reconstruction, believing that the South had left the Union and enjoyed no constitutional rights whatsoever, and along with Charles Sumner in the Senate, did battle with both presidents. In December 1865, he became chairman of the House committee on Reconstruction, which accepted his view that the South was a conquered province. Through this committee much of the Radical Reconstruction program was implemented.
Stevens also played a prominent role in the impeachment of President Johnson. By then, however, his health had failed and he died not long after the president’s acquittal.
58. When the Civil War ended in 1865, white southerners were willing to concede to adopt the Thirteenth Amendment, putting an end to slavery. But as they gradually reassumed power in 1865 and 1866, they adopted laws which revealed the conviction that black freedmen must be controlled in order to prevent bloodshed, and to insure the continuation of their role as the South’s labor force. These laws, called Black Codes, bore a strong resemblance to the antebellum Slave Codes. While they varied from state to state, most attempted to limit property ownership among blacks, outlined vagrancy laws, and among other restrictions, laid down rules governing black labor. Blacks and whites who had prosecuted the war in order to abolish slavery saw little evidence of freedom in these codes, and provided them with further justification for Radical Reconstruction.
59. For biographical background on William P. Powell, see Vol. I, note 19.
60. James J. Spelman (1841–1905?) was born and educated in Norwich, Connecticut. After moving to New York in 1855, he entered a career as a newspaper reporter, editor, and publisher, establishing the sprightly Anglo-African. When the Civil War came, Spelman actively recruited for the black regiments, becoming a major in a battalion known as the “Show Cadets,” named after the hero of Fort Wagner. In 1868 he went to Mississippi to do educational work with the Freedmen’s Bureau, and in 1869 was appointed alderman of Canton, Mississippi. That year Spelman won election to the state legislature where he remained for six years. Spelman served in numerous important public positions in Mississippi as well.
61. George B. Cheever (1807–1890), clergyman and reformer, was born in Hallowell, Maine, and received an education at Bowdoin College and at Andover Seminary (1830). After preaching at various posts, he settled in New York where he served as a Presbyterian pastor from 1838 until 1867. In 1845 Cheever was editor of the New York Evangelist. After 1867, he became involved in publishing, the profession of his father.
An uncompromising reformer, Cheever favored temperance and was fined and jailed for libel against a distiller because of a newspaper story Cheever printed. He advocated capital punishment on biblical grounds, opposed rituals of the Episcopal and Catholic Churches, and favored Sunday “blue laws.” Moreover, Cheever was a stern abolitionist and fearlessly supported equal civil rights and educational opportunities for blacks. His large library, in fact, was bequeathed to Howard University. Cheever was a gifted writer on all topics, publishing many books, pamphlets, and articles.
62. The “Ayrshire Plowboy” refers to the poet Robert Burns, of Ayrshire, Scotland, who spent many years as a farmer. See note 63.
63. Elihu Burritt (1810–1870), a self–educated forgeman of New Britain, Connecticut, learned to read nearly fifty languages. The “learned blacksmith” also published the pacifist Christian Citizen, and wrote voluminously. He was a leading figure in the American peace movement, organizing the League of Universal Brotherhood (1846), and was the leading spirit of the second Universal Peace Congress held at Brussels in 1848.
Benjamin Jonson (1572–1637) was born and educated in Westminster, England. For a time he worked with his stepfather as a bricklayer. By 1597 he was an actor and playwright, and after killing a fellow actor in a duel, was imprisoned for a number of years. He wrote a great variety of plays, some of which were produced by William Shakespeare’s company. From 1605 onward, Jonson wrote plays for the court, and when he died, he was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Robert Burns (1759–1796) was born at Alloway in Ayrshire, the son of a cottar who set him to work as a farm laborer when still a youth. From 1784 to 1788 he farmed 118 acres in partnership with his brother, and during this time wrote some of his best work. In 1786 he published a volume of poems which made him famous. A second edition earned Burns enough money to provide an income, which he supplemented by writing songs and poems until his death.
Dr. David Livingstone (1813–1873) educated himself while working at a cotton factory near Glasgow, Scotland. In 1840 he embarked for the Cape of Good Hope on the first of his many explorations of the African interior. His travel journals provided the first detailed information on the African interior and its peoples available in English. He died while trying to discover the sources of the Nile River, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
64. George E. Spencer (1836–1893) was born in Champion, New York, and educated in classical studies at Montreal College, Canada. After graduation he moved to Iowa and became secretary of the State senate in 1856. He studied law and was admitted to the Iowa bar in 1857. During the Civil War he joined the Union Army at the rank of captain. When Spencer resigned in 1865 he had been promoted to brigadier general for bravery on the field of battle. Following the secession of hostilities, Spencer settled in Decatur, Alabama, resumed his legal practice, and became active in the state Republican Party. When Alabama was readmitted to the Union, Spencer was elected to the U.S. Senate where he served until 1879, at which time he retired to his ranch in Nevada. The Montgomery (Alabama) Advertiser and Mail was a conservative white Democratic newspaper, and the comment contains an obvious note of sarcasm.
65. “Commune” was the term applied to the period in the history of the Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871, when the commune (an administrative division) of the city attempted to establish its own authority against the National Assembly at Versailles. The instigators of this movement hoped to replace the centralized system of government with a federation of communes. This struggle had nothing to do with the Marxist revolutionaries, even though contemporary anti-Marxists in American confused the two movements.
66. “Labor Reformers” refers to the Labor Reform Party, which was launched in 1872 by the National Labor Union to pressure government to be more sensitive to the needs of tradesmen and mechanics. “Grangers” refers to members of the Patrons of Husbandry which began to organize the agricultural sector of the nation’s work force into local “Granges” in 1867. While the Labor Reform Party was a miserable failure, the Grangers succeeded admirably. One year after the Panic of 1873 the Grangers boasted a total membership of 1,500,000, mostly in the mid-West. They became a potent political force in the states where they were strongest, and won legislation which abridged the financial power the railroad companies exerted over the isolated farmers. In a series of important court cases tried between 1876 and 1886, known as the “Granger cases,” the Grangers won significant victories which controlled the railroads and paved the way for the Interstate Commerce Act.
67. The “two important National Colored Conventions” referred to, assembled in Columbia, S. C., as a joint session of the Colored Men’s Convention and the third Colored National Labor Union Convention.
68. Both spellings—Thompson and Thomson—appear in the text. The correct spelling is unknown.
69. American sections of the International Workingmen’s Association were organized by Socialist groups in this country. In October 1867, the Communist Club of New York, founded by F. A. Sorge, Conrad Carl, and Siegfried Meyer in 1857, became a section of the International in America. By 1872 there were about thirty sections and five thousand members of the First International in the United States. Sections were formed in Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Newark, Springfield, and New York City. The minority of the membership in America were “plain wage workers,” observed Sorge.
The socialist movement in the United States remained split between the Marxists, who favored organization of the working classes into a movement controlled by themselves (unions), and the followers of the German, Ferdinand Lassalle, who advocated political action to affect reform. Unity within the Socialist movement was formally established in July 1876, when delegates from nineteen American sections of the International met in Philadelphia and dissolved the International Workingmen’s Association. A few days later, a meeting of socialist organizations was held to form the Workingmen’s Party of the United States. The platform of the new party adopted the trade union policies of the International, but conceded to the Lassallean’s request that a national organization be established. Participation in politics was to be delayed until the party was strong enough to exercise a perceptible influence. Until then, the party would focus its energies upon economic issues and organizing workers into unions. The party did not advocate that it embodied the labor movement, but rather saw itself as an advance guard of the inevitable struggle between capital and labor.
70. For a biographical account of Peter H. Clark, see Herbert Gutman, “Peter H. Clark: Pioneer Negro Socialist, 1877,” Journal of Negro Education 34 (Fall 1965): 413–18.
71. These letters have also been published by Herbert G. Gutman, “Black Coal Miners and the Greenback-Labor Party in Redeemer, Alabama: 1878–1879,” Labor History 10 (Summer 1969): 506–35.
72. Tammany Hall was the headquarters for the Tammany Society in New York City. Tammany societies were organized as patriotic associations during the American Revolution. The New York society, chartered in 1789, was the only one to endure. During the 1830s it became influential in the Democratic party, and by 1850 was the most important political organization in the city. By the 1870s, under the leadership of William Tweed, Tammany controlled state politics and refined the definition of the “boss” system of political power.
73. The National Labor Union represented the first successful federation of trade unions in the post-Civil War period. The Industrial Congress, precursor to the NLU, met between 1845 and 1856, but collapsed when it proved unable to retain the allegiance of affiliate trade unions. Most probably it was this short-lived organization which prompted the use of the term “Industrial Congress” mentioned in this resolution.
74. For a discussion of the International in America, see note 69.
75. General Nathan B. Forrest (1821–1877) was born in what is now Marshall County, Tennessee. His father died when Nathan was only sixteen and left him with the responsibility for maintaining a large family. Dealing in horses, cattle, slaves, and real estate, Forrest eventually accumulated enough capital to buy the plantations which made him wealthy. In 1861 he enlisted in the Confederate army, raised and equipped a battalion himself, and was appointed lieutenant colonel. Following several heroic acts, he was promoted to colonel, fought at Shiloh, and became brigadier-general in 1862. His bold cavalry raids made him famous, and he was promoted to major–general. The one major blotch on his military record was the Fort Pillow Massacre. Although he did not order the murders, he was in command when a unit of over 200 Negro Union soldiers were captured, slaughtered in cold blood, and buried in a mass grave after they had surrendered.
76. The Supplement to the Civil Rights bill is a reference to the bill sponsored by Senator Charles Sumner (see note 39) which sought to ensure equal access to public accommodations. Eventually it emerged as the Civil Rights Act of 1875.
77. For a discussion of the International Workingmen’s Association, see note 69.
78. The Miners’ National Association was the first union of miners organized in the United States. Its constitution provided for an all-inclusive union that would embrace all miners without distinction. When the miners met in a national convention in Ohio on October 14, 1873, to form the Miners’ National Association, John Siney, head of the organization, stressed the necessity of unity of black and white. Responding to this appeal, the convention called upon all miners to join including “our colored brethren.” Workingmen’s Advocate, October 25, 1873.
79. “Under cover of the panic” refers to using the current economic depression, or Panic of 1873, as an excuse for reducing the wages paid to workmen.
80. Adolph Douai was born in Germany in 1819 and played an active role in the German Revolution of 1848. He emigrated to Texas in 1852 and established the San Antonio Zeitung, an anti-slavery paper. Moving to Boston, he established a three-graded school which included the first kindergarten in America. He also became the editor of the Die Arbeiter Union until 1870, and in 1878 became co-editor of the Socialist newspaper, New Yorker Volkszeitung, a position he held until 1888. He played an important role in the early Marxist organizations in the United States.
81. The Labor League appears to have been a temporary body of representatives from the various trade unions organized to voice the concerns of labor to President Rutherford B. Hayes.
82. Benjamin (“Pap”) Singleton (1809–1892) insisted on the title “Moses of the Colored Exodus,” and testified before a congressional committee investigating the Kansas Exodus that he was the “cause of it all.” This assertion, along with his age and kindly disposition, led his followers to dub Singleton, “Pap.” Born a slave in Tennessee and sold a dozen times into the deep South, Singleton finally ran away to Canada before settling in Detroit where he resided until 1865. Returning to Tennessee after the war, Singleton believed it was his “mission” was to colonize blacks in separate territories where they could develop their own “national experience.” He believed that blacks must have a separate nation in order to survive. With that in mind, Singleton labored tirelessly to promote emigration to the western territories. When it became apparent that Kansas would not be the Negro “Canaan” as hoped, Singleton suggested emigration to Canada, Liberia, and then Cyprus. Pap Singleton died in Topeka, Kansas, at the age of eighty-three.
83. Pinckney B. S. Pinchback was born May 10, 1851, near Macon, Georgia, of a slave mother, Eliza Stewart, and a white Mississippi planter father, William Pinchback. His father subsequently manumitted the mother of his children and moved his family to the North. Pinchback was educated, first at home, and then at school in Cincinnati. After the death of his father, he was forced to make his own living, and followed steam-boating on the Ohio, Missouri, Red and Mississippi rivers, becoming a steward, the highest position a man of his race could then attain in this line of employment. In 1862, he recruited a company of black soldiers (Corps d’Afrique) in response to a call of Maj.-Gen. Benjamin F. Butler that free colored men take up arms in defense of the Union. Pinchback became the captain of the company; but practically white in appearance, he refused to pass as a white man and was forced by indignant whites to resign the captaincy. He was active in Louisiana as lieutenant governor, and when Governor H. C. Warmoth was impeached, Pinchback became acting governor of the state for a month. Following Reconstruction, he held the posts of Internal Revenue agent, and Surveyor of Customs for the Port of Orleans. He was admitted to the bars of federal and state courts in Louisiana and practiced law until his death in Washington, D.C., in 1921.
84. The People’s Advocate was a black newspaper published in Washington, D.C., during the post-Civil War era.
85. Henry Adams (1843–? ) was born a slave in Georgia. Even though he did not achieve national fame, Adams was an important and articulate leader of ordinary freedmen. In 1850 he was moved to Louisiana, Texas, and back to Louisiana again as the Civil War ended. After the war Adams became a peddler until September 1866 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was promoted to the rank of quartermaster sergeant, but left the army in 1869. While in the army, Adams learned to read and write, and gained the worldly experience which served him well at the grass-roots level of leadership he was to attain.
During the early 1870s, Adams worked as a rail splitter and plantation manager and was moderately successful. By 1870 Adams and several other black ex-soldiers of Caddo Parish organized a secret committee to gather intelligence, with as many as 500 people participating. He also became involved in grass-roots Republican politics, and continued his faith-healing practice among the ill, having become an expert “herbs doctor.” In 1874 he was president of the Shreveport Republican Club and when the White League organized to pressure blacks into submission, Adams lost his job.
In 1876, Adams and other black leaders met and formed a committee which suggested that migration out of the South might be an answer to the oppression they experienced. By 1877 Adams made his first speeches advocating migration. The Colonization Council found that emigration to Liberia was economically unfeasible, and thereafter the Council concentrated on the West. Moving to New Orleans in 1878, however, Adams lost contact with the Council, but continued to seek assistance for emigration to Liberia. While he maintained hope for African emigration, black people caught the “Kansas fever” and public concern and black interest was diverted westward to Kansas rather than eastward to Liberia. Henry Adams slipped away into historical obscurity, and after 1884 was heard no more.
86. Sojourner Truth gained a national reputation as an anti-slavery and woman’s rights lecturer before the Civil War. Born into slavery in New York, probably in 1797, and given the name Isabella Baumfree, she eventually ran away from the last of her several masters when he refused to acknowledge New York’s emancipation act of 1827. Isabella settled in New York City where she was drawn into a religious cult led by a fanatic named Mathias. Growing disillusioned by 1843, she resolved to perform the Lord’s work independently of the cult, and adopted the name “Sojourner Truth” because God told her that the name revealed her spiritual mission. Becoming deeply involved in the struggle for equal rights for blacks and women, she lectured on either topic wherever someone would listen, and soon became the leading black woman on the lecture circuit. After the Civil War, she continued her struggle for equal rights until she died on November 26, 1883, in Battle Creek, Michigan.