University of Tennessee

University of Tennessee

The most significant event in the college’s history, however, was not military but political: the passage of the Morrill Act by Congress in 1862 providing for the granting of federally owned lands to states that would establish public agricultural and mechanical colleges.

East Tennessee University was designated in 1869 by the state legislature as the land-grant institution of the state and thereby the recipient of the proceeds of the properties allocated by law to Tennessee. The value of the real estate involved was almost $400,000, providing a boon to the college’s fortunes.  Continue reading

Robert Smalls

Robert Smalls

(b. April 5, 1839, Beaufort, S.C., U.S.–d. Feb. 22, 1915, Beaufort), Negro slave who became a naval hero for the Union in the American Civil War (1861-65) and went on to serve as a congressman from South Carolina during Reconstruction (1865-77).

The son of plantation slaves, Smalls was taken by his master in 1851 to Charleston, S.C., where he worked as a hotel waiter, hack driver, and rigger. Impressed into the Confederate Navy at the outbreak of the war, he was forced to serve as wheelman aboard the armed frigate “Planter.” On May 13, 1862, he and 12 other slaves seized control of the ship in Charleston harbour and succeeded in turning it over to a Union naval squadron blockading the city. This exploit brought Smalls great fame throughout the North. He continued to serve as a pilot on the “Planter” and became the ship’s captain in 1863.  Continue reading

Madame C.J. Walker

Madame C.J. Walker

Born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867 on a Delta, Louisiana plantation, this daughter of former slaves transformed herself from an uneducated farm laborer and laundress into one of the twentieth century’s most successful, self-made women entrepreneurs.

Orphaned at age seven, she often said, “I got my start by giving myself a start.” She and her older sister, Louvenia, survived by working in the cotton fields of Delta and nearby Vicksburg, Mississippi. At 14, she married Moses McWilliams to escape abuse from her cruel brother-in-law, Jesse Powell.

Her only daughter, Lelia (later known as A’Lelia Walker) was born on June 6, 1885. When her husband died two years later, she moved to St. Louis to join her four brothers who had established themselves as barbers. Continue reading

James Arthur Baldwin

James Baldwin

James Baldwin

Born: August 2, 1924 – Harlem, New York, U.S.
Died: December 1, 1987 (aged 63) – Saint-Paul de Vence, France
Occupation: Writer, Novelist, Poet, Playwright, Activist

Baldwin spent an impoverished boyhood in Harlem and at 14 became a preacher in the Fireside Pentecostal Church. His first two novels, Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), reflecting his experience as a young preacher, and Giovanni’s Room (1956), which dealt with his homosexuality, were written while he lived in Paris. He returned to the United States in 1957 and participated in the civil-rights movement, later returning to France where he lived for the remainder of his life.

Another Country (1962), a bitter novel about sexual relations and racial tension, received critical acclaim, as did the publication of the perceptive essays in The Fire Next Time (1963). His eloquence and unsparing honesty made Baldwin one of the most influential authors of his time.  Continue reading

Sarah Grimké

Sarah Moore Grimké

Sarah Moore Grimké

Sarah Grimke, along with her sister Angelina, were the first women in the United States to publicly argue for the abolition of slavery. Cultured and well educated, Sarah had gone north from South Carolina with her sister with firsthand knowledge of the condition of the slaves. In 1836 Angelina wrote a lengthy address urging all women to actively work to free blacks.

The sisters’ lectures elicited violent criticism because it was considered altogether improper for women to speak out on political issues. This made them acutely aware of their own oppression as women, which they soon began to address along with abolitionism. A severe split developed in the abolition movement, with some antislavery people arguing that it was the “Negro’s hour and women would have to wait.”  Continue reading

Upcoming Black History Posts

  • Granville T. Woods
  • Richard Robert Wright, Sr.
  • Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment
  • Edith Sampson
  • Roy Wilkins
  • Julian Bond
  • Mary Church Terrell
WFA Radio
Loading ...
Loading ...

Categories

Website security