BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT:✊🏿🌍 DENMARK VESEY

Black History Spotlight:Denmark Vesey

Denmark Vesey

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

Early Life

Denmark Vesey is believed to of been born in 1767 in St.Thomas,West Indies. He was the slave of captain Vesey,who was a slave trader and planter from Charleston, South Carolina. He spent at least two decades sailing with his slave master.

Freedom

In 1800 Vesey was able to purchase his freedom from his master, after he allegedly won a local lottery. Vesey would go into the trade of carpentry, and would become relatively successful.

Legacy

In 1818 Vesey would become a powerful speaker and preacher, he would travel to slave plantations in his local area. Vesey would preach to his fellow black people, (who were suffering horribly in forced bondage), that they would fight for and gain their liberation like the ancient Israelites of the Holy Bible. Vesey, Allegedly held meetings at his home, where he would also collect firearms and other weapons that he intended to use to arm 9000 black people in South Carolina. Unfortunately, Vesey would be betrayed like Jesus Christ, by some of his own people that he intended to free, when some black slaves fearful of white retribution, informed the white authorities. Vesey, would defend himself well in court, but would ultimately be sentenced by a white supremacist jury to be hanged to death. 35 other blacks would be sentenced to hang too, and 35 others would be sold to brutal (even by American standards) West Indian plantations. If not for the betrayal of a few black Judas’s, his rebellion would of been the largest slave revolt in U.S. history. The white fear that was caused because of the failed revolt caused harsher and more punitive laws to be passed to control and dominate black people. In Hampton Park in Charleston, South Carolina, there is a statue dedicated to the memory and legacy of the black freedom fighter.

For more information on Demark Vesey, please use this link

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BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: BIDDY MASON

Black History Spotlight:Biddy Mason

Biddy Mason Pic

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

Early Life

Biddy Mason was born into the brutal system of slavery on August 15, 1818.Her exact birthplace is unknown, some scholars believe was born in Hancock County, Georgia, and others believe her birthplace was Hancock County, Mississippi. As a youth she spent most of her time on the plantation of Robert Smithson. In her teenage-years she learned how to perform domestic work and agricultural work,she also learned midwife and herbal medicine making skills from elder slaves, who shared their knowledge that was passed-down to them from their African ancestors. In the 1940s, Mason is believed to of have been given to Rebecca Dorn and Robert Mayes Smith as a wedding gift. While on the Smith’s plantation, Mason had three children, all girls: Ellen in 1838, Ann in 1844 and Harrier in 1847. The father or fathers is unknown, but some historical researchers believe that Robert Smith was the father of a least one of her children.

Biddy’s Road to Freedom

In the late 1940s Mormon missionaries from the Church of Latter-Day Saints passed through Mississippi and proselytized the locals. Some of the locals included Biddy Mason’s slave owner Robert Smith, his wife and their children. There is currently no information on whether Mason or her fellow slaves were baptized in the Mormon faith. In 1947, the Smith household joined with a group of Mormon churchgoers from Mississippi to unite with the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo,Illinois. The group of religious travelers ventured to Pueblo, Colorado, there they would join with a group of very-ill disciples from a Mormon battalion. On the trip further westward, Mason use her healing-skills as a midwife and herbalist to help heal the sick, feed the hungry and to care for the children of the religious pilgrims, she also helped herd the cattle. In 1851, Brigham Young the leader of the Mormon church sent a group of his followers to Southern California, which was a free state at the time. Smith ignored that fact and refused to free hia slaves, once they arrived in the San Bernadino settlement. In 1856, Smith planned to move to the slave state of Texas, where he intended to sell his slaves. Smith would lie to his slaves (he told them he intended to give them their freedom in Texas)to motivate them to make the long and harsh journey to the slave state. Mason of course knew he was lying, and not wanting to be separated from her children, she with the help of some kind-hearted locals, petitioned a Los Angeles court for her freedom and the freedom of her children. On January 21, 1856 Biddy Mason and her children were given their freedom by Judge Benjamin Ignatius Hayes, after Smith failed to show-up to challenge the petition.

The Free Woman, Healer and Entrepreneur

After she gained her freedom, Mason and her daughters moved in with a man named Robert Owens,who was the father of the locally famous Los Angeles businessman Charles Owens. Mason’s daughter Ellen would eventually marry Charles Owens. While in Los Angeles, California, Mason worked as a nurse and midwife and delivered hundreds of babies, she also risked her life to use her traditional-African herbalist healing skills to care for these people with smallpox, during a smallpox epidemic that was ravaging L.A. at the time. Mason saved much of the money she earned as midwife and nurse to become a financially successful real estate Investor, in fact she became one of the first African-American women to own land in Los Angeles. Mason also used the money she earned to become a philanthropist: she gave money to the poor, fed the hungry and was part of a group that founded day care center and school for black children. In 1872, Mason and her son-in-law Charles Owens became founding members of the first African Methodist Episcopal church of Los Angeles, which was also the city’s first black church. The church would be built on land that was donated by Mason herself. Mason died on January 15,1891, a park and plaque is dedicated to her in Los Angeles, California.

Biddy Mason Park

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Black History SPOTLIGHT: Dutty Boukman

Black History Spotlight: Dutty Boukman

Dutty Boukman

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

Early Life

Dutty Boukman (year unknown) born in Senegambia (now the nations of Gambia and Senegal).Before,he was captured in his homeland,he had built a reputation as a respected Muslim cleric. While in Senegambia he would eventually get kidnapped by slavers and transported to the slave colonies in the Caribbean to forcibly work as a slave. He would first be taken to Jamaica, and then to Saint-Dominque (modern-day) Haiti.

Life As A Slave

Once in Haiti, Boukman would risk his life by attempting to teach other slaves how to read, and he would also combine his Quranic knowledge and his knowledge of traditional African religion to become a Haitian vodou priest. Some historians believe the French name of Boukman, derived from his English nickname of “book man”, as in “man of the book”, a term used in many Muslim countries.

Revolutionary Leader

Boukman would eventually be sold to a French plantation owner, who would first select him to be a commadeur (slave driver), he would later transitioned to being a coach driver. According to many scholars, Boukman and a Haitian woman named Cecile Fatiman) a vodou priestess would perform a religious ceremony at Bois Caiman, in August 1791. This ceremony would led to the 1791 Haitian slave uprising, which many historians consider to be the beginning of the Haitian revolution. Boukman would use his charismatic personality and leadership skills to help lead the slave revolt in the Le Cap-Francais region in the north of the French colony. Sadly, he would be killed by French colonial troops and planters, only a few months into the slave revolt. The French would decapitate Boukman and display the fallen freedom fighter’s head in an attempt to intimidate revolters by showing them the head of their messianic leader. The tactic would ultimately, fail and Haiti would become the only successful self-liberated slave rebellion in the world, when they defeated the powerful Napoleonic French empire in 1804. Since, Haiti was a very rich colony for the French, that defeat would force the now economically-struggling French to sell its massive amounts of land to the United States, this would be known as the Louisiana purchase.

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BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: BENJAMIN BANNEKER

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

Benjamin Banneker was born on November 9, 1731 in Baltimore county, Province of Maryland, in British America. His mom, Mary Banneky was a free Black person, and his father Robert, was a freed slave from Guinea.

Banneker would learn to read by studying the family’s bible, and he would begin to learn and become exceptional in mathematics once he began attending a Quaker school.

His Excellence in mathematics would help make him a great inventor. One day he saw a traveling salesman with a pocket watch, and since no watches existed in colonial America at the time, he used his mathematics skills to invent his own watch. He would craft the watch entirely out of wood, and reportedly it ran perfect for the next 40 years.

Not only was Banneker a great mathematician and inventor, but his greatness would extend to astronomy. In 1789, Banneker predict the occurence of a solar eclipse, and to the shock of his skeptics, the eclipse would take place on April 14th, just as hee predicted.

Banneker, would also become an anti-slavery advocate, after he read Thomas Jefferson’s doctrine that “all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness “, which was a total contradiction to Jefferson’s own actions as a slave owner. Banneker would write to Jefferson, telling him that Blacks were equal to Whites in intelligence and therefore were entitled to the same rights, protections and privileges as White men in America. To prove his point on the intelligence of his people, Banneker would include with his letter a copy of his almanac, which was a yearly publication that documented coming eclipses, holidays, and the hours of the day that the sun would rise and set, also included were anti-slavery essays, calling for the abolition of America’s original sin of slavery.

Jefferson would write back to him, with somewhat of a new understanding on the issues of race. A friendship would be formed between the two men, and remained intact even after Jefferson became president of America.

Because of his genius and his friendship him Jefferson, Banneker would be selected to be one of the men to survey the original boundaries of Washington D.C.

When the French city planner Pierre Charles L’Enfant, quit and took his plans back with him to France, Banneker would reproduce the plans by memory.

After dedicating his entire life to science and the improvement of humanity, Banneker would die in 1806 at the age of 74.

For additional information use the links below:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Banneker

https://www.amazon.com/100-African-Americans-Shaped-American-History/dp/0912517182/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=100+african+americans+who+shaped+american+history&qid=1564373498&s=gateway&sprefix=100+afr&sr=8-1

BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: THE FORMER SLAVE CALLIE HOUSE AND HER FIGHT FOR REPARATIONS

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

Callie House was born a slave in Rutherford, County, not too far from Nashville, Tennessee . House would get married at the young age of 22. Callie and her husband William House would have six children together, but only 5 of those children would survive. After Callie’s husband William House died, she would financially support herself and her family by being a washerwoman.

Later in life, House and a man named Isaiah H. Dickerson would travel through the former Confederate states that formerly sanctioned the ownership of them and their fellow Black people to gain support for the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association (MRB&PA).

They would have their gatherings in Black churches, because that was one of the only places Black people could somewhat safely come together without being threatened and harrassed by the White supremacist public.

The objective of the organization, which at its peak had hundreds of thousands of members was to provide compensation, mutual aid and to assist in burial costs of those Black people who were formerly enslaved.

The Federal Post Office Department, despite not having any proof would often accuse reparation organizations like the MRB&PA of committing fraud against its members in an effort to discredit the movement and sabotage their progress.

The Department of Justice would open an investigation on the MRB&PA, and they would eventually be forbidden from sending mail or money orders. In 1901, Dickerson would be found guilty of “swindling”, but the conviction would eventually be overturned. When Dickerson died in 1909, House would become the sole-leader of the MRB&PA. Despite interference and harrassment by the federal government and the Post Office Department the MRB&PA would go on for a while. Eventually though, trumped-up charges or not the Federal government would convict House in 1918, effectively ending the MRB&PA and their fight for reparations.

House would die in 1928 at the age of 66 or 67.

Years later her courage would be remembered and honored when in 2015 the African American and Diaspora Program at Vanderbilt University renamed their research center the Callie House Research Center for the Study of Black Cultures and Politics.

For additional information use the link below:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callie_House

BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: CRISPUS ATTUCKS

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

Crispus Attucks was born in Massachusetts in 1923. He was of Black and Native American ancestry. Some reports say Attucks ran away from his slave master William Brown at the age of 27, other reports say he was a freeman.

Either way, at the age of 27 he would join a boat crew and would be a seaman for the next 20 years.

On the night of March 5, 1770 because of immense-tension between the British and the colonists in Boston, the British government installed soldiers to reestablish order.

Some historians say that a British soldier was guarding a Customs House when a young boy insulted him, and then was soon injured by the soldier.

As the boy loudly cried out in the streets in pain, Attucks and other colonists began to investigate the incident.

Soon after Attucks and others went to the Customs House, Attucks confronted the British soldier who was guarding the Customs House, and harsh words were exchanged between Attucks and the British soldier. Some of the colonists began to throw snowballs at the British soldiers, some say Attucks then began wielding a large stick and yelled:

“Don’t be Afraid. Knock ’em over, they dare not fire.”

This would be the first battle cry in the revolution to come.

The British soldiers responding in fear and panic, wildly shot in the growing crowd, killing Attucks, his associate Samuel Gray, nine other men would be shot in the melee, 3 of them would die.

The British soldiers would soon extinguish the fury of the crowd, but the news of the massacre would spread like a wildfire. Thousands of people would go to the funeral of Attucks. Seven British soldiers would be charged with murder, but none would be convicted.

The revolt that Attucks led would become known as the Boston massacre, and many credit it as being one of the main events the sparked the American revolution.

For additional information use the links below:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crispus_Attucks

https://www.amazon.com/100-African-Americans-Shaped-American-History/dp/0912517182/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=100+african+americans+who+shaped+american+history&qid=1564373498&s=gateway&sprefix=100+afr&sr=8-1

BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: EMPEROR MANSA MUSA

BY: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

Musa 1 or better known as Mansa Musa was the tenth Mansa, which translates to Emperor or conqueror of the gold rich West African Islamic Empire of Mali.

He was lived between 1280 to 1337, and is believed to be the richest person of all time. It would be impossible to calculate how much wealth he actually had, but many scholars believe his net worth in today’s money would be approximately $400 billion dollars.

Before the time of his death, his empire consisted of territory that formerly belonged to the Ghana Empire and much of modern-day Mali.

During his reign, Mansa Musa conquered an additional 24 cities, their surrounding districts and villages and estates.

For additional information use the links below:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musa_I_of_Mali

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-politicians/royals/mansa-musa-net-worth/%3famp=1