BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: GARRETT MORGAN

By: Leon kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

Garret Augustus Morgan, was born o March 4, 1877 in Claysville, Kentucky. His father a man named Sydney Morgan was a freed-slave, and the son of confederate colonel John H. Morgan, his mother was a slave woman named Elizabeth Reed. At the age of 14, having only a 6th grade education, he would move to Cincinnati,Ohio to look for work. Morgan would eventually gain employment as a handyman for a Cincinnati landowner. In his free-time, he would further his knowledge by studying with a tutor he hired. In 1895, Morgan would move to Cleveland, Ohio, where heee found work as a sewing machine repairman for a clothing maker. The skills he required as a repairman would ultimately send him on the journey of becoming an inventor. He would invent a belt fastener for sewiing machines, and in 1912 he would get his first patent.

when he was not working or inventing, Morgan became interested in his own Black American heritage and the plight of his fellow Black American people, in 1908, he would co-found the Cleveland Association of Colored Men, which was a group dedicated to improving the social and economic situation for Black people. The group would later merge with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Morgan would move his activities beyond entrepreneurship, inventing and activism and would become a philanthropist, giving his own money to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to help educate his people.

As a businessman, Morgan would eventually open his own sewing business. In 1909, Morgan and his wife Mary Anne expanded their small and growing business empire by opening a clothing store called Morgan’s Cut Rate Ladies Clothing Store. Where he would employee his own people and at one time his store employed 32 people.
As an inventor he would go on to invent Black hair products, the stoplight and the smokehood (a precursor to the gas mask).
He would die on July 27, 1963, in Cleveland, Ohio after living to the ripe age of 86.

Use this link for more information

BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: ELIZABETH FREEMAN (THE BLACK WOMAN WHO ENDED SLAVERY IN MASSACHUSETTS)

BY: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

Elizabeth Freeman (also known as Bett or Mumbett), was born a slave in 1744 in colonial America ( Claverack, Province of New York).
As a young child-slave at her master John Ashley’s house in Massachusetts , Freeman would sometimes overhear discussions about possible American freedom from the British. Those discussions combined with her own desire to be free, gave Freeman even more inspiration to run away from her brutal masters.

When the American Revolutionary War was finally won by America, Freeman believed that she should also be free. Freeman and her abolitionist lawyer Theodore Sedgwick, would sue the Ashley family for her freedom.

In 1781, the case would go to trial and eventually, the Massachusetts supreme court would side with Freeman, claiming slavery was against the Massachusetts Constitution. That decision would Utimately, end slavery in the state of Massachusetts altogether. Freeman would be awarded 30 shillings as compensation for her labor.

All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

– Massachusetts Constitution, Article 1.

For additional information use the links below:

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

https://www.amazon.com/100-African-Americans-Shaped-American-History/dp/0912517182/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?keywords=100+african+americans+who+shaped+american+history&qid=1579168192&sprefix=100+afr&sr=8-2

AMERICA’S LAST SLAVE DIED IN 1971

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

With all the talk about reparations for the descendants of American slaves currently going on around the country, anti-reparation people would have you believe that slavery was so long ago, it wasn’t.

The last surviving person born a slave in the antebellum south was a man named, John Magee. Magee was born in North Carolina in 1841.
Magee’s parents Jeanette and Ephraim were slaves on the J.J. Shanks plantation.

Magee told people that before the Civil War he was sold to a plantation owner by the name of Hugh Magee, at a slave market in Enterprise, Mississippi.

Some say that Magee was later sold to Victory Steen, who ran a slave plantation near Florence, Mississippi. Magee would claim that in 1863 he escaped the bondage of the Steen plantation and enlisted in the Union Army, reportedly he was part of an assault on Vicksburg in Mississippi.

Magee would later get wounded at both Vicksburg and Champion Hill. After the end of the war, Magee returned to his life, but this time as a “free man”, he would begin farming near Columbia, Mississippi with a White mam named, Tom Mix.

In the early 1990’s, Magee would move to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, before later returning to Columbia, Mississippi, to work for a sawmill operator named, Richard Davis. Magee, was trusted and respected enough to supervise the mill when, Davis was away.

Magee would die on October 15, 1971.

For additional information use the link below:

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