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2014 OUR COMMON GROUND BLACK HISTORY GAMES ANSWERS
Who was he ?
ANSWER: John Hope Franklin
John Hope Franklin, one of the nation's leading historians, is the only African American who has served as president of both the American Historical Association(AHA) and the Organization of American Historians (OAH).
Franklin was born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma on January 2, 1915 to parents Buck, a Tulsa attorney, and Mollie Franklin. He recalled growing up in Tulsa, in a Jim Crow society that stifled his senses and damaged his “emotional health and social well being.” While his family was in Rentiesville, Buck Franklin not only survived the June 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, but also successfully sued the city. This suit, before the Oklahoma Supreme Court, overturned a Tulsa ordinance which prevented the city’s blacks from rebuilding their destroyed community.
Franklin attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, graduating magna cum laude in 1935. He received his M.A. in history from Harvard in 1936, taught at Fisk University and returned to Harvard to complete the Ph.D. in history in 1941. While matriculating at Harvard, he took on a teaching position at St. Augustine's College, a predominately black college, in Raleigh, North Carolina. This position enabled him to complete his research for his dissertation which was published in 1943 as The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860. This book established his importance to southern history and he was subsequently invited, in 1949, to present a paper at the Southern Historical Association which broke the color line for that association. In 1956, Franklin became the first black person hired as chairman of a history department. That position at Brooklyn College led, in 1964, to an endowed chair at the University of Chicago in 1967 where he also served as department chair until 1970. Franklin remained on the University of Chicago until 1982 when he accepted the James B. Duke Professorship at Duke University.
John Hope Franklin’s most important work was the 1947 publication of From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans which has become the longest, continuously published survey text used in American history courses. Franklin has published a number of other books including The Militant South (1956); Reconstruction After the Civil War (1961); Color and Race (1968); A Southern Odyssey: Travelers in the Antebellum North (1975); and George Washington Williams: A Biography (1985).
In 1979 President Jimmy Carter appointed Franking to the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy and in 1980 he was a United States delegate to the 21st General Conference of UNESCO. He has also taught in England, Australia, and the People's Republic of China. He serves on the advisory board and is the former chair of One America: The President's Initiative on Race created by President Bill Clinton in 1997.
John Hope Franklin died in Durham, North Carolina on March 25, 2009.
- See more at: http://www.blackpast.org/aah/john-hope-franklin-1915...
2.) Question #2
What was it called and where Did it Happen
Answer: New York City Slave Uprising (1712)
Between twenty-five and fifty blacks congregated at midnight in New York City on April 6, 1712. With guns, swords and knives in hand the slaves first set fire to an outhouse then fired shots at several white slave owners, who had raced to scene to fight the fire. By the end of the night, nine whites were killed and six whites were injured. The next day the governor of New York ordered the New York and Westchester militias to “drive the island.” With the exception of six rebels who committed suicide before they were apprehended, all of the rebels were captured and punished with ferocity ranging from being burned alive, to being broken by a wheel. But the swift punishment of the guilty was not enough to quell the concerns of slave owners and their political body. Within months, the New York Assembly passed “an act for preventing, suppressing and punishing the conspiracy and insurrection of Negroes and other slaves.” Masters were permitted to punish their slaves at their full discretion, “not extending to life or member.” Even the manumission of New York slaves was deterred by this bill; masters were required to pay two hundred pounds security to the government and a twenty-pound annuity to the freed slave. Despite these stringent laws, New York would escape slave rebellion for only twenty-nine years. - See more at: http://www.blackpast.org/.../new-york-city-slave-uprising...
3.) What was promised ?
ANSWER: Forty Acres and a Mule
The phrase “forty acres and a mule” evokes the Federal government’s failure to redistribute land after the Civil War and the economic hardship that African Americans suffered as a result. As Northern armies moved through the South at the end of the war, blacks began cultivating land abandoned by whites. Rumors developed that land would be seized from Confederates, and given or sold to freedmen. These rumors rested on solid foundations: abolitionists had discussed land redistribution at the beginning of the war, and in 1863 President Abraham Lincoln ordered 20,000 acres of land confiscated in South Carolina sold to freedmen in twenty-acre plots. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase expanded the offering to forty acres per family.
In January 1865 General William T. Sherman met with twenty African American leaders who told him that land ownership was the best way for blacks to secure and enjoy their new found freedom. On 16 January that year, Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15. The order reserved coastal land in Georgia and South Carolina for black settlement. Each family would receive forty acres. Later Sherman agreed to loan the settlers army mules. Six months after Sherman issued the order, 40,000 former slaves lived on 400,000 acres of this coastal land. In March Congress seemed to indicate plans for widespread land reform when it authorized the Freedmen’s Bureau to divide confiscated land into small plots for sale to blacks and loyal Southern whites.
Less than a year after Sherman’s order, President Andrew Johnson intervened, and ordered that the vast majority of confiscated land be returned to its former owners. This included most of land that the freedmen had settled. The Federal government dispossessed tens of thousands of black landholders. In Georgia and South Carolina, some blacks fought back, driving away former owners with guns. Federal troops sometimes evicted blacks by force. In the end only some 2,000 blacks retained land they had won and worked after the war.
Other provisions existed for blacks to acquire land, but they were ineffective. Prices under the Southern Homestead Act were too high for former slaves with almost no capital. The development of Black Codes and the use of year-long contracts to bind labor also made acquiring land nearly impossible. The Federal retreat from land redistribution was not only a disappointment that cultivated a sense of betrayal, it was also a missed opportunity for economic reform that might have allowed Southern blacks to consolidate and hold political gains made during the early years of Reconstruction.
Claude Oubre, Forty Acres and a Mule: The Freedmen’s Bureau and Black Land Ownership (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1978); Eric Foner, A Short History of Reconstruction, 1863-1877 (New York: Harper and Row, 1990). - See more at: http://www.blackpast.org/aah/forty-acres-and-mule#sthash.pFoFBX3F.dpuf
Question # 4 Who was he ?
ANWER: Robert Smalls
Robert Smalls was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, on April 5, 1839 and worked as a house slave until the age of 12. At that point his owner, John K. McKee, sent him to Charleston to work as a waiter, ship rigger, and sailor, with all earnings going to McKee. This arrangement continued until Smalls was 18 when he negotiated to keep all but $15 of his monthly pay, a deal which allowed Smalls to begin saving money. The savings that he accumulated were later used to purchase his wife and daughter from their owner for a sum of $800. Their son was born a few years later.
In 1861 Smalls was hired as a deckhand on the Confederate transport steamer Planter captained by General Roswell Ripley, the commander of the Second Military District of South Carolina. The Planter was assigned the job of delivering armaments to the Confederate forts. On May 13, 1862, the crew of the Planter went ashore for the evening, leaving Smalls to guard the ship and its contents. Smalls loaded the ship with his wife, children and 12 other slaves from the city and sailed it to the area of the harbor where Union ships had formed their blockade. This trip led the ship past five forts, all of which required the correct whistle signal to indicate they were a Confederate ship. Smalls eventually presented the Planter before Onward, a Union blockade ship and raised the white flag of surrender. He later turned over all charts, a Confederate naval code book, and armaments, as well as the Planter itself, over to the Union Navy.
Smalls’s feat is partly credited with persuading a reluctant President Abraham Lincoln to now consider allowing African Americans into the Union Army. Smalls went on a speaking tour across the North to describe the episode and to recruit black soldiers for the war effort. By late 1863 he returned to the war zone to pilot the Planter, now a Union war vessel. In December 1863 he was promoted to Captain of the vessel, becoming the first African American to hold that rank in the history of the United States Navy.
After the Civil War Smalls entered politics as a Republican. He was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives and later to the South Carolina Senate. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives first from South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District and later from South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District. Smalls served in Congress between 1868 and 1889.
When his last term ended Smalls moved back to Beaufort, South Carolina to become the United States Collector of Customs. He also purchased and resided in the house in which he had once been a slave. Robert Smalls died in Beaufort on February 22, 1915 and is buried there with his family.
Okon Edet Uya, From Slavery to Public Service, Robert Smalls 1839-1915 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971); Dorothy Sterling, Captain of the Planter: The Story of Robert Smalls (New York: Pocket Books, 1978); Edward A. Miller, Gullah Statesman: Robert Smalls from Slavery to Congress, 1839-1915 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1995); http://www.robertsmalls.org/
Question #5 Which HBCU is it?
ANSWER: Tuskeegee University
The school began as the Normal School for Colored Teachers in a tiny space at the Butler Chapel AME Zion Church.
Tuskegee University, one of the largest historically black universities in the United States, is a private university located in Tuskegee, Alabama. It was founded by Lewis Adams, a former slave, and George W. Campbell, a former slave owner.
Despite having no formal education, Adams could read and write, was a tinsmith, harness-maker, and shoe-maker, and was recognized as a prominent leader in the African American community of Macon County, Alabama. Because of this, W.F. Foster, a white candidate for the state senate, asked Adams what he would like in return for securing the black vote for Foster. Adams asked that an educational institution for blacks be established. After Foster won the election, $2,000 (per year) was allocated from the state general budget for such a school to be located in Macon County. It was officially founded on July 4th, 1881, with Booker T. Washington, then a 25-year-old teacher at Hampton Institute in Virginia, as its first principal, a position he maintained until his death in 1915.
The school began as the Normal School for Colored Teachers at Tuskegee in a tiny space at the Butler Chapel AME Zion Church. A year later, it was moved to the grounds of a vacant plantation that Washington had purchased. A former slave, Washington was dedicated to the ideal of self-reliance based on industrial rather than purely liberal education, and he became internationally famous for advocating this to the recently emancipated slaves. He modeled Tuskegee after his own experience at the Hampton Institute. Because he required all Tuskegee students to do some form of labor, Tuskegee’s name soon changed to the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. The school's original buildings were actually built by its early students. Washington thought labor and knowledge of practical trades were just as valuable and dignified as a typical university education, an idea criticized by activists like W.E.B. Dubois as accommodating to white prejudice and supportive of racial discrimination.
Despite his dependence on white state and private financial support, Washington made sure that Tuskegee had an all-black faculty. It was the first major educational institution in the South to do so, and he made this requirement in a calculated move to “develop Black leadership to the maximum extent.” By the time of Washington’s death, Tuskegee was recognized nationwide and had gained institutional independence.
Tuskegee acquired university status in 1985. Today it offers undergraduate, masters, professional, and doctoral degrees to more than 3,000 students with a strong orientation toward the relationship between education and work force preparation in the sciences, professions and technical areas. It was the first black college to be designated as a Registered National Historic Landmark (1966), and is the only black college to be designated as a National Historic Site.
Addie Louise Joyner Butler, The Distinctive Black College: Talladega, Tuskegee, and Morehouse (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1977); History of Tuskegee University, http://www.tuskegee.edu/Global/story.asp?S=1070392 (Official Website).
- See more at: http://www.blackpast.org/aah/tuskegee-university-1881#sthash.XuwOom...
Question #6 Who is he ?
ANSWER: Clifford Alexander
Clifford L. Alexander Jr. was born in New York City on September 21, 1933, the son of Clifford L. and Edith (McAllister) Alexander. Alexander received a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Harvard University (1955) and a L.L.B. degree from the Yale University Law School in 1958. In 1959, Alexander became Assistant District Attorney for New York County. From 1961 to 1962, he became the Executive Director of the Manhattanville Hamilton Grange Neighborhood Conservation Project (1961-62).
Alexander left the private practice of law in New York City in 1963 to become a Foreign Affairs Officer in the National Security Council (NCS) in Washington D.C. The next year, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him as a Special Assistant to the President; then, in succession, Associate Special Counsel and Deputy Special Counsel to the President. From 1967 to 1969, Alexander served as chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). In 1968, he was also named a special representative of the President, with the rank of ambassador. In this capacity, he led the U.S. delegation to ceremonies marking the independence of Swaziland. After Alexander left the EEOC, he returned to the private practice of law.
President Jimmy Carter selected Alexander as his Secretary of Army in 1977, the first African American ever to occupy this cabinet-level position. As Secretary of the Army, Alexander was chief of administration, training, operations, logistical support, and preparedness for the Department of the Army. He had responsibility for a budget of more than $33 billion. While Army Secretary, he became a strong champion of the concept of an all-volunteer army.
After President Carter left office in 1981, Alexander again returned to the private practice of law and founded a consulting firm, Alexander & Associates, Inc. This firm consulted with a variety of Fortune 500 companies on effective recruitment and promotion of minorities and women. In addition to being President of Alexander & Associates, Alexander has served as the Board of Directors for American Home Products Corporation, MCI Worldcom, IMS Health, and Mutual of America. Alexander also has been a member of the Board of Governors for the American Stock Exchange.
In 1999 when Dun & Bradstreet Corporation’s chief executive officer retired, Alexander was chosen by the corporation to temporarily oversee the operations of the 1.97 billion dollar company as well as oversee the search for a permanent CEO.
Alton Hornsby, Jr., Angela M. Hornsby, “From the Grassroots” Profiles of Contemporary African American Leaders (Montgomery, Alabama: E-Book Time LLC, 2007),
Question # 7 What was it called?
ANSWER: The Watts Riot 1965
Following World War II, over 500,000 African Americans migrated to West Coast cities in hopes of escaping racism and discrimination. However they found both in the west. For many black Los Angeles residents who lived in Watts, their isolation in that community was evidence that racial equality remained a distant goal as they experienced housing, education, employment, and political discrimination. These racial injustices caused Watts’ African American population to explode on August 11, 1965 in what would become the Watts Rebellion.
The rebellion began on August 11th when the Los Angeles Highway Patrol stopped black Watts resident Marquette Frye and his brother, alleging that they were speeding. Back-up was called from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) as a crowd of African Americans gathered to watch the scene. Since the incident was close to Frye’s home, his mother emerged to find her son resisting arrest. Fearful that his arrest may ignite a riot, one LAPD officer drew his firearm. Catching a glimpse of the gun, Mrs. Frye jumped onto the officer’s back, causing the crowd to begin cheering. Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers arrested all three of the Fryes. Enraged by the family’s arrests, Watts’ residents protested as the police cars drove away. Less than an hour later, black Angelenos took to the streets.
The five day revolt which involved some 30,000 people served as stark testimony to the inequality and poverty that dominated the lives of thousands of Watts’s residents. Many of those engaged in the uprising looted items from local groceries and clothing stores, acquiring what they wanted and needed but often could not afford. Others battled the LAPD which they held immediately responsible for their poverty and alienation.
By August 15 the riot ended when 14,000 National Guard troops arrived and patrolled the streets. The following day most African Americans retired to their homes. In the end, the Watts Rebellion took 34 lives. There were 1,032 injuries, nearly 4,000 arrests and $40 million dollars in property damage. In spite of the protest, the Watts Rebellion did not significantly improve the lives of the community’s black population. While the revolt inspired the federal government to implement programs to address unemployment, education, healthcare, and housing under Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” much of the money allocated for these programs was eventually absorbed by the Vietnam War. Today most of the population of Watts is Latino with many residents from the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Although the population has changed, many of the issues of poverty, alienation and discrimination still plague the community today.
Gerald Horne. Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995); Josh, Sides. L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003; Governor’s Commission on the Los Angeles Riots. Violence in the City—an End or a Beginning? (Los Angeles: Governor’s Commission on the Los Angeles Riots, 1965).
Question #8 What was the name of this organization?
ANSWER: The Atlanta Negro Voters League
The Atlanta Negro Voters League (ANVL) was a political organization which focused on mobilizing the strength of black voters in Georgia's capital city from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. After a 1946 court ruling ordered the end of Georgia’s all white primaries, the percentage of registered black voters across the state surged to 25% by 1949. ANVL was founded July 7, 1949 in the Butler Street YMCA to take advantage of this growing electorate.
Officially ANVL was nonpartisan organization. This ensured that black Republicans and black Democrats would work together to encourage the ongoing growth of the African American electorate. Both groups pledged to work with white moderates to keep white racists from gaining office in Atlanta.
The first two co–chairs of ANVL were leader of the Fulton County Republican Club, John Wesley Dobbs, and president of the Atlanta branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and leader of the Fulton County Citizens Democratic Club, A.T. Walden. ANVL was structured around various committees that took on various political tasks throughout the city. The registration committee was the most important of the organization since it helped Atlanta’s black residents to register to vote and thus increased the organization's political influence.
Between 1949 and 1953 ANVL functioned effectively as an organization that got out the black vote and supported moderate white candidates (no blacks ran for office during this period). The reelection of Atlanta mayor William B. Hartsfield, a racial moderate, was substantially secured by the black vote in 1949, 1953, and 1957. 1n 1961, Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. also was backed by the black support organized by ANVL.
In 1953, however, ANVL recruited and supported the first African American candidates in the city since the Reconstruction period. That year Rufus Clements, President of (Clark) Atlanta University, a local black university, defeated a white incumbent for a seat on the Atlanta Board of Education. A.T. Walden and Miles G. Amos also won seats on the city’s Democratic Executive Committee.
Partisanship however began to appear in the ranks of the ANVL. In 1953 ANVL Chairman, William Dobbs, frustrated with what he sensed as a bias toward Democrats, left the organization, taking his Republican supporters with him. He was replaced by Reverend William Jackson who remained chair of ANVL until 1961. By that date, Atlanta was in the throes of the civil rights movement and most of the political mobilizing then taking place was directed toward the multiple challenges to local racial discrimination. Four years later, the death of ANVL Chair A.T. Walden in 1965 and the influx of newer, younger black voters following the passage of the Voting Rights Act the same year, marked the end of ANVL as a political force in Atlanta.
Nina Mjagkij, Organizing Black America (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 2001); "The Atlanta Negro Voters League," New Georgia Encyclopedia, http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-873.
Question #9 What was it called ?
ANSWER: TULSA RACE RIOT
“Believed to be the single worst incident of racial violence in American history, the bloody 1921 Tulsa race riot has continued to haunt Oklahomans to the present day. During the course of eighteen terrible hours on May 31 and June 1, 1921, more than one thousand homes and businesses were destroyed, while credible estimates of riot deaths range from fifty to three hundred. By the time the violence ended, the city had been placed under martial law, thousands of Tulsans were being held under armed guard, and the state's second-largest African American community had been burned to the ground.” ~ Scott Ellsworth/Oklahoma Historical Society
In The Pic : [The Base of] Reconciliation Tower by Ed Dwight at the recently dedicated John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park commemorating the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.
Question # 10 Who is she ?
ANSWER: Mary McCleod Bethune
She is noted for the following quote, "For I am my mother's daughter, and the drums of Africa still beat in my heart." ~ Mary McLeod Bethune and founded a major Black educational institution and a Black women’s organization.
Born on July 10, 1875, in Mayesville, South Carolina, Mary McLeod Bethune was a child of former slaves. She graduated from the Scotia Seminary for Girls in 1893. Believing that education provided the key to racial advancement, Bethune founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute in 1904, which later became Bethune-Cookman College. She founded the National Council of Negro Women in 1935. Bethune died in 1955.
or nearly a decade, Bethune worked as an educator. She married fellow teacher Albertus Bethune in 1898. The couple had one son together—Albert Mcleod Bethune—before ending their marriage in 1907. She believed that education provided the key to racial advancement. To that end, Bethune founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls in Daytona, Florida, in 1904. Starting out with only five students, she helped grow the school to more 250 students over the next years.
Bethune served as the school's president, and she remained its leader even after it was combined with the Cookman Institute for Men in 1923 (some sources say 1929). The merged institution became known as the Bethune-Cookman College. The college was one of the few places that African-American students could pursue a college degree. Bethune stayed with the college until 1942.
Activist and Advisor
In addition to her work at the school, Bethune did much to contribute to American society at large. She served as the president of the Florida chapter of the National Association of Colored Women for many years. In 1924, Bethune became the organization's national leader, beating out fellow reformer Ida B. Wells for the top post.
Bethune also became involved in government service, lending her expertise to several presidents. President Calvin Coolidge invited her to participate a conference on child welfare. For President Herbert Hoover, she served on Commission on Home Building and Home Ownership and was appointed to a committee on child health. But her most significant roles in public service came from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1935, Bethune became a special advisor to President Roosevelt on minority affairs. That same year, she also started up her own civil rights organization, the National Council of Negro Women. Bethune created this organization to represent numerous groups working on critical issues for African-American women. She received another appointment from President Roosevelt the following year. In 1936,
she became the director of the Division of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration. One of her main concerns in this position was helping young people find job opportunities. In addition to her official role in the Roosevelt administration, Bethune became a trusted friend and adviser to both the president and his wife Eleanor Roosevelt.
Eventually returning to Florida in her retirement, Bethune died on May 18, 1955, in Daytona, Florida. She remembered for her work to advance the rights of both African Americans and women. Before her death, Bethune penned "My Last Will and Testament," which served as a reflection on her own life and legacy in addition to addressing a few estate matters. Among her list of spiritual bequests, she wrote "I leave you a thirst for education. Knowledge is the prime need of the hour." Bethune closed with 'If I have a legacy to leave my people, it is my philosophy of living and serving."
Since her passing, Bethune has been honored in many ways. In 1973, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp with her likeness in 1985. In 1994, the U.S. Park Service bought the former headquarters of the NCNW. The site is now known as the Mary Mcleod Bethune Council House National Historic Site.
Question # 11 What was it called ?
ANSWER: The Underground Railroad
Bonus Question: (5 points) Name 1 of the 3 States where it ran ?
ANSWERS: Maryland, Indiana, Ohio Country ( 1 point) Canada
The Underground Railroad was the network used by enslaved black Americans to obtain their freedom in the 30 years before the Civil War (1860-1865). The “railroad” used many routes from states in the South, which supported slavery, to “free” states in the North and Canada.
Sometimes, routes of the Underground Railroad were organized by abolitionists, people who opposed slavery. More often, the network was a series of small, individual actions to help fugitive slaves.
Using the terminology of the railroad, those who went south to find slaves seeking freedom were called “pilots.” Those who guided slaves to safety and freedom were “conductors.” The slaves were “passengers.” People’s homes or businesses, where fugitive passengers and conductors could safely hide, were “stations.”
Stations were added or removed from the Underground Railroad as ownership of the house changed. If a new owner supported slavery, or if the site was discovered to be a station, passengers and conductors were forced to find a new station.
Establishing stations was done quietly, by word-of-mouth. Very few people kept records about this secret activity, to protect homeowners and the fugitives who needed help. If caught, fugitive slaves would be forced to return to slavery. People caught aiding escaped slaves faced arrest and jail. This applied to people living in states that supported slavery as well as those living in free states.
Question # 12 What is his name?
ANSWER: Frederick McKinley Jones
He was an inventor . He invented air conditioning for cars, and also invented a box office device that distributed tickets automatically. I also invented the portable x-ray machine..
Frederick McKinley Jones was one of the most prolific Black inventors ever. Frederick Jones patented more than sixty inventions, however, he is best known for inventing an automatic refrigeration system for long-haul trucks in 1935 (a roof-mounted cooling device). Jones was the first person to invent a practical, mechanical refrigeration system for trucks and railroad cars, which eliminated the risk of food spoilage during long-distance shipping trips. The system was, in turn, adapted to a variety of other common carriers, including ships. Frederick Jones was issued the patent on July 12, 1940 (#2,303,857).
Frederick Jones also invented a self-starting gas engine and a series of devices for movie projectors: adapting silent movie projectors for talking films, and developing box office equipment that delivered tickets and gave change.
Frederick Jones was born in in Covington, Kentucky near Cincinnati, Ohio on on May 17, 1893. He was a trained mechanic, a skill he learned doing military service in France during World War. His mastery of electronic devices was largely self-taught, through work experience and the inventing process.
Frederick McKinley Jones was granted more than 40 patents in the field of refrigeration. Frederick Jones' inspiration for the refrigeration unit was a conversation with a truck driver who had lost a shipment of chickens because the trip took too long and the truck's storage compartment overheated. Frederick Jones also developed an air-conditioning unit for military field hospitals and a refrigerator for military field kitchens. Frederick Jones received over 60 patents during his lifetime.
Question #13 Who is she ?
ANSWER: Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Born a slave, She became editor of a weekly, Evening Star, and then of Living Way, writing under the name Iola. Her articles were reprinted in other black newspapers around the country. She began writing more on racial injustice and she became a reporter for, and part owner of, Memphis Free Speech. She was particularly outspoken on issues involving the school system, which still employed her. She was the foremost African American activist against lynching of her time.
In 1924, she failed in a bid to win election as president of the National Association of Colored Women, defeated by Mary McLeod Bethune. In 1930, she failed in a bid to be elected to the Illinois State Senate as an independent. Her autobiography Crusade for Justice, on which she worked in her later years, was published in 1970, edited by her daughter Ida B. Wells-Barnett, born a slave just before the Emancipation Proclamation, went to work as a teacher when she had to support her family after her parents died in an epidemic. She wrote on racial justice for Memphis newspapers as a reporter and newspaper owner, and was forced to leave town when a mob attacked her offices in retaliation for writing against an 1892 lynching.
In 1880, after seeing her brothers placed as apprentics, she moved with her two younger sisters to live with a relative in Memphas. There, Ida B. Wells obtained a teaching position at a black school, and began taking classes at Fisk University in Nashville during summers.
Ida B. Wells also began writing for the Negro Press Association. She became editor of a weekly, Evening Star, and then of Living Way, writing under the name Iola. Her articles were reprinted in other black newspapers around the country.
In 1884, while riding in the ladies' car on a trip to Nashville, Ida B. Wells was forcibly removed from that car and forced into a colored-only car, even though she had a first class ticket. She sued the railroad, the Chesapeake and Ohio, and won a settlement of $500. In 1887, the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the verdict, and Ida B. Wells had to pay court costs of $200.
Ida B. Wells began writing more on racial injustice and she became a reporter for, and part owner of, Memphis Free Speech. She was particularly outspoken on issues involving the school system, which still employed her. In 1891, after one particular series, in which she had been particularly critical (including of a white school board member she alleged was involved in an affair with a black woman), her teaching contract was not renewed.
Ida B. Wells increased her efforts in writing, editing, and promoting the newspaper. She continued her outspoken criticism of racism. She created a new stir when she endorsed violence as a means of self-protection and retaliation.
Lynching in that time had become one common means by which African Americans were intimidated. Nationally, in about 200 lynchings each year, about two-thirds of the victims were black men, but the percentage was much higher in the South.
In Memphis in 1892, three black businessmen established a new grocery store, cutting into the business of white-owned businesses nearby. After increasing harassment, there was an incident where the business owners fired on some people breaking into the store. The three men were jailed, and nine self-appointed deputies took them from the jail and lynchec them.
One of the men, Tom Moss, was the father of Ida B. Wells' goddaughter, and she knew him and his partners to be upstanding citizens. She used the paper to denounce the lynching, and to endorse economic retaliation by the black community against white-owned businesses as well as the segregated public transportation system. She also promoted that African Americans should leave Memphis for the newly-opened Oklahoma territory, visiting and writing about Oklahoma in her paper. She bought herself a pistol for self-defense.
She also wrote against lynching in general. In particular, the white community became incensed when she published an editorial denouncing the myth that black men raped white women, and her allusion to the idea that white women might consent to a relationship with black men was particularly offensive to the white community.
Ida B. Wells was out of town when a mob invaded the paper's offices and destroyed the presses, responding to a call in a white-owned paper. Wells heard that her life was threatened if she returned, and so she went to New York, self-styled as a "journalist in exile."
Ida B. Wells continued writing newspaper articles at New York Age, where she exchanged the subscription list of Memphis Free Speech for a part ownership in the paper. She also wrote pamphlets and spoke widely against lynching.
In 1893, Ida B. Wells went to Great Britain, returning again the next year. There, she spoke about lynching in America, found significant support for anti-lynching efforts, and saw the organization of the British Anti-Lynching Society.
On returning from her first British trip, she moved to Chicago. There, she worked with Frederick Douglass and a local lawyer and editor, Frederick Barnett, in writing an 81-page booklet about the exclusion of black participants from most of the events around the Colmbian Exposition.
She met and married Frederick Barnett, a widower. Together they had four children (born in 1896, 1897, 1901 and 1904) and she helped raise his two children from his first marriage. She also wrote for his newspaper, the Chicago Conservator.
In 1895 Ida B. Wells-Barnett published A Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynchings in the United States 1892 - 1893 - 1894. She documented that lynchings were not, indeed, caused by black men raping white women.
From 1898-1902, Ida B. Wells-Barnett served as secretary of the National Afro-American Council. In 1898, she was part of a delegation to President William McKinley to seek justice after the lynching in South Carolina of a black postman.
In 1900, she spoke for woman suffrage, and worked with another Chicago woman, Jane addams, to defeat an attempt to segregate Chicago's public school system.
In 1901, the Barnetts bought the first house east of State Street to be owned by a black family. Despite harassment and threats, they continued to live in the neighborhood.
Wells-Barnett was a founding member of the NAACP in 1909, but withdrew her membership, criticizing the organization for not being militant enough. In her writing and lectures, she often criticized middle-class blacks including ministers for not being active enough in helping the poor in the black community.
In 1910, Ida B. Wells-Barnett helped found and became president of the Negro Fellowship League, which established a settlement house in Chicago to serve the many African Americans newly arrived from the South. She worked for the city as a probation officer from 1913-1916, donating most of her salary to the organization. But with competition from other groups, the election of an unfriendly city administration, and Wells-Barnett's poor health, the League closed its doors in 1920.
In 1913, Ida B. Wells-Barnett was part of a delegation to see President Wilson to urge non-discrimination in federal jobs. She was elected as chair of the Chicago Equal Rights League in 1915, and in 1918 organized legal aid for victims of the Chicago race riots of 1918.
In 1924, Wells-Barnett failed in a bid to win election as president of the National Association of Colored Women, defeated by Mary McLeod Bethune. In 1930, she failed in a bid to be elected to the Illinois State Senate as an independent.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett died in 1931, largely unappreciated and unknown, but the city later recognized her activism by naming a housing project in her honor.
Her autobiography Crusade for Justice, on which she worked in her later years, was published in 1970, edited by her daughter Alfreda M. Wells-Barnett.
Question # 14 What Congressional law was passed that inspired the book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin ?
Answer: Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed by Congress after months of bitter debate in the US Senate in 1850. The law was seen as a compromise to preserve the Union. The law established commissioners to issue warrants for slaves who had run away and reached free states.
Bonus Question: 10 points
Question: Name three famous abolitionist who spoke out or protested this Act.
Definition: An abolitionist was a dedicated opponent to slavery in the early 19th century America.
The abolitionist movement developed slowly in the early 1800s. The earliest opponents to slavery were considered far outside the mainstream of political thought, but by the 1840s and 1850s the abolitionist movement had a strong and very committed following.
Prominent abolitionists included:
The term comes from the word abolish, and particularly refers to those who wanted to abolish slavery.
The Underground Railroad, the loose network of people who assisted escaped slaves to freedom in the northern United States or Canada, could be considered part of the abolitionist movement.
Question # 15 What US Senator was attacked in the US Senate Chambers over his speech protesting slavery ?
Bonus Question:for either but not both: In what year ? Who attacked him ?
Answer: Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts
Bonus Answer: (10 point)
Attacker: Preston Brooks, a member of the House of Representatives from South Carolina
In the mid-1850s, the United States was being torn apart over the issue of slavery. The abolitionist movement was becoming increasingly vocal, and enormous controversy focused on whether new states admitted to the Union would allow slavery.
While blood was being spilled in Kansas, another violent attack shocked the nation, especially as it took place on the floor of the United States Senate.
Senator Charles Sumner Delivered a Fiery Senate Speech Denouncing Slavery
On May 19, 1856, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, a prominent voice in the anti-slavery movement, delivered an impassioned speech denouncing the compromises that helped perpetuate slavery and led to the current confrontations in Kansas. Sumner began by denouncing the Missouri Compromise, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the concept of popular sovereignty, in which residents of new states could decide whether to make slavery legal.
Continuing his speech the next day, Sumner singled out three men in particular: Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, a major proponent of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Senator James Mason of Virginia, and Senator Andrew Pickens Butler of South Carolina.
Butler, who had recently been incapacitated by a stroke and was recuperating in South Carolina, was held to particular ridicule by Sumner. Sumner said that Butler had taken as his mistress “the harlot, slavery.” Sumner also referred to the South as an immoral place for allowing slavery, and he mocked South Carolina.
Listening from the back of the Senate chamber, Stephen Douglas reportedly said, “that damned fool will get himself killed by some other damned fool.”
Sumner’s impassioned case for a free Kansas was met with approval by northern newspapers, but many in Washington criticized the bitter and mocking tone of his speech.
A Southern Congressman Took Offense
One southerner, Preston Brooks, a member of the House of Representatives from South Carolina, was particularly incensed. Not only had the fiery Sumner ridiculed his home state, but Brooks was the nephew of Andrew Butler, one of Sumner's targets.
In the mind of Brooks, Sumner had violated some code of honor which should be avenged by fighting a duel. But Brooks felt that Sumner, by attacking Butler when he was home recuperating and not present in the Senate, had shown himself not to be a gentlemen deserving of the honor of dueling. Brooks thus reasoned that the proper response was for Sumner to be beaten, with a whip or a cane.
On the morning of May 21, Preston Brooks arrived at the Capitol, carrying a walking stick. He hoped to attack Sumner, but could not locate him.
The following day, May 22, proved fateful. After trying to find Sumner outside the Capitol, Brooks entered the building and walked into the Senate chamber. Sumner sat at his desk, writing letters.
Violence on the Floor of the Senate
Brooks hesitated before approaching Sumner, as several women were present in the Senate gallery. After the women left, Brooks walked to Sumner’s desk, and reportedly said: “You have libeled my state and slandered my relation, who is aged and absent. And I feel it to be my duty to punish you.”
With that, Brooks struck the seated Sumner across the head with his heavy cane. Sumner, who was quite tall, could not get to his feet as his legs were trapped under his Senate desk, which was bolted to the floor.
Brooks continued raining blows with the cane upon Sumner, who tried to fend them off with his arms. Sumner finally was able to break the desk free with his thighs, and staggered down the aisle of the Senate.
Brooks followed him, breaking the cane over Sumner’s head and continuing to strike him with pieces of the cane. The entire attack probably lasted for a full minute, and left Sumner dazed and bleeding. Carried into a Capitol anteroom, Sumner was attended by a doctor, who administered stitches to close wounds on his head.
Brooks was soon arrested on a charge of assault, and was quickly released on bail.
Question # 16. He invented Crest Toothpaste, Folgers Coffee, Bounce Fabric Softener and Safeguard Soap
Answer: Dr. Herbert Smitherman Sr.
Dr. Smitherman was the first African American hired by P&G with a PhD in physical organic chemistry, and he continued working for the company for 29 years, helping to develop numerous products for them, while also helping to make P&G a more diverse company, as he recruited a great number of African American professionals to work for the company from the 1960s through the 1980s. He attended Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. His doctoral work was at Howard University, and he moved to Cincinnati in 1966 when he was hired by P&G.
Developing products and creating a more diverse environment for P&G aren’t the only things Dr. Smitherman did in his lifetime. Besides earning his PhD, the only child to an Alabama pastor (also a community activist), also served in his community, as an active member of the NAACP. He and his wife of 51 years, Barbara Flowers Smitherman, had six children and 14 grandchildren. The couple met while they attended college at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
After retiring from P&G, Dr. Smitherman pursued a career in education, serving as vice president of academic affairs for Wilberforce University. Dr. Smitherman then started Western Hills Design Technology, a high school that was created to assist African American students in math and science. He later joined the Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education as an assistant to Superintendent Mary Ronan.
Dr. Smitherman passed away on October 9, 2010 at the age of 73. He left to carry on his legacy his wife, children, and grandchildren. He also left behind a history that can never be forgotten, as long as we do our part to share it in our households, communities and with the world. Some of the many patents Dr. Smitherman developed for P&G were featured in the ‘’America I AM: The African American Imprint’’ exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Check with America I AM for current and future exhibits around the country, by visiting: http://www.americaiam.org
Question # 17 He is the author of author of over 25 books including national bestsellers, Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys, State of Emergency: We Must Save African American Males, Solutions for Black America, Keeping Black Boys Out of Special Education, Raising Black Boys and his most recent, 200 Plus Educational Strategies to Teach Children of Color. Black Students: Middle Class Teachers, Satan, I’m Taking Back My Health, Black Students-Middle Class Teachers, Developing Strong Black Male Ministries, An African Centered Response to Ruby Payne’s Poverty Theory, A Culture of Respect. He lectures and teach in the areas of Restoring the Village: Solutions for the Black Family, Developing Positive Self Images and Discipline in Black Children, To Be Popular or Smart: The Black Peer Group, Survival of The Black Race in the 21st Century
ANSWER: Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu was educated at Morgan State, Illinois State, and Union Graduate School. He has been a guest speaker at most universities throughout the U.S., and has been a Consultant to most urban school districts. He has authored 33 books including national best sellers, Black Students: Middle Class Teachers; Keeping Black Boys Out of Special Education; An African Centered Response to Ruby Payne’s Poverty Theory; Raising Black Boys; 200 Plus Educational Strategies to Teach Children of Color; and his latest title, Understanding Black Male Learning Styles. He was a frequent guest on OUR COMMON GROUND for many years. His work has been featured in Ebony and Essence Magazine, and he has been a guest on BET & Oprah.
Question # 18 What was the name of this document ?
On 17 December 1951, a petition was presented to the United Nations on two separate venues: Paul Robeson, concert singer and activist, together with people who signed the petition, handed the document to a UN official in New York, while William L. Patterson, executive director of the Civil Rights Congress, delivered copies of the drafted petition to a UN delegation in Paris. W. E. B. Du Bois, also slated to deliver the petition in Paris, had been designated an "unregistered foreign agent" and was deterred from traveling. The petition read in part, “Whereas, we the undersigned people of African ancestry understand that the proliferation of the distribution and sale of crack cocaine...has reached epidemic proportions, causing serious harm to the African community in the United States. Therefore, we understand that this harm can only be described as acts of genocide by the United States government through its Central Intelligence Agency.” The 125 copies Patterson mailed to Paris did not arrive, allegedly intercepted by the US government. However Patterson was able to distribute other copies, which he had shipped in small packages to individuals' homes.
ANSWER: "We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro People"
Lest We forget: "We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro People" was published on December 17, 1951, and presented to the United Nations. It was created by the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) and accuses the United States of America of committing genocide against Afrikans in Amerikkka...
As evidence of genocide, defined as acts committed with "intent to destroy" a group, "in whole or in part", the document cites many instances of lynching in the United States, as well as legal discrimination, and systematic inequalities in health and quality of life. It argues that the US government is both complicit with and responsible for a genocidal situation.
The document received international media attention and became caught up in Cold War politics. Its many examples of shocking conditions for African Americans shaped beliefs about America in countries across the world. The American government and white press accused the CRC of exaggerating racial inequality to advance the cause of Communism. The US State Department forced CRC secretary William L. Patterson to surrender his passport after presenting the petition to a UN meeting in Paris.
Soon after the United Nations was created in 1945, it began to receive requests for assistance from across the world. These came from European colonies in Africa and Asia, but also from African Americans. The first group to petition the UN regarding African Americans was the National Negro Congress (NNC), which in 1946 delivered a statement on racial discrimination to the Secretary General. The next appeal, from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1947, was over 100 pages in length. W. E. B. Du Bois presented it to the UN on 23 October 1947, over the objections of Eleanor Roosevelt, then an American delegate to the UN. Du Bois, frustrated with the State Department's opposition to the petitions, criticized Walter White for accepting a position as consultant to the US delegation; White in turn pushed Du Bois out of the NAACP.
The petitions were praised by international press and by Black press in the United States. America's mainstream media, however, were ambivalent or hostile. Some agreed that there was some truth to the petitions, but suggested that 'tattling' to the UN would aid the cause of Communism. And indeed the Soviet Union did cite them as evidence of poor conditions in America.
The Civil Rights Congress (CRC), the successor to the International Labor Defense group, began to gain momentum domestically by defending Blacks sentenced to execution such as Rosa Lee Ingram and the Trenton Six. The NNC joined forces with the CRC in 1947.
The petition quotes the UN’s definition of genocide as “Any intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, racial, or religious group is genocide" and concludes that "the oppressed Negro citizens of the United States, segregated, discriminated against, and long the target of violence, suffer from genocide as the result of the consistent, conscious, unified policies of every branch of government. If the General Assembly acts as the conscience of mankind and therefore acts favorably on our petition, it will have served the cause of peace." The CRC emphasized that attempting to destroy a group "in part" was part of the definition, and argued that treatment of African Americans qualified as genocide.
As evidence, the 237-page petition addresses the question of racism in the United States from different angles. It lists hundreds of wrongful executions and lynchings, refers to at least 10,000 undocumented cases, and also charges that U.S. had engaged in a conspiracy against African Americans' ability to vote through poll taxes and literacy tests. In addition to legal discrimination, the petition discusses systematic economic inequalities and differences in quality of life.
Ultimately, the petition holds the US government responsible for genocide, through endorsement of both racism and "monopoly capitalism"—without which "the persistent, constant, widespread, institutionalized commission of the crime of genocide would be impossible". Seeking to demonstrate the urgency of the problem, and to invite explicit comparisons between American genocide and Nazi genocide, the document focuses on incidents occurring after 1945. The CRC procured source material carefully, and critics of the document acknowledged that its facts were correct.
The CRC sought to demonstrate that systematic oppression of African Americans amounted to genocide because it reflected a violent white supremacy at the core of American culture.
On 17 December 1951, the petition was presented to the United Nations on two separate venues: Paul Robeson, concert singer and activist, together with people who signed the petition, handed the document to a UN official in New York, while William L. Patterson, executive director of the Civil Rights Congress, delivered copies of the drafted petition to a UN delegation in Paris. W. E. B. Du Bois, also slated to deliver the petition in Paris, had been designated an "unregistered foreign agent" and was deterred from traveling.
The 125 copies Patterson mailed to Paris did not arrive, allegedly intercepted by the US government. However Patterson was able to distribute other copies, which he had shipped in small packages to individuals' homes.
The document was signed by many people, including:
W. E. B. Du Bois, African American sociologist, historian and Pan-Africanist activist
George W. Crockett, Jr., African American lawyer and politician
Benjamin J. Davis, Jr., African-American lawyer and communist New York councilman
Oakley C. Johnson, Communist activist
Aubrey Grossman, labor and civil rights lawyer
Claudia Jones, Communist and black nationalist activists
Rosalie McGee, the widow of Willie McGee, who in 1951 was executed after being controversially convicted of rape
Josephine Grayson, the widow of Francis Grayson, one of the "Martinsville Seven", who in 1951 were executed in Virginia after a much-publicized trial
Amy Mallard and Dorris Mallard, remaining family of George Mallard, lynched in 1948 for voting
Paul Washington, veteran on death row in Louisiana
Wesley R. Wells, prisoner in California facing execution for throwing a cuspidor at a guard
Horace Wilson, James Thorpe, Collis English, and Ralph Cooper, four of the Trenton Six
Patterson said he was ignored by Ralph Bunche and Channing Tobias, but that Edith Sampson would talk to him.
Patterson was ordered to surrender his passport at the United States embassy in France. Having refused, US agents said they would seize it at his hotel room. Patterson fled to Budapest, where through the newspaper Szabad Nép he accused the US government of attempting to stifle the charges. The US government ordered Patterson detained in Britain and seized his passport when he returned to America. Robeson had been unable to obtain a passport, and the difficulty these two men faced in traveling led some to accuse the American government of censorship.
"We Charge Genocide" was mostly ignored by the mainstream American press, except for the Chicago Tribune, which called it "shameful lies" (and evidence against the value of the Genocide Convention itself). I. F. Stone was the only white American journalists to write favorably of the document.
The CRC had communist affiliations, and the document attracted international attention fueled by the worldwide communist movement. Raphael Lemkin, who invented the term "genocide" and advocated for the Genocide Convention, disagreed with the petition because the African American population was increasing—and accused its authors of wishing to distract attention from genocide in the Soviet Union because of their communist sympathies. Lemkin accused Patterson and Robeson of serving foreign powers, and published an op-ed in the New York Times arguing that Blacks did not experience "destruction, death, annihilation" that would qualify as genocide.
The petition was particularly well received in Europe, where it received abundant press coverage. Indeed, "We Charge Genocide" was popular almost everywhere in the world except in America—one American writer traveling India in 1952 found that many people had become familiar with the cases of the Martinsville Seven and Willie McGee through the document.
The American delegation heavily criticized the document. Eleanor Roosevelt called it "ridiculous". Black delegates Edith Sampson and Channing Tobias spoke to European audiences about how the situation of African Americans was improving.
The NAACP, at the request of the State Department, drafted a press release repudiating "We Charge Genocide", calling it "a gross and subversive conspiracy". However, upon hearing initial press reports of the petition, and the expected NAACP response, the group decided to hold back, ultimately deciding that the petition did, indeed, reflect many of its views.
"How can we 'blast' a book that uses our records as source material?", asked Roy Wilkins.
The CRC's power was already declining due to accusations of Communism during the Red Scare, and it disbanded in 1956.
The United Nations did not acknowledge receiving the petition. Nor was it expected to, given the strength of US influence.
The document has been credited with popularizing the term "genocide" among Blacks. After renewed interest generated by Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party, "We Charge Genocide" was republished in 1970 by International Publishers. Allegations of genocide were renewed in relation to the disproportionate effects of crack cocaine and HIV/AIDS in the United States. The National Black United Front petitioned the United Nations in 1996–1997, directly citing "We Charge Genocide" and using the same slogan.
Their petition begins:
"Declaration of Genocide by the U.S. Government Against the Black Population in the United States.
Whereas, we the undersigned people of African ancestry understand that the proliferation of the distribution and sale of crack cocaine...has reached epidemic proportions, causing serious harm to the African community in the United States. Therefore, we understand that this harm can only be described as acts of genocide by the United States government through its Central Intelligence Agency.
In addition to acts of genocide perpetuated through the CIA and in this recent revelation, acts of genocide can also be attributed to the Government's use of taxpayers' resources to wage war on a segment of the U.S. population. This is evidenced by the following: (1) cutting back on welfare; (2) privatization of public housing and land grab schemes; (3) privatization of public education; (4) racist immigration policies; (5) privatization of basic health care; (6) building prisons and the expanding incarceration of millions of African and Latino youth."
Mass incarceration is another American phenomenon sometimes connected to the word "genocide." Disproportionate application of the death penalty has been cited, as it was in the 1946–1951 era by the CRC. The term has generally not been used by the United Nations, anthropologists, or mass media to refer to the internal affairs of Western states after 1945.
The petition also represented one of the first high-profile uses of the modern concept of "racism", framed in relation to the eugenic ideology of the reviled Nazis.
"We Charge Genocide" was used as an example of how the Genocide Convention could be used against the United States. The convention remained unpopular with the United States government and was not ratified until 1986.
Question # 19. He was the first escaped slave seized in New England under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. Under the new law, northern authorities were required to help owners recapture slaves who had escaped to the North On February 15, 1851. Who was he ?
ANSWER: Shadrach Minkins
He was born into slavery and lived his first three decades in the port city of Norfolk, Virginia. In the years before the Civil War, many slaves fled Norfolk in hopes of traveling undetected across the Mason-Dixon Line. Not all were successful, but Shadrach Minkins was.
In May of 1850, he made his way to Boston. At mid-century, 2,500 blacks lived in the city and surrounding area. Newcomers found a vibrant free black community. They also found a large number of active abolitionists, both black and white.
Southerners had occasionally tried to reclaim slaves who had taken refuge in Boston, but local hostility to slavery made that task nearly impossible. Runaway slaves who reached Boston could expect to be absorbed into the city's black community or, if they wished to move on, helped along on the Underground Railroad.
A group of outraged Black men burst into a courtroom in Boston and rescued Shadrach Minkins, the first escaped slave seized in New England under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. Under the new law, northern authorities were required to help owners recapture slaves who had escaped to the North. When Shadrach Minkins's master found out that he was in Boston, he had U.S. marshals arrest him. They took him to the federal courthouse in Boston, where an angry crowd gathered. They stormed the courtroom and freed Minkins. He was taken to a hiding place on Beacon Hill. That night, he began his journey on the Underground Railroad. Six days later, he arrived safely in Canada.
Shadrach Minkins was born into slavery and lived his first three decades in the port city of Norfolk, Virginia. In the years before the Civil War, many slaves fled Norfolk in hopes of traveling undetected across the Mason-Dixon Line. Not all were successful, but Shadrach Minkins was.
In May of 1850, he made his way to Boston. At mid-century, 2,500 blacks lived in the city and surrounding area. Newcomers found a vibrant free black community. They also found a large number of active abolitionists, both black and white.
Southerners had occasionally tried to reclaim slaves who had taken refuge in Boston, but local hostility to slavery made that task nearly impossible. Runaway slaves who reached Boston could expect to be absorbed into the city's black community or, if they wished to move on, helped along on the Underground Railroad.
The situation changed dramatically in the fall of 1850. In an attempt to find a compromise that would save the Union, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law in September of 1850. The new law empowered slave owners or their agents to seize runaway slaves, backed up by nothing more than their sworn testimony. Law-enforcement officials throughout the North were now required to arrest suspected fugitives and assist in returning them to their owners. Anyone who aided an escaped slave or interfered with his or her arrest was subject to fine and imprisonment.
In cities all over the North, fugitives were now in danger of being seized by "slave hunters" and returned to their masters. Many runaway slaves left the United States altogether for safety in Canada. Others, like Shadrach Minkins, decided to stay and take their chances.
Minkins had only been in Boston for a few months when the Fugitive Slave Law was passed. He had been fortunate to find steady work as a waiter in a coffee house in the center of Boston and was lodging there, too. But on February 15th, his luck ran out.
Three days before, John Caphart, a constable and professional slave hunter from Norfolk, had arrived in Boston bearing legal papers from Minkins's master. Under the new law, all he had to do was get an arrest warrant for Minkins, bring him before a judge, and identify him as a runaway slave.
Caphart knew that abolitionist lawyers and angry mobs of free blacks had thwarted previous attempts to reclaim runaways in Boston. So he worked carefully, quietly securing the warrant and planning to capture Minkins before anyone could interfere.
In the early morning of Saturday, February 15th, Caphart put his plan into action. Patrick Riley, a deputy U.S. Marshal, was responsible for arranging the seizure. At dawn, Riley and his men gathered outside of the coffee house, where they hoped to take Minkins into custody before the city was fully awake.
When he heard that Minkins was already at work, Riley scheduled the arrest for 8:00 AM, but it was inexplicably postponed for three hours. The unsuspecting Minkins brought Riley and his deputies coffee while they waited for a man who had promised to identify the fugitive.
When the man failed to appear by 11:30, Riley began to worry that news of the plan would leak out and a mob would form to stop it. The deputies went to find out what was causing the delay. By chance, Minkins left the coffee house at the same time. A group of marshals was waiting outside. Thinking this was their signal, they grabbed Minkins, marched him out the back passageway, and directly across the street into the federal courthouse.
By this time, however, it was nearly noon, and many passersby had witnessed the episode. Word spread quickly, and soon about 200 people had gathered in the courtroom and hallways and on the steps of the courthouse. Abolitionist lawyers rushed to offer Minkins their assistance. There was little they could do, however, since the seizure was legal under the Fugitive Slave Law.
The lawyers stalled for time, and the crowd outside grew larger and angrier. In the afternoon, a judge ordered a hearing for the following Tuesday. Riley and his officers began clearing the courtroom. As the courtroom spectators joined the throng in the hallway, an already tense situation exploded.
According to one witness, a black man in the hallway rushed forward crying "Boys are you ready? Now is the time or never!" The furious mob rushed the courtroom door, overpowering the marshals inside. About 20 black men grabbed Minkins "by the collar and feet" and ran out the door, down the hallway and stairs, and into the crowded street. The crowd was so large and so hostile that the marshals dared not pursue the rescuers.
The atmosphere outside was jubilant and chaotic. Finally, the black activist Lewis Hayden separated Minkins from the crowd and took him to a hiding place on Beacon Hill. A few hours later, Hayden smuggled Minkins out of Boston to Cambridge and that night took him by carriage to an Underground Railroad stop in Concord.
Concord's abolitionists made sure Minkins had food, clothing, and rest. Then they saw him safely on his way to Fitchburg and from there to Canada.
In Boston there was both celebration and recrimination. Free blacks and white abolitionists savored what they saw as a victory over the Fugitive Slave Law. But the federal government responded with a barrage of arrests and trials for people who had assisted Minkins in his escape. Nine abolitionists were indicted, and some of them — including Lewis Hayden — were put on trial. All were eventually acquitted.
Shadrach Minkins settled among other fugitive slaves in Montreal, married, raised a family, and made his living as a barber. While as many as two-thirds of American-born blacks in Canada returned to the U.S. after the Civil War, Minkins did not. He lived out his life among black expatriates in Montreal, dying on December 13, 1875.
Shadrach Minkins: From Fugitive Slave to Citizen, by Gary Collison (Harvard University Press, 1997).
Question # 20. The following was his award winning poem. Who is he ?
What is Africa to me:
Copper sun or scarlet sea,
Jungle star or jungle track,
Strong bronzed men, or regal black
Women from whose loins I sprang
When the birds of Eden sang?"
[from the poem "Heritage"]
Answer: Countee Culllen
Countee Cullen was born on May 30, 1903, and was recognized as an award-winning poet by his high school years. He published his acclaimed debut volume of poetry, Color, in 1925, which would be followed by Copper Sun and The Ballad of the Brown Girl. Also a noted novelist, playwright and children's author, Cullen later worked as a high school teacher. He died on January 9, 1946.
Countee Porter Cullen was born on May 30, 1903. His exact place of birth is unknown, though some sources state that he may have been born in Louisville, Kentucky, or Baltimore or New York City. Having lost his parents and brother, it is believed he was raised by his paternal grandmother until her death during his teen years. He was then taken in by Carolyn Belle and Reverend Frederick A. Cullen, a conservative minister at the renowned Salem Methodist Episcopal Church in Harlem.
From 1918-1921, Cullen attended DeWitt Clinton High School, where he edited the school newspaper and literary magazine and won a city-wide poetry competition. He went on to attend New York University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1925 and won the Witter Bynner Poetry Prize. That same year, Cullen released his lauded debut volume of poetry, Color.
He graduated with a master's from Harvard University in 1926 and subsequently joined the editorial staff of Opportunity magazine, penning the column "Dark Tower," which was a review of works from the African-American literati.