Tag Archives: Civil War

The Journey to Emancipation: the Germantown Protest, 1688


NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.A Page From Our American Story“Pray, what thing in the world can be done worse towards us, than if men should rob or steal us away, and sell us for slaves to strange countries; separating housbands (sic) from their wives and children.” — from The Germantown Protest (against slavery).

In 1565, the Spanish colony of St. Augustine, in what is now Florida, became the first permanent European settlement in North America. Among the settlement’s population were some of the first enslaved Africans brought to the New World.

The first permanent settlement of African slaves in British Colonial North America arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, via a Dutch slave trading ship in 1619. It wasn’t long before the American colonies found themselves economically dependent on slave trading and enslaved labor.

Emancipation Proclamation Reproduction
Reproduction of the Emancipation
Proclamation at the National Underground
Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

More than two hundred years later, on January 1, 1863, in the midst of our civil war, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation would free slaves in the rebellious southern states. The Proclamation, along with the voices and actions of individuals such as Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, William Lloyd Garrison, and others, would ultimately lead to the passage of the 13th Amendment two years later, ending slavery in the United States and freeing nearly four million African Americans.

Reaching that milestone, however, was a long, painful, and bloody process. One of the earliest recorded actions toward ending slavery was taken by a small group of Quakers in Germantown, Pennsylvania Colony, in 1688.

Before slavery truly became institutionalized in the colonies, some Africans were sometimes treated more like indentured servants who were freed once their service ended or debt had been paid, a practice employed at times by various early Dutch and Spanish explorers and settlers. However, this changed dramatically in 1641 when Massachusetts became the first British mainland colony to legalize slavery. From that time forward, colonial slave laws became more restrictive, further codifying the institution.

Not everyone was blind to slavery’s immorality. Although slavery played a major role in the economy of colonial Rhode Island, there were some who tried to temper the practice with a 1652 law that placed restrictions on slave owning and prohibited enslavement of any person for more than 10 years. However, the effect was limited. Slave holders simply sold anyone nearing the deadline and took ownership of new slaves, thus continuing the cycle.

3b43018r.jpg
Bas-relief portrait of Francis Daniel Pastorius,
c. 1897. From the Library of Congress.

In 1688, Francis Daniel Pastorius, and three of his fellow Quakers, drafted the first, formal anti-slavery resolution in America. The resolution raised objections to slavery on both moral and practical grounds during a period when Pennsylvania Quakers were nearly unanimous in their acceptance of the practice.

The decree is referred to as “The Germantown Protest,” or “1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery.” It articulated themes of justice and equality that would be echoed throughout the long, painful period of slavery in America.

The authors’ premise was based on the biblical “Golden Rule” — treat others as you wish to be treated. Additionally, the authors recognized that colonial slave treatment mirrored the persecution Quakers had seen in Europe, and, to an extent, in the colonies.

“There is a saying, that we should do to all men like as we will be done ourselves; making no difference of what generation, descent, or colour (sic) they are… To bring men hither [to America], or to rob and sell them against their will, we stand against.”

Sadly, “The Germantown Protest” did not spark a significant change in the Americas against slavery. Even within Quaker communities the declaration was ignored, at least initially. But a seed had been planted. A belief shared silently by many was given voice.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. While it is tempting to view the Proclamation solely through the lens of Civil War events, in order to grasp the full context and importance of Lincoln’s decision, we must examine the issue of slavery in the North American colonies from its beginnings. From the Spanish colony in St. Augustine, to the first Dutch ship sailing into Jamestown, and to the Civil War waged to end it, slavery was a 300-plus year institution in America, leaving scars, fortunes, and repercussions we deal with still today.

dd-enews-temp-lonnie-bunch-2.jpg All the best,

Lonnie Bunch
Director

P.S. We can only reach our $250 million goal with your help. I hope you will consider making a donation or becoming a Charter Member today.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is

Meet Mimi Smith: African American FH Player who played on the US National Team


Sports Life!

about_tamika7

I wanted to write and talk about black African Americans as field hockey players. As a young African American girl, I really had no one (as the same color) to look up to; besides my sister that is.  I went into Google one day and looked up “African American Field Hockey Players”, thus falling upon the great Mimi Smith.

It’s not uncommon and certainly obvious that there are not many black women who participate in field hockey and that it is said to be a “white” sport. I definitely beg to differ and am for the change of incorporating more field hockey into black schools and neighborhoods. And the reason I say this is possible is because of people like Mimi Smith.

Picking up a field hockey stick by accident one day, and realizing that she loved the sport is something that most field hockey players share in common. But…

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On 1/31 ~ The House passes the 13th Amendment


Amendments 13-15 are called the Reconstruction Amendments both because they were the first enacted right after the Civil War and because all addressed questions related to the legal and political status of the African Americans.

On 1/31 in 1865, the U.S. House of Representatives passes the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in America. The amendment read, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

When the Civil War began, President Abraham Lincoln’s professed goal was the restoration of the Union. But early in the war, the Union began keeping escaped slaves rather than returning them to their owners, so slavery essentially ended wherever the Union army was victorious.

In September 1862, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in areas that were still in rebellion against the Union. This measure opened the issue of what to do about slavery in border states that had not seceded or in areas that had been captured by the Union before the proclamation.

In 1864, an amendment abolishing slavery passed the U.S. Senate but died in the House as Democrats rallied in the name of states’ rights. The election of 1864 brought Lincoln back to the White House along with significant Republican majorities in both houses, so it appeared the amendment was headed for passage when the new Congress convened in March 1865. Lincoln preferred that the amendment receive bipartisan support–some Democrats indicated support for the measure, but many still resisted.

The amendment passed 119 to 56, seven votes above the necessary two-thirds majority. Several Democrats abstained, but the 13th Amendment was sent to the states for ratification, which came in December 1865. With the passage of the amendment, the institution that had indelibly shaped American history was eradicated

Amendments 13-15 are called the Reconstruction Amendments both because they were the first enacted right after the Civil War and because all addressed questions related to the legal and political status of the African Americans.

blackpast.org

the History of Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day

Each year on February 14th, many people exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” The day of romance we call Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century, but has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia.

Reinvesting in Washington


What would we cut if there was nothing left?

Year after year, our state held the budget together by cutting services and delaying investments in our future. And Washington families have been unfairly left to pick up the check for what’s left.

But at some point, we have to take a stand. We have to be willing to make a real investment in the future of our children and our grandchildren — and that’s what my 2015 budget will do.

Are you ready to take a stand for a working Washington? Click here to declare your support for my 2015 budget plan.

This isn’t another plan that puts a Band-Aid on our budget problems. This plan is sustainable, responsible, and fair. It champions the values we care about most, from education to cleaner, healthier communities — and I need your help to make it a reality.

Do you believe we must stop climate change before it’s too late by charging our state’s biggest polluters?

Do you believe we can’t stop at making overdue repairs to roads and bridges — that we must create jobs building the transportation infrastructure of tomorrow?

Do you believe it’s time to invest in our schools and lead the country by making some of our largest and smartest investments in education ever — from pre-K to college and job training?

Do you believe our budget should be rooted in fairness?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, I need you to step up and sign my petition — right now.

Help me pass a budget that reinvests in the future of Washington. Click here to declare your support.

This is bigger than just one year’s budget. This is about moving our state in a new direction, and I need your help to get there.

Thanks for standing with me today and in the days ahead.

Very truly yours,

Jay Inslee