Memorial Day: How Former Slaves Created a National Holiday

TweetShareShare American summers are built around three holidays: Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. Memorial Day and Labor Day are the bookends. The July 4th celebration is the centerpiece. Most Americans view Memorial Day as the “kickoff” for summer…and it is. But there’s much more to this holiday than we think. Unfortunately, many contemporary…

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John Marrant: America’s First Black Preacher

John Marrant

TweetShareShareHe was among America’s first black preachers. A fiery Methodist who converted thousands—blacks, Indians, whites—to Christianity in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His life story–of only 35 years–has inspired millions. John Marrant was born a free black June 15, 1755 in New York City. When his father died, at four, his mother moved…

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Booker T. Washington: The Tuskegee Titan

Booker T. Washington

TweetShareShareHe’s on a very short list of highly influential Black Americans. He was a prolific author, outstanding orator, influential educator and inspiring leader. He was among the last Black American generation born into slavery. His name was Booker T. Washington (1856-1915). Booker was born into slavery in Virginia, sometime in 1856. After Lincoln emancipated the…

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George Washington Carver: God’s Peanut Man

George Washington Carver

TweetShareShare“When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” These weren’t just words to George Washington Carver (1864-1943). They were his legacy. Few Americans lived bigger and better lives. Carver was born a slave, but eventually became a botanist, educator, conservationist, and artist.…

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Biddy Mason: The Mormon Slave That Became a Californian Treasure

Biddy Mason

TweetShareShare“Biddy” spent nearly forty years as a slave for a Mississippi slave master. She never learned to read or write. And yet she saved her midwife salary to become a wealthy Black real estate magnate…and revered philanthropist. It’s quite the story. It’s also an inspiring tale that proves it’s not how you start life that…

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Samuel Sharpe: The Jamaican Slave Preacher That Sparked Abolition

Samuel Sharpe

TweetShareShare“I would rather die upon yonder gallows than live my life in slavery.” Those were the passionate words of a young Black Jamaican slave preacher. His story changed the world…and that makes this tale worth telling. His name is Samuel “Daddy” Sharpe and he was born on a plantation owned by Samuel and Jane Sharpe…

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Robert James Harlan: Ohio’s Political Powerhouse

Robert James Harlan

TweetShareShareRobert James Harlan (1816-1897) may have been born a slave but he lived most of his life free as a bird. And this Ohio bird could sing…and travel…and succeed. Born in Virginia on December 12, 1816. Harlan’s mother was mulatto, and his father was white. Consequently, Robert’s light-skinned complexion often helped him. As a young…

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Antoine Dubuclet, Jr.: The Cajun Savior of Louisiana

Antoine Debuclet

TweetShareShareHe was one of America’s wealthiest Black businessmen. As a Republican State Treasurer he saved debt-ridden Louisiana following the Civil War. But his story runs counter to many of the popular narratives in Black history today. Consequently, it’s a tale that worth telling. His name is Antoine Dubuclet, Jr. (1810-1887). He was a sugar planter…

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