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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Alex Haley: How “Roots” Seeded a Historical Racial Myth

TweetShareShare “I was just trying to give my people a MYTH to live by” (Alex Haley, author of “Roots”). On February 23, 1993—29 years ago today–an investigative journalist broke a story that Haley’s best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning Roots: The Saga of An American Family was a “hoax.” Haley, this journalist claimed, had “invented 200 years of…

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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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Paul Cuffe: The Shipper Who Shaped a Nation

TweetShareShare“Let me pass away quietly.” These were the last five words of PAUL CUFFE (1759-1817). He was the son of a freed Ghana slave (father) and a Wampanoag Indian tribe (mother). He taught himself to read and write and do math. He also self-learned marine navigation. In 1772, Cuffe inherited his family farm (due to…

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