Moses Roper: the fugitive from slavery cast aside by British abolitionists

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2022-02-17 02:24Z by Steven

Moses Roper: the fugitive from slavery cast aside by British abolitionists

The Guardian
2022-02-16

Mark Brown, North of England correspondent

Moses Roper, painted in 1839, was the first fugitive enslaved person to lecture in the cause of abolition in Britain and Ireland.

Historians argue Roper’s story could have helped end US slavery earlier but supporters turned on him

In his day, the 19th-century fugitive from slavery Moses Roper was a well-known public figure who toured Britain and Ireland telling gripped and shocked audiences about his horrific experiences in Florida.

Today he is largely overlooked but, two Newcastle University academics argue, the important story of this fascinating man represents a “lost opportunity” for the British abolition movement to have helped end slavery in the US earlier.

Bruce Baker, a reader in American history, said it was surprising how little attention had been paid to Roper, given he was a pioneer. “Historians haven’t really paid a lot of attention to Roper, even though he was the first fugitive slave to lecture in the cause of abolition in Britain and Ireland.”

Baker and his colleague Fionnghuala Sweeney, a reader in American and Black Atlantic Literatures, have now published a paper in an academic journal and are working on a full biography of Roper. They aim to rescue him from obscurity, painting a picture of a radical, driven man ruined by the British abolition movement that turned against him.

Roper fled enslavement in Florida in 1834 and, fearing for his safety, made his way to Britain, where he was supported by churchmen and abolitionists. They helped fund his education and in 1837 he published the first edition of his Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper from American Slavery

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A Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper, from American Slavery

Posted in Autobiography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United Kingdom, United States on 2022-02-17 02:01Z by Steven

A Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper, from American Slavery

University of North Carolina Press
September 2011 (originally published in 1840)
50 pages
6 x 9, 4 illustrations
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-6965-9
eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6966-6

Moses Roper (c1815-1891)

 

The Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper can be read as an extended autobiographical meditation on the meaning of race in antebellum America. First published in England, the text documents the life of Moses Roper, beginning with his birth in North Carolina and chronicling his travels through South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Roper was able to obtain employment on a schooner named The Fox, and in 1834 he made his way to freedom aboard the vessel. Once in Boston, he was quickly recruited as a signatory to the constitution of the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS), but he sailed to England the next year. Roper’s narrative is especially interesting because although it was published after Frederick Douglass’s much-heralded 1845 Narrative, Roper actually preceded Douglass in his involvement in AASS as well as in his travel to the United Kingdom. This text is often cited by literary scholars because of its length, its extensive detail, and its unforgiving portrayal of enslaved life in the “land of the free.”

Also, available to read via Documenting the American South (DocSouth) here.

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‘I am not a beggar’: Moses Roper, Black Witness and the Lost Opportunity of British Abolitionism

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, United Kingdom, United States on 2022-02-17 01:37Z by Steven

‘I am not a beggar’: Moses Roper, Black Witness and the Lost Opportunity of British Abolitionism

Slavery & Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies
Published online 2022-02-09
DOI: 10.1080/0144039X.2022.2027656

Fionnghuala Sweeney, Reader in American and Black Atlantic Literatures
Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Bruce E. Baker, Historian
Paxton, Scotland, United Kingdom

Scholars have long known the Narrative of North Carolina writer and activist Moses Roper, first published in London in 1837. This article uses newly discovered sources and the multiple editions of the Narrative to reconstitute the biography of this first fugitive slave abolitionist to lecture in Ireland and Britain. It explores Roper’s interactions with British abolitionists, especially prominent Baptist ministers Francis A. Cox and Thomas Price. Roper’s indisputable witness to the horrors of American slavery played a crucial role in refocusing British and Irish attention from the completed task of West Indian emancipation to the looming work yet to be done in the United States. Supporting Roper’s independence, in both his campaigning and his creation of his own British family, proved too much for the British abolitionist establishment, resulting in Roper being cast out and a major opportunity to lead on matters of transatlantic moral consequence lost. More significantly, African American voice was denied its authority and a platform from which to speak.

Read the entire article here.

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Slavery took hold in Florida under the Spanish in the ‘forgotten century’ of 1492-1619.

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2022-02-09 03:42Z by Steven

Slavery took hold in Florida under the Spanish in the ‘forgotten century’ of 1492-1619.

Tampa Bay Times
2019-08-29

J. Michael Francis, Hough Family Endowed Chair
University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Gary Mormino, Professor emeritus of History
University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Rachel Sanderson, Associate Director, La Florida: The Interactive Digital Archive of the Americas
University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Artistic rendering of Luisa de Abrego and others [ KATE GODFREY | University of South Florida, St. Petersburg ]

Every 16th century Spanish expedition to Florida included Africans, both free and enslaved.

On Jan. 5, 1595, an infant boy named Esteban was baptized in the small Spanish garrison town of St. Augustine. In the priest’s three-line baptism entry, Esteban’s mother is identified only by her first name, Gratia. Described as a slave owned by a Spanish woman named Catalina, Gratia was one of perhaps 50 slaves who lived in St. Augustine at the end of the 16th century. And like Gratia, most of the town’s other slaves appear only briefly in the historical record, with few personal details besides a Christian name: Simón, María, Agustín, Francisca, Ana, Baltasar, Felipe or Ambrosio.

Collectively, their long-forgotten stories document and complement a remarkable history that dates back more than a century before the first slaves reached Virginia in 1619. They portray a society that was fluid and eclectic. By 1619, La Florida’s population included Spaniards, Portuguese, Greeks, Italians, French, Flemish, Germans, two Irishmen, West Africans, Sub-Saharan Africans and a diverse group of Native Americans. In other words, early Florida reflected a population that resembled modern America.

Floridanos of African descent were present from the earliest Spanish expeditions to the peninsula. Most readers are familiar with the founding myth of Florida and Juan Ponce de León’s alleged search for the Fountain of Youth. However, his 1513 voyage takes on a different complexion when we understand the crew’s composition, which included several free blacks. One of them, Juan Garrido, a native of West Africa, later participated in Hernando Cortés’s 1519 conquest of Mexico, where he lived over the next two decades, participating in numerous conquest expeditions. In a lengthy petition submitted to the Spanish Crown in 1538, Garrido highlighted his three-decade career as a “conquistador,” adding that he commissioned the construction of Mexico City’s first Christian chapel and that he was the one who introduced wheat into Mexico

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NAACP to Tampa: For Juneteenth, find Robert Meacham, a slave who became senator

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2021-06-14 02:32Z by Steven

NAACP to Tampa: For Juneteenth, find Robert Meacham, a slave who became senator

Tampa Bay Times
2021-06-12

Paul Guzzo, Tampa Bay LIfe Reporter


This portrait of Robert Meacham was taken around 1870. Meacham was an enslaved man who was later elected Florida senator. [Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory]

He was buried in the erased College Hill Cemetery believed to be located in what is now the Italian Club Cemetery’s parking lot.

TAMPARobert Meacham was an enslaved man who became a Florida state senator pushing for educational opportunities for Black children.

“Robert Meacham is the type of man who deserves a street named for him,” said Fred Hearns, the curator of Black history at the Tampa Bay History Center. “Maybe even a statue.”

But he doesn’t even have a marked grave.

Meacham is among the more than 1,200 buried in Tampa’s erased College Hill Cemetery for Blacks and Cubans, believed to be located in what is now the Italian Club Cemetery’s parking lot.

June 19 is Juneteenth, the day commemorating the anniversary of when in 1865 the enslaved in Texas were freed. It serves as the day to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States

…Meacham was born in Gadsden County in 1835. His mother was an enslaved woman. His father was her white owner.

As a child, Meacham rode alongside his father in the family buggy and was educated. But, when he turned 18, Meacham was taken to Tallahassee to “fulfill the role of a house-servant for an affluent Leon County family.” When his father died, Meacham became that family’s “property.”…

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This interracial couple got engaged in Obama’s America. Then Trump took office.

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2020-10-20 20:55Z by Steven

This interracial couple got engaged in Obama’s America. Then Trump took office.

The Washington Post
2020-10-20

Sydney Trent, Local enterprise reporter


David and Jessica Figari with daughter Liliana at their home outside of Tampa. (Eve Edelheit for The Washington Post)

David and Jessica Figari are navigating racial and political divides in their country — and in their family — that they never anticipated when they fell in love

On the already muggy morning of Aug. 28, 2013, David Figari and Jessica Jones held hands in the billowing crowd near the steps of the Georgetown University Law Center. The young lovers had traveled from Florida to meet each other’s relatives and attend the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

The reminiscences from 1963 march veterans had ended and the trek to the Lincoln Memorial was about to begin when David saw an organizer standing near a microphone at the top of the stairs. He walked up to the man with the mic and introduced himself.

“Hey, I’d like to say something. Can I do it?” David said.

The man gave him the once-over and immediately said “No.”

“No, no, you don’t understand. I’d like to propose to my girlfriend.”

“No,” the man said again.

“I said, ‘No, you don’t understand,’” David said. “‘That’s my girlfriend.’”

He pointed to Jessica. Something clicked — this couple, this moment — and the man gasped.

“Everyone, everyone, really quick!” he announced. “David actually has something to say.”…

Read the entire article here.

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A Hard Conversation for the Latino Community

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2020-07-07 02:21Z by Steven

A Hard Conversation for the Latino Community

The New York Times
2020-07-03

Jorge Ramos, Television Anchor
Univision


Ilia Calderón onstage during Univision’s Premio Lo Nuestro 2020 at Miami’s American Airlines Arena, in February. Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Racism is deeply rooted in America’s social system, putting Afro-Latinos at a constant disadvantage.

MIAMI — Every weeknight, I sit down next to my co-anchor Ilia Calderón to host the Spanish-language news program “Noticiero Univision.” Although our many viewers have come to know Ms. Calderón’s face, not many know how much she has had to overcome to sit in that chair. Her story, like that of many Latinos with African ancestry in the United States, is one of tremendous personal achievement, as well as astonishing perseverance in the face of deep-seated racism.

Ms. Calderón was born in the Chocó region of Colombia, a place she describes as “our little Black paradise.” When Ilia was 10, she left home to study in a Catholic school in Medellín, where one of the white students was so disgusted by the color of Ilia’s skin — and so proud of her own fair complexion — that she told Ilia, “You’re Black? Not even my horse is black!” That first encounter with racism in Latin America left a mark on Ilia — one she never forgot.

When she moved to Miami in 2001 to pursue a career in journalism, things weren’t much different. “I had to endure racism in Colombia,” she told me recently, “and it turns out that here I have to face the same thing. It’s how they look at you, how they behave when you are around. …It’s like you have to go through that experience twice: For being Hispanic and also for being Black.”

According to a 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center, 24 percent of the roughly 54 million Hispanics living in the United States at the time self-identified as Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean or as another, more specific Afro-Latino identity, such as Afro-Colombian. At the same time, 34 percent identified as “mestizo, mulatto or some other mixed race.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, A Memoir

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Gay & Lesbian, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2019-04-20 01:00Z by Steven

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, A Memoir

Bloomsbury
2019-03-05
336 pages
16 B&W illustrations throughout
5 1/2″ x 8 1/4″
Hardback ISBN: 9781635571851
EPUB eBook ISBN: 9781635571868

T Kira Madden

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls

Acclaimed literary essayist T Kira Madden’s raw and redemptive debut memoir is about coming of age and reckoning with desire as a queer, biracial teenager amidst the fierce contradictions of Boca Raton, Florida, a place where she found cult-like privilege, shocking racial disparities, rampant white-collar crime, and powerfully destructive standards of beauty hiding in plain sight.

As a child, Madden lived a life of extravagance, from her exclusive private school to her equestrian trophies and designer shoe-brand name. But under the surface was a wild instability. The only child of parents continually battling drug and alcohol addictions, Madden confronted her environment alone. Facing a culture of assault and objectification, she found lifelines in the desperately loving friendships of fatherless girls.

With unflinching honesty and lyrical prose, spanning from 1960s Hawai’i to the present-day struggle of a young woman mourning the loss of a father while unearthing truths that reframe her reality, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is equal parts eulogy and love letter. It’s a story about trauma and forgiveness, about families of blood and affinity, both lost and found, unmade and rebuilt, crooked and beautiful.

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More cities add Barack Obama’s name to landmarks, highways

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Virginia on 2019-01-19 05:12Z by Steven

More cities add Barack Obama’s name to landmarks, highways

USA TODAY
2019-01-13

Chris Woodyard, Los Angeles Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELESBarack Obama hasn’t been the president for nearly two years, but his fame is still spreading – at least when it comes to naming things after him.

The nation’s first African-American president need not go far around the country these days to find something that carries his name. There’s Barack Obama Way in New Albany Township, Indiana, and Barack Obama Boulevard in Pahokee, Florida. There’s a long list of schools now named for him, like Barack Obama Academy for Academic & Civic Development in Plainfield, New Jersey, and Barack Obama Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia.

Obama even has animal species named after him, like placida barackobamai, a sea slug

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I dig through archives to unearth hidden stories from African-American history

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2018-12-27 02:48Z by Steven

I dig through archives to unearth hidden stories from African-American history

The Conversation
2018-12-04

Jane Landers, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of History
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee


An archivist works with a document from Paraiba, Brazil. David Lafevor, CC BY-SA

Many years ago, as a graduate student searching in the archives of Spanish Florida, I discovered the first “underground railroad” of enslaved Africans escaping from Protestant Carolina to find religious sanctuary in Catholic Florida. In 1738, these runaways formed Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, the first free black settlement in what became the U.S.

The excitement of that discovery encouraged me to keep digging. After doing additional research in Spain, I followed the trail of the Mose villagers to Cuba, where they had emigrated when Great Britain acquired Florida. I found many of them in 18th-century church records in Havana, Matanzas, Regla, Guanabacoa and San Miguel del Padrón.

Today, those records and others live on in the Slave Societies Digital Archive. This archive, which I launched in 2003, now holds approximately 600,000 images dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Since its creation, the archive has led to new insights into African populations in the Americas

…Previously unknown church records for Havana’s black Brotherhood of St. Joseph the Carpenter document the membership of Jose Antonio Aponte, executed by Spanish officials in 1812 for leading an alleged slave conspiracy. Our records similarly document the marriage and death of another famed “conspirator” – the mulatto poet Gabriel de la Concepcion Valdes, better known as Placido

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