Everyday we learn something new and Black History Month gives us an opportunity to get more facts about our forefathers. Check out what happen on this day in Black History.
1793- First fugitive slave law was enacted by Congress.
This law was passed by the United States Congress in 1793 and again in 1850 to provide for the return of slaves who escaped from one state into another state or territory. As hard as it is to believe now, this law all slavemaster needed to do was go before a magistrate and provide oral or written proof of ownership. From there an order was issued of the slave. The slave was given no trial in court or allowed to present evidence on their own behalf. If that slave was free and had a proof of it, still didn’t matter.
1865- Henry Highland Garnet became the first Black to speak in the Capitol.
Garnet delivered a memorial sermon on the abolition of slavery at services in the House of Representatives. Born a slave in Maryland, in 1815 he escaped in 1824 and made his way to New York where he studied at the Oneida Theological Institute in Whitesboro. From his studies he would become a Presbyterian minister. Garnet joined the Anti-Slavery Society and became one of the organizations leading lecturers. However, he was disowned in 1843 by his peers he called upon slaves to murder their masters.
After serving as a pastor in Jamaica Garnet returned to the U.S. during the Civil War and demanded that Abraham Lincoln permit the enlistment of African-American soldiers.
In 1865 Garnet became the first African-American to deliver a sermon before the House of Representatives. He also worked for the Freedmen’s Bureau, where he was involved in developing programs to help former slaves.
1900- James Weldon Johnson writes ”Lift Every Voice and Sing”.
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