The Quakers in Pennsylvania emancipate their slaves.
On this date,
the Haitian Act of Independence drafted by Boisrond Tonnere was read by Jean-Jacques
Dessalines on the Place d’Armes of Gonaives,
declaring Haiti (formerly Saint-Domingue) independent from
Haiti had emerged as the second republic in the Western
Hemisphere and the first independent Black-led republic in the modern world. It
was named in recognition of the old name of Ayiti of the Taino Arawak people
who originally inhabited the island. At the conclusion of Haitian Revolution
led by the armies of Dessalines, the only successful slave rebellion in
history, in a final and decisive victory over the French forces at the
Battle of Vertières on November 18, 1803, that nation declared its
the French Revolution, the gens de couleur pressed the
colonial government for expanded rights in October 1790, 350 revolted against
the government. On May 15, 1791, the French National Assembly granted political
rights to all blacks and mulattoes who had been free, but this did not change
the status quo regarding slavery.
1791, the revolution was initiated in a ceremony at the Bois Caiman on a stormy
night presided over by Dutty Boukman, a Houngan, and Edaise, an old Manbo, a priest and priestess respectively of Haiti’s
African-derived Voodoo religion. According to Haitian legend, during culmination of the ceremony, Boukmand and Edaise ritually sacrificed a
pig. Those assembled were required to drink from the foaming blood of the
slaughtered animal. They swore to revolt against their white masters, kill
them, destroy their possessions, follow Boukman's orders, and fight for freedom
or die for it. At the ceremony, Boukman
spoke of the will to be free. “Hidden god in a cloud is there, watching us. He
sees all the Whites do … [and] our god that is so good orders vengeance; he
will assist us. Throw away the thoughts of the white god who thirsts for our
tears; listen to the freedom that speaks from our hearts.” He prophesied that Jean François, Biassou, and Jeannot would be leaders
of a slave revolt that would free the slaves of Haiti.
22, 1791, slaves in the north rose against their masters near Cap-Française
(now Cap-Haitien). This revolution spread rapidly and came under the leadership
of Toussaint L’Ouverture. Commonly referred to as the “Black Napoleon,” he soon formed alliances
with the gens
de couleur and the maroons, whose rights had been revoked by the French
government in retaliation for the uprising.
the revolt began, Boukman was taken and beheaded by French authorities. The
French then publicly displayed Boukman’s head in an attempt to dispel the aura
of invincibility that Boukman had cultivated. The attempt failed and Boukman
was eventually admitted into the pantheon of Ioa (Vodou spirits).
armies fought and defeated the French colonial army, but then joined forces
with it in 1794, following a decree by the revolutionary French government that
abolished slavery. Under L’Ouverture’s command, the Saint-Domingue army then
defeated invading Spanish and British forces. This cooperation between
L’Ouverture and French forces ended in 1802; however, when Napoleon sent a new
invasion force designed to subdue the colony, many islanders suspected the army
would also reimpose slavery. Napoleon’s forces initially were successful at
fighting their way onto the island and persuaded L’Ouverture to a truce. He was
then betrayed and captured and died in a French prison. L’Ouverture’s arrest
and the news that the French had reestablished slavery in Guadeloupe, led to
the resumption of the rebellion under the leadership of Dessalines and Henri Christophe, two of
L’Ouverture’s generals. Napoleons’s forces were outnumbered by the combination
of Dessalines, Christophe, and Alexandre Petion, the
“Generals of the Revolution.”
the burden of slavery and French colonial rule, the revolutionaries of Haiti inspired
people of African descent around the world, particularly those who remained in
slavery. Many White Haitians fled to the United States.
historians have shortchanged Haiti
and its importance to the history of the Americas because of the way it came
into existence. The Haitian Revolution is seldom remembered or taught at United States
universities. Haitian historians, on the other hand, often suppressed elements
that were not in accord with the country’s pro-Western privileged in their
attempt to achieve respectability in Europe and North
America. Both positions have had a lasting impact in how Haiti is viewed
in modern times.
special note, the late Dr. Asa Grant Hilliard, III (1933–2007), the
Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Urban Education at Georgia State University,
postulated in a 13 part series televised in the late 1980s entitled “Free Your Mind, Return to the Source: African
Origins" and hosted by Listervelt
Middleton, that because of Napoleon’s defeat in Haiti, in his conquest
of Egypt in 1798 (to which he met defeat), he had his troops to shoot the broad
noses and lips off many Egyptian artifact, most particularly the Sphinx,
because they reminded him of the people who had defeated him in Haiti.
is one of the most momentous days in Black history. It was on this day that the
international slave trade was
abolished in the United States.
This stopped the legal importation of African slaves, but did not stop domestic
trading of slaves. Despite the abolition, the slave trade actually continued
for decades. For example, the last slave ship illegally arrived in the United States
in 1859 shortly before the start of the Civil War. It should be noted that
slavery itself was not abolished. Instead, it was the importation of Blacks
from Africa that was abolished.
African Benevolent Society (Education) is founded.
was on the first day in Boston
that William Lloyd Garrison published
the Liberator newspaper,
the official periodical of the anti-slavery movement.
This weekly newspaper ran for 35 years (until December 29, 1865). It was the
most influential antislavery publication in the pre-Civil War period of U. S. history.
Although The Liberator, available in Boston, could claim a paid circulation of only 3,000, it reached a much wider readership with its uncompromising advocacy of immediate emancipation for the millions of Black Americans enslaved throughout the South. “The success of any great moral enterprise,” Garrison once wrote, “does not depend upon numbers.”
His message of morality challenged moderate reformers to apply the principles
of the Declaration of Independence to all people, regardless of color. Nervous
slaveholders in the South, assuming that The Liberator represented the majority opinion of Northerners, reacted militantly by
defending slavery and by legislating ever more stringent measures to suppress
all possible opposition to its “peculiar institution.”
The Liberator further altered the course of the American antislavery movement by insisting
that abolition, rather than African colonization, was the answer to the
problem of slavery.
Samuel David Ferguson was born on this date. He was a Black priest and bishop.
From Charleston, South
Carolina, he immigrated with his parents to Liberia, Africa,
at the age of six. Ferguson
received his education in the mission schools under Bishop Payne and became a teacher
in 1862. He was ordained deacon on December 28th 1865, and became a
priest on March 15th 1868. During his deaconate he served as
assistant minister in St. Mark’s parish and became rector of the same parish.
He was president of their standing committee for several years, and also
business agent of the mission, and superintendent of the Cape Palmas female orphan asylum and girls’ school.
Having been elected missionary bishop for West Africa in 1885, he came to the United States,
and was consecrated in Grace Church, New York City in June 1885. Soon afterward
he returned to Cape Palmas, Liberia and founded Cuttington College.
the first Black member of the House of Bishops where he served until his death,
August 2, 1916.
Bridget “Biddy” Mason and her children are granted their freedom by the California
courts.After gaining her freedom, she
will move to Los Angeles,
where she will become a major landowner and be known for her philanthropy to
The Black Code in Arkansas. A law went into effect in Arkansas which prohibited
the employment of free blacks on boats and ships navigating the rivers of that
this date, President
Abraham Lincoln issued the second executive order of the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring
“free forever the slaves in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama,
Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia” with exception of
thirteen parishes in Louisiana, including New Orleans, forty-eight countries in
West Virginia, seven countries (including Norfolk) in Eastern Virginia.
Proclamation did not apply to slaves in Border
proclamation was of tremendous symbolic importance but of only minor practical
significance. First, it freed the slaves in the rebellious states of the South.
But since the Union troops did not yet control the South, no slaves went free.
The union had nominal control over the Border
States. But the emancipation did not apply to the Border States. About the
only slaves who gained their legal freedom as a result of the Emancipation were
those who had already escaped from the South and were helping or fighting in
the Union army.
This document marked a radical exodus in then American policy, reflecting the
public sentiment in the north. About 3,120,000 Black African people gained
freedom by the terms of the Proclamation, which is regarded as one of the most
important documents of the United
States. After the Civil War started, the slavery issue was heightened by the
escape to Union lines of large numbers of slaves who volunteered to fight
for their freedom and that of their fellow slaves.
In these circumstances, a strict application of established policy would have
required return of fugitive slaves to their Confederate masters and would have
alienated the staunchest supporters of the Union cause in the North and abroad.
Abolitionists had long been urging Lincoln
to free all slaves, and public opinion seemed to support this view. He moved
slowly and cautiously nonetheless; on March 13, 1862, the federal government
forbade all Union army officers to return fugitive slaves, thus annulling in
effect the fugitive slave laws. On April 10, on Lincoln’s initiative, Congress declared the federal government would compensate slave owners who freed their slaves.
All slaves in the District of
Columbia were freed in this way on April 16, 1862. On
June 19, 1862, Congress endorsed a measure prohibiting slavery in United States
territories, thus defying the Supreme Court decision in the Dred Scott case,
which ruled that Congress was powerless to regulate slavery in the territories.
Finally, after the Union victory in the Battle of Antietam on September 17,
1862, Lincoln issued a preliminary proclamation on September 22, declaring his intention
of circulating another proclamation in 100 days, freeing the slaves in
the states deemed in rebellion at that time. On January 1, 1863, he issued
the Emancipation Proclamation.
With the passing of the 13th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution in
effect in 1865, slavery was completely abolished. The results of the
Emancipation Proclamation were far-reaching, Lincolns Party (Republican) became
unified in principle and in organization, and the prestige it attained enabled
it to hold power until 1884.
The British protectorates of Northern
& Southern Nigeria are established.
annual report of the NAACP listed total
receipts from May through December, 1911 of $10,317.43. Organization had local
chapters in Chicago, Boston
and New York.
Dr. Muriel Marjorie Petioni was born on this date. She is an African-American doctor and activist and community server.
From Trinidad, Port of Spain,
she is the daughter of Rose Alling, a department store clerk and Charles
Augustin Petioni, a newspaper reporter. Her family migrated to New York City when Muriel was five years old.
Her father became a prominent Harlem physician, activist and nationalist of Caribbean independence. Young Petioni attended public schools
68, 136, and Wadleigh H. S. After two years at New
York University, she
received her Bachelor of Science degree from Howard University
in 1934. She continued her education at Howard and graduated from Howard
University School of Medicine in 1937. After a two-year internship at Harlem Hospital from 1937-1939, she embarked upon an illustrious career as a trailblazer
for African-American women and medicine.
For forty years, she maintained a private practice that predominantly served
poor and disadvantaged patients. Over twenty-five years ago, she founded
the Susan Smith McKinney Steward Medical Society, a Black women’s physician’s
association. Later she established the Medical Women of the National Medical
Association, which is now called the Council for the Consensus of Women.
Because she always understood the importance of Black professionals serving
as role models, for nearly twenty-five years she worked diligently with
the Coalition of 100 Black Women to develop a mentoring program for young
women interested in the sciences and medicine.
Dr. Petioni’s professional affiliations, honors, and achievements are numerous, and exemplify her commitment and devotion to community medicine on the highest levels. She is Chair and President of the Board of Directors of the Friends of Harlem Hospital, an organization that raises funds for a number of activities and causes. She also holds Board memberships on the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, Columbia School of Social Work, American Cancer Society (New York and Harlem Branches), Schomburg Corporation, Harlem Health Promotion Center, Greater Harlem Nursing Home, Sister to Sister (a Cancer Support Group for Women), Harlem Council of Elders, and Handmaids of Mary.
Petioni is also a member of the New York Chapter of the Coalition of 100 Black
Women. She embodies the philosophy that medicine should be a form of community
service. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated an extraordinary and
indefatigable commitment to women’s issues, community medicine, social justice,
and health care for the under-served.
John Henrik Clarke was born on New Years Day. He was an African-American historian, writer,
From Union Springs, Alabama,
his family came from a long line of sharecroppers, moving to Columbus, Georgia
when he was four years old. A young Clarke taught the junior Bible class at a
local Baptist church. He noticed that although many bible stories “unfolded in Africa...I saw no African people in the printed and illustrated Sunday school
Clarke started research that took him to libraries, museums, attics, archives
and collections in Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and Africa. He gathered his findings into books on such
figures as the early 20th century mass movement leader Marcus
Garvey, into articles with titles like “Africa in the Conquest of Spain,”
“Harlem as Mecca and New Jerusalem,” and many books including American
Heritage’s two volume “History of Africa.” He brought his findings to life in
discussions to Black audiences hungry for a history so long lost, stolen or
strayed. While he was teaching at Hunter
College in New
York and at Cornell
University in the 1980s,
Clarke’s lesson plans became well known for their attention to detail. They are
so packed with references and details that the Schomburg Library in Harlem asked for copies.
In 1985, the year of his retirement, the newest branch of the Cornell University
Library- a 60 seat, 9,000-volume facility- was named the “John Henrik Clarke
Africana Library.” Clarke once wrote, “History is not everything but it is the
starting point. History is a clock that people use to tell their time of day.
It is a compass they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It
tells them where they are, but more importantly, what they must be.” Dr. John
Henrik Clarke died, July 16, 1998, in New
York City. Though he was totally blind towards the
end, he still managed to lecture and write books.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of
Black History,” published the first issue of Journal of Negro History.
Pollard, Brown University’s All-American halfback, became the first
Black to play in the annual Rose Bowl game in Pasadena,
CA. Brown was defeated 14–0 by Washington
State University in the second game of the classic series.
Ulysses Simpson Kay is born in Tucson, Arizona.
He will become a classical composer and one of the first American composers to
travel to the Soviet Union. He will be known
for his works for orchestra, piano, and chamber ensemble.
Milt Jackson was born on this date. He was an African-American jazz musician, the first and most influential vibes player of the modern jazz era.
From Detroit, Jackson began playing vibes or vibraphone
professionally at age 16. He attended Michigan State
University and joined
Dizzy Gillespie’s sextet in 1945; he then worked with Gillespie’s big band and
later returned to play vibes and piano in Gillespie’s sextet from 1950 to 1952.
During this time, he freelanced with leading bop musicians in New York City and played in the Woody Herman band.
Also called “BAGS,” Jackson was a cofounder of the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ), which was his principal
performance mouthpiece from 1952 to 1974. Meanwhile, he also recorded often
as sideman, including classic sessions with Thelonious Monk Evidence, Criss
Cross, and Miles Davis Bags’ Groove; and as leader, including sets with
top tenor saxophonists Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, and Lucky Thompson.
Jackson’s fluent playing had an undeniable swing is heard in long lines of
eighth and sixteenth notes; he created an original style out of bebop’s
advanced harmonies and irregular beats. His sensitivity to balance and contrast
made much of his playing with the MJQ gentle when compared with his aggressive
work in his own groups. Milt Jackson
died in 1999.
Lou Stovall was born on this date. He is an African-American Artist and Printmaker.
From Athens, Georgia,
he grew up in and attended Technical High School, Springfield, Massachusetts.
Stovall initially studied Art at the Rhode Island School of Design, and Howard University
where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Since 1962, he has lived and
worked in Washington, D.C. His drawings and silkscreen prints have brought him grants from the National
Endowment for the Arts and the Stern Family Fund. Under his direction,
Workshop, Inc. has grown from a small but active studio primarily focused
with community posters into a professional printmaking facility.
Stovall is a master printmaker but his passion is drawing. His own prints and
drawings are part of numerous public and private collections throughout the
world, including the George Walter Vincent
Springfield, Massachusetts. His recognition as a master
in this field has gained him commissions to print works of such noted artists
as Josef Albers, Peter Blume, Alexander Calder, Elizabeth Catlett, Gene Davis,
David Driskell, Sam Gilliam, Lois Mailou Jones, Jacob Lawrence, Robert Mangold,
Mathieu Mategot, A. Brockie Stevenson and James L. Wells.
Through his “Workshop, Inc.”, founded in 1968, he has made a unique effort to
build a community of artists in Washington,
D.C. and to encourage, by his own
example, service in the community. Among his special commissions he designed
the Independence Day invitation for the White House in 1982 at the request of
Mrs. Ronald Reagan. In 1986, at the request of Mayor Marion Barry, he made the
print American Beauty Rose for the Washington,
D.C. Area Host Committee 1988
Democratic National Convention. In 1996 he designed and made the print
Breathing Hope to Honor, Howard
president H. Patrick Swygert.
Judge John Paul of Roanoke,
VA, ruled that segregation of Negroes on public carriers was a
matter for the carriers to decide.
Tripplett and Dennie Hoggard of Penn State University saw action against Southern Methodist
University in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
They were the first Blacks ever to play in the annual New Year’s Day classic.
Republic of Sudan became an
autonomous republic with the French Community on this date. Egypt and the United Kingdom immediately recognized the new nation at that time.
became a member of the Arab League on January 19 and of the United Nations on
November 12. The first general parliamentary elections after Sudan attained independence were held on February 27, 1958. The Umma Party won
a majority and formed a new government on March 20. Lieutenant General
Ibrahim Abboud, the commander in chief of the armed forces, overthrew it
on November 17. In 1969 a group of radical army officers, led by Colonel
Gaafar Muhammad al-Nimeiry, seized power and set up a government under
a revolutionary council. Political tension continued and several coups
President Nimeiry won reelection to a third term in April 1983. In September he
issued a blanket pardon for some 13,000 prisoners and announced a revision of
the penal code to accord with Islamic law (Sharia). Martial law was imposed in
April 1984 in the wake of rising tensions with Libya, protests over food price
increases. Opposition in the predominantly non-Muslim south Sudan to Islamization remained in force until late September. Renewed unrest led in April 1985 to Nimeiry’s expulsion in a bloodless military coup.
After a year of military rule, Sadiq al-Mahdi, the great grandson of Muhammad
Ahmad, was elected prime minister in the first free election in 18 years.
Voting was postponed in 37 southern constituencies, however, due to a guerrilla
war against the Muslim Arab government led by southern rebels known as the
Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). In mid-1998 peace talks, the SPLA and
the government tentatively agreed to accept an internationally supervised vote
on self-determination in the south. However, no date was set for the vote, and
the talks failed to produce a cease-fire.
Cameroon gains its
independence from France.
Federation of Rhodesia
& Nyasaland is dissolved.
The West African Economic Community is formed
with Benin, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Upper Volta as
Aruba becomes an
independent part of Kingdom of the Netherlands.
David Dinkins is sworn in as first African American mayor
of New York City.
prison for Nelson Mandela and many other
South Africans is turned in to a museum at Robben Island.
Kofi Annan or the West
African nation of Ghana
became the first Black Secretary General of the United Nations, making him a
major force in international politics.
Shirley Chisholm, an advocate for minority rights who became
the first African American woman elected to Congress and later the first
African American to seek a major party’s nomination for the U.S.
presidency, joins the ancestors at the age of 80. The Rev. Jesse Jackson calls
her a “woman of great courage.”