Slavery in the US

Jesse Thornton: The Alabama Man Who Was Lynched for Not Addressing a White Man as “Mister”

On June 22, 1940, in the small town of Luverne, Alabama, Jesse Thornton, a 26-year-old African-American man, was lynched for allegedly failing to address a white man as "Mister." Thornton managed a chicken farm and had gone to town...

South Carolina Negro Act of 1740: The Code that Prohibited Enslaved Africans from Learning to Read

Passed by the South Carolina Assembly on the 10th of May, 1740, the Negro Act was a comprehensive set of laws aimed at controlling and subjugating the enslaved population within the colony. Among its most notorious provisions was the...

Remembering George Meadows: The African American Man Lynched Under False Allegations of Rape and Murder in 1889

Lynched on January 15, 1889, in Jefferson County, Alabama, Meadows became a victim of a society plagued by racism, false accusations, and mob justice. The events leading to Meadows's lynching began on January 14, 1889, when a white woman reported...

Delphine LaLaurie: The Serial Killer Who Sadistically Tortured and Killed Her Slaves for Fun

Delphine LaLaurie was a prominent New Orleans socialite in the early 19th century who became infamous for the atrocities committed at her mansion, particularly after a fire in 1834 revealed the horrific conditions in which enslaved Africans were kept. Born...

Onesimus: How an Enslaved African Gifted to a Pastor Helped Save Boston from Smallpox

Onesimus was an enslaved African who, in the late 17th century, was purchased and given as a gift to Puritan minister Cotton Mather. His extensive knowledge of inoculation, a practice he had undergone in Africa to prevent smallpox, would...

James Gordon: The Reverend Who Led the Protests Against Ota Benga’s Exhibition in a Zoo in 1906

Born in the United States, James H. Gordon is best known for his courageous advocacy for social justice, particularly his efforts to end the dehumanizing exhibition of Ota Benga at the Bronx Zoo in 1906.

Harry Washington: The Slave Who Escaped George Washington’s Plantation, Fought for the British, and Eventually Settled in Africa

Harry Washington was an African who was enslaved by none other than George Washington, the future first President of the United States. However, Harry’s story transcends the chains of slavery, as he not only fought for his own liberation...

John Hartfield: The Black Man Who Was Lynched for Dating a White Lady in 1919

John Hartfield was a black man who met a gruesome fate in Ellisville, Mississippi, in 1919, for the supposed crime of being romantically involved with a white woman, Ruth Meeks. Born into a society deeply divided along racial lines, Hartfield...

Augustus Tolton: The Runaway Slave Who Became a Catholic Priest in the US

Tolton was an African-American born into slavery in Monroe County, Missouri, around 1854. During the Civil War, he fled to Quincy, Illinois, with his family and eventually became the first publicly recognized Black Catholic priest in the United States. Tolton's...

The Brutal Lynching of Frazier B. Baker and His Infant Daughter by a White Mob in 1898

In 1897, when Frazier B. Baker, an African-American educator, assumed the role of postmaster in Lake City, South Carolina, local whites objected angrily and launched a campaign to remove him. Despite their efforts, when they failed to remove Baker...
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The Newark Riots of 1967 and how it was Ignited by Police Brutality

The Newark riots, which stand as one of the most devastating urban uprisings in American history, were part of...