One of the escaped slaves that night was William B. Gould, a 24-year old plasterer who worked on the Bellamy Mansion. What is known of the daring escape is based on Gould’s diary. The slaves’ goal was to reach the Union blockading ships and thus gain freedom. At one point, they had to pass directly beneath Fort Caswell, a Confederate stronghold heavily armed to keep Union naval forces out of Wilmington harbor. Escapees aboard all three ships ultimately were picked up by Union ships. Gould went on to serve aboard two ships in the U.S. Navy. His diary—the only known diary of a black soldier during the Civil War who was a former slave—provides a unique insight into the Maritime Underground Railroad and the day-to-day life of a former slave fighting to secure freedom for himself.
Kennard wrote poignant letters about the need for desegregation and his right to attend Mississippi Southern College. Instead of being admitted, the state of Mississippi framed him on criminal charges for a petty crime and sentenced him to seven years of hard labor at Parchman Penitentiary where he was beaten and serious health problems went untreated. Read more about Kennard’s brave story and his moving letters on the Zinn Education Project website: http://bit.ly/1ghbmMw Read more July 4 people’s history stories from throughout U.S. history here: http://bit.ly/1JDtrkk Portrait by Robert Shetterly of Americans Who Tell the Truth.
July 2, 1777- Vermont became the first American colony to abolish slavery. By 1783 slavery was prohibited in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Pennsylvania passed a gradual emancipation law in 1780. Connecticut and Rhode Island barred slavery in 1784 and were followed by New York (gradual emancipation) and New Jersey in 1799 and 1804, respectively. Slavery died in the North as a direct result of forces set in motion by the Rights of Man movement.
Allen was born Allen Macon Bolling August 4, 1816 in Indiana. He grew up a free man and learned to read and write on his own. In the early 1840s, he moved to Portland, Maine where he earned his license to practice law. However, because White people were unwilling to have a Black man represent them in court, in 1845 Allen moved to Boston, Massachusetts. Allen passed the Massachusetts bar exam that same year and he and Robert Morris, Jr. opened the first Black law office in the U. S. In 1848, Allen passed another exam to become Justice of the Peace for Middlesex County. After the Civil War, Allen moved to Charleston, South Carolina and in 1873 was appointed Judge in the Inferior Court of Charleston. The next year, he was elected Judge Probate for Charleston County. Later, Allen moved to Washington, D. C. where he worked as an attorney for the Land and Improvement Association. Allen practiced law right up until his death June 11, 1894.
Thurgood Marshall (Jul. 2, 1908 – Jan. 24, 1993), best known for his victory in Brown v. Board of Education and his role as Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court from 1967-1991. Marshall’s father was a railroad porter and his mother was a school teacher. Here are resources for teaching about the long history of the Brown v. Board case: http://bit.ly/1brzK4x Also born this day in history, Medgar Evers (1925) and Patrice Lumumba (1925).
March 6, 1857 the U.S. Supreme Court declared in Dred Scott v. Sandford that “Any person descended from Africans, whether slave or free, is not a citizen of the United States, according to the Constitution.” Read “From Dred Scott to Ferguson: Missouri at the Heart of a National Debate” by historian Blair Kelly in CommonDreams.org: http://bit.ly/1waalfP The Zinn Education Project offers a classroom lesson on a people’s history of the abolition movement.Portrait by Louis Schultze/Missouri Historical Societyo
On Mar. 15, 1942, more than 1,300 Norwegian teachers were arrested by the German Nazi-installed government run by Vidkun Quisling after 12,000 of 14,000 nationwide had refused to join the new Nazi-oriented teachers’ association and resisted nazification of the curriculum. Half were held in a concentration camp outside the capital of Oslo. The rest were shipped to the Arctic for forced labor alongside Russian prisoners of war. Here is more information about this story: http://bit.ly/1MBvUdx