US Colored Troops
Events in Local African American History
Month by Month
January February March April May June July
August September October November December
1, 1826: African American preacher Jarena Lee preaches at the
Methodist Episcopal Church on the southeast corner of Second and South
in Harrisburg. While in town, she stayed with a Mr. Williams.
1, 1831: William Lloyd Garrison publishes his first issue of The
1 1836: American Anti-Slavery Society lecturer Samuel
L. Gould speaks at the Wesley Church in Judystown, an African American
neighborhood of Harrisburg, addressing a mostly African
American audience. His series of anti-slavery speeches inflames the
town council, which, fearing he is "exciting the colored
population of this borough," issues an official resolution
calling for him to "desist from his efforts."
1, 1863: The Emancipation Proclamation is issued. (text
January 3, 1816: Stephen Smith becomes a free man as
he buys his freedom from Thomas Boude of Columbia with fifty dollars
a friend. He
would rise to become a leader in his community and church, an Underground
Railroad activist, and the wealthiest African American businessman
in America during his time.
January 7, 1891: Novelist and dramatist Zora Neale Hurston is born in
January 9, 1861: Mississippi becomes the second state to secede
from the Union.
January 9, 1866: The
first classes are held at Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee. This
historic African American college is named for
General Clinton B.
Fisk of the Tennessee Freedman’s Bureau. Graduates include
W.E.B. DuBois and John Hope Franklin.
10, 1861: Florida becomes the third state to secede
from the Union.
11, 1861: Alabama becomes the fourth state to secede from
January 13, 1863: Federal officials formally authorize
the raising of African American troops for the South Carolina Volunteer
14, 1836: Harrisburg Anti-Slavery Society is formed. Its
president is Rev. Nathan Stem, of the Episcopal Church. Vice-presidents
William W. Rutherford and Mordecai McKinney. Other notable members
Graydon and Rev. John Winebrenner.
15, 1863: Harrisburg’s leading African American residents meet
in the Bethel A.M.E. Church to form a response to the Emancipation
Proclamation. Hailing a “new era in our country’s history,” they
pledge to take up arms alongside white soldiers “if called
15, 1929: Civil rights leader and founder of the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference, Martin Luther King, Jr. is born in
16, 1838: First statewide meeting of the Pennsylvania Antislavery Society
opens in Harrisburg’s Shakespeare Hall, a year after its founding
in the same place. The three days of meetings are attended
by Charles C. Rawn.
January 18, 1856: Dr. Daniel Hale Williams is born in Hollidaysburg,
Pennsylvania. Dr. Williams performed the first open heart
surgery in 1893 when
he sutured a knife wound to the pericardium of a stabbing
19, 1861: Georgia becomes the fifth state to secede from
January 20, 1838: At the state Constitutional Convention
in Harrisburg, delegates voted 77 to 45 to restrict the vote in Pennsylvania
to “white freemen.” African
American men would not regain the right to vote in Pennsylvania
until passage of the 15th Amendment, in 1870.
January 25, 1972: Shirley Chisholm announces
her candidacy for the presidency of the U.S.
26, 1861: Louisiana becomes the sixth state to secede from
January 27, 1800: A public slave auction
is held in Lower Paxton Township, at the home of tanner
Jacob Awl, to sell slaves
Peter and Grace,
as other possessions.
28, 1838: Anti-slavery activist William H. Burleigh speaks in Harrisburg.
Burleigh had attended a lecture by Dr. Booth
Colonization Society, held at a local church on the same
day, and in a letter to
The Liberator, denounced Booth as a "pro-slavery
29, 1861: Kansas is admitted to the Union as a free state.
January 31, 1837: Shakespeare Hall in Harrisburg is the site
of a convention to form a state anti-slavery society.
attended and the proceedings were reported to The
Liberator by correspondent
31, 1845: Attempted kidnapping in Harrisburg of African American resident Peter
Hawkins by the notorious
slave catcher Thomas
1861: Texas becomes the seventh state to secede from
February 1. 1865: Illinois becomes the first state to ratify the 13th
Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.
1, 1902: Langston Hughes,
poet and writer, is born in Joplin, Missouri.
2, 1866: President Andrew Johnson meets with a delegation
of African Americans, led by Frederick Douglass, who ask him to
vote for African American men. Johnson refuses to support the
3, 1837: The Pennsylvania Antislavery Society is formed in convention
at Shakespeare Hall in Harrisburg. Attendees include
Dr. F. Julius
LeMoyne, Charles C. Burleigh, Jonathan Blanchard, and Benjamin
3, 1977: The final episode of the televised version of Alex Haley’s
Roots draws the highest ratings ever to that point.
February 6, 1820: First American freed slaves establish a colony on
the coast of Liberia under the auspices of the American Colonization
The Elizabeth, called the “Mayflower of Liberia,” departs
from New York carrying 86 free African Americans, bound for
7, 1926: The first “Negro History Week” to be
observed begins. Educator Dr. Carter G. Woodson designates the second
of February as a week for his students to study the accomplishments
and history of
8, 1865: Delegates to The State Equal Rights Convention of Colored People
of Pennsylvania meet in Harrisburg to
of the vote to African American men.
8,1915: D.W. Griffith’s
motion picture "Birth of a Nation" is released. Its
blatantly racist imagery provokes
the NAACP to boycott the movie and protest its screenings.
It is in response to this movie, however, that African
American cinema begins to appear
February 10, 1927: Soprano Leontyne Price is born in Laurel,
Mississippi. Price made her Broadway debut in 1952,
and her operatic
debut in 1957.
February 12, 1793: Passage of the first Federal Fugitive Slave
Act, intended to replace the legal maze of local, state
regarding fugitive slaves.
12, 1909: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
as a means
rights in the courts.
February 14. 1818: Abolitionist Frederick Douglass is
born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Because
of birth was
to him, Douglass adopted February 14th as his birthday.
15, 1851: The “Shadrach Rescue” takes place in Boston. Fred
Wilkins, known as “Shadrach,” was seized
by federal officials as a fugitive slave, but the
well-known local man was successfully rescued
from the courthouse by a crowd of fifty African
Americans. None of those charged in the rescue
was ever convicted.
February 18, 1688: The “Germantown Protest” is written. Garret
Hendericks, Derick up de Graeff, Abraham up den Graef and Francis Daniell
four Quakers at Germantown, Pennsylvania, write
a protest against the enslavement of Africans. Based upon the Golden
Rule, it was delivered
to the larger Monthly Meeting, where it was not
acted upon and was largely ignored.
18, 1969: Simmering racial unrest flares up in Harrisburg’s
schools. Arson fires and assaults on students
caused the John Harris, William Penn and Camp Curtin schools to close
day until order could
be restored. John Harris was closed again due
the words of school superintendent Glenn Parker,
on February 20.
February 20, 1843: Paxton Lodge No. 5, an African American
Masonic Lodge, is established in Harrisburg.
20, 1895: Death of Frederick Douglass.
21, 1965: Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom
22, 1839: Octavius Valentine Catto is born in Charleston, South Carolina.
at Philadelphia’s Institute for Colored
Youth and was invaluable in raising large
numbers of African American troops during
War. A tireless equal rights activist, Catto
was murdered on Election Day, October 10,
1871 by opposition party rowdies.
22, 1841: Painter Grafton Tyler Brown
is born in Harrisburg.
22, 1861: Abraham Lincoln stops in Harrisburg
on the way to his inauguration in Washington. The President-elect and his
entourage arrived by train on Market Street at two o'clock,
p.m., to a welcoming committee headed by Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin backed
by thousands of Pennsylvania militiamen. The presidential party stayed
at the Jones House on Market Square. About four hours later, the President-elect
was spirited out of town, under cover of darkness, to a waiting train,
for a hair-raising night journey to Washington, to foil an assassination
22, 1888: Painter Horace Pippin is born in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Pippin is perhaps best known for his
Brown Going to his Hanging.”
23, 1869: W.E.B.
DuBois is born.
24, 1811: Daniel Alexander Payne is born in Charleston,
South Carolina to free
African American parents
Martha and London
attended the Lutheran
Seminary at Gettysburg in 1835 and went
on to become the sixth bishop of the A.M.E.
American president of a college.
24, 1837: An anti-abolition meeting in Susquehanna
Township elects trustees
to manage the Hailman
Schoolhouse in the township.
The citizens charge the trustees with
allowing the use of the schoolhouse for preaching, "but in no
event shall they open the door to lectures on abolitionism, negroism,
25, 1782: Thirty-year-old Hercules Johnston, “a mulatto,” enlists
in the Fourth Pennsylvania Regiment,
in Carlisle. Johnston is described as “5
Feet 8 inches high, born in Paxtang,
Lancaster county, short black curled hair, a blemish on his left eye,
yellow complexion, by trade a hammerman."
25, 1870: Hiram Revels, first African American in
the U. S. Senate, begins his term.
26, 1869: Congress approves the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution,
giving the vote to African
Americans. The amendment
must be ratified
by the states.
2, 1867: Congress passes the Reconstruction Act
3, 1865: The Freedman’s Bureau is established by Congress
to provide assistance to freed slaves.
4, 1837: An anti-abolition meeting is held at the Unitarian
Church to elect delegates to the May 1837 state Integrity of the
Convention, at the Dauphin County Courthouse.
5. 1770: The infamous Boston Massacre occurs. The first
person to be killed by British troops is Crispus Attucks, a 47 year-old
in Boston. Attucks had escaped from slavery in Framingham twenty
years before his martyrdom.
6, 1857: Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivers the Supreme
Court decision against Dred Scott, a slave seeking his freedom,
declaring that Congress
had no power to prohibit slavery in the territories of the
United States. Writing for the majority decision, Justice
Taney wrote that African Americans "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it."
7, 1756: The slave of Andrew Lycan, of Wiconisco, helps defend
the farm from an attack by hostile Native American raiders.
was then entrusted to evacuate the wounded to safety in
Hanover Township when the attack threatened to overwhelm the defenders.
March 9, 1820: The Elizabeth, or the “Mayflower of Liberia,” arrives
in Sierra Leone carrying 86 free African Americans who
will begin a colony on the coast of Liberia under the auspices of the
10, 1858: John Brown meets with Henry Highland Garnet, William Still, and
other African American leaders at the
home of Stephen
10, 1913: Harriet Tubman dies.
March 20, 1852: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe,
is published in Boston with great fanfare. It had previously
been serialized in the National Era, an abolitionist newspaper, but huge
led to its appearance in book form. The first edition
of five thousand copies sold out in two days.
March 26, 1726: “An Act for the Better Regulation of Negroes in
this Province,” is passed in Philadelphia. Designed to calm white
fear of a growing African population, the law was a fully defined set
Codes that prohibited blacks from drinking, marrying
whites, loitering, hiring out their own time, sheltering other Blacks,
congregating in groups
larger than four persons, carrying weapons, and traveling
without a pass. Penalties included a return to enslavement.
March 30, 1870: The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution
is ratified, protecting the right to vote for African
1, 1837: Edward Prigg is indicted in York for the kidnapping
of Margaret Morgan and her children in violation of the 1826 Pennsylvania
Liberty Law. This sets in motion a trial and appeal that ends up
as the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Prigg vs Pennsylvania.
1, 1878: Dinah, former slave of the Cowden family,
dies at about ninety years of age. She is buried in Paxton Presbyterian
2, 1845: A delegation of American Antislavery Society speakers, including
Abby Kelley (later Abby Kelly Foster) and Jane Elizabeth
at the Courthouse in Harrisburg. A Philadelphia correspondent
reports that they lectured to large audiences, "many of whom were
the lectures were marred by pro-slavery activists who "raised
false alarms of fire," heckled the speakers, and showered
the group with eggs. The women were also threatened with tar
and feathers, and duckings.
The speakers also spoke at local black churches, where they were
unmolested by rowdies.
4. 1792: Thaddeus Stevens, named for the Polish patriot Thaddeus
Kosciuszko, is born in Danville, Vermont to Joshua and Sarah
4, 1968: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated
in Memphis, Tennessee, at the Lorraine Hotel while in town to lead
of striking sanitation workers against low wages and poor working
5, 1800: Eanus, the slave of Robert Clark, of Southampton Township, Cumberland
County, is arrested for trying to protect his young
son from being taken
away by a new owner, Jesse Kilgore, of Newton Township. Eanus
leveled a gun at Kilgore when the man tied up Eanus’ son,
but Eanus was convinced to put the weapon down and surrender.
5, 1839: Robert Smalls, the only African American naval captain to serve during
Civil War, is born in Beaufort, S.C.
5, 1856: Booker Taliaferro Washington, first principal
of Tuskegee Institute, is born in Franklin County, Virginia.
7, 1712: The New York slave insurrection involved twenty-three
slaves who burned a slaveholder’s house, fought
with authorities, and killed nine whites. Twenty-one
of the rebels were executed, but the event shocked
slaveholders across the colonies. Pennsylvania promptly
imposed higher tariffs on the purchase of slaves in a
temporarily successful measure
to curb slave importation.
April 9, 1865: The forces of Robert E. Lee, commanding
the Army of Northern Virginia, surrender to General Ullysses S. Grant
at the village of Appomatox Court House, Virginia. The surrender, which
was finalized with a ceremony on April 12, effectively ended the war
9, 1866: Congress overrides a veto by President Johnson
and passes the Civil Rights Act, guaranteeing citizenship
12, 1787: Richard Allen and Absalom Jones form the Free
African Society in Philadelphia.
12, 1861: The American Civil War begins with the shelling
of Fort Sumter, South Carolina, by Confederate batteries. The bombardment
began at four-thirty a.m. and continued for thirty-four hours. The
Union garrison surrendered on Saturday, April 13, 1861.
12, 1865: The Army of Northern Virginia officially disbands
and over 28,000 Confederate soldiers stacked their arms at Appomattox
House, Virginia, and returned home, marking the end of the war
14, 1800: Caesar, the slave of John McAllister of Tyrone
Township, Cumberland County (modern day Perry County),
is beaten to death
by William McAllister,
John’s brother, for the supposed crime of
stealing some money. Both men are later tried and
of murder by a county court.
14, 1851: The Franklin family is arrested in Harrisburg, including
a small child born in Pennsylvania. Slave Commissioner
Richard McAllister tries
to suppress protests by holding the hearing in the
pre-dawn hours, but word gets out. The family is sent south without
the youngest child, who
is placed with a local black family.
14, 1865: President Abraham Lincoln is shot at Ford's Theater
by John Wilkes Booth.
15, 1865: At 7:22 a.m., Abraham Lincoln dies from the wound
received at Ford's Theater from assassin John Wilkes Booth.
15, 1947: Jackie Robinson becomes the first African
American to play
baseball in the
major leagues when he appears at Ebbets Field with
the Brooklyn Dodgers.
16, 1862: President Abraham Lincoln signs a bill ending
slavery in the District of Columbia.
16, 1863: The Harrisburg
Daily Telegraph reports
a fugitive slave who was being lawfully taken
through the city back to slavery in Maryland.
1861: Virginia becomes the eighth state to secede from
21, 1825: Harrisburg's first reported incident
in which local Blacks come to the aid of
a captured fugitive
the use of public
demonstration and force in an unsuccessful
21, 1865: Abraham Lincoln's funeral train brings his body
to Harrisburg, arriving about 8:30 p.m. At Market and Fifth streets,
his body was transferred to a hearse hitched to four white horses.
Grooms led the horses west on Market Street to the Square, turned
north to travel along Second Street to State, where the funeral procession
turned right to proceed to the Capitol. From 9:30 p.m. until midnight,
Harrisburg citizens filied through the House Chamber of the Capitol
to view his body in the open casket.
22, 1865: At 7 a.m., mourners began viewing Abraham Lincoln's
body in the House Chamber of the Capitol at Harrisburg. At 9 a.m.,
the casket was closed and prepared for the funeral procession back
to the waiting funeral train at the Market Street station. More than
forty thousand people lined the route along State, Second and Market
streets. Ordinary citizen mourners were allowed to join the funeral
procession at the end, with African American citizens segregated
to the very rear. The train pulled out of Harrisburg at 11 a.m.
25, 1821: Harrisburg borough passes an ordinance
requiring all “free
persons of color” to register with
the town burgess and report their names,
addresses and the names of all family
members and other non-whites in their
homes. They had
to notify the authorities
if they moved to another residence in
town, and if anyone moved in with them.
was an attempt to control non-whites
who were not
already under the rigid controls of slavery
and indentured servitude.
28, 1847: George B. Vashon, son of John Bethune
Vashon, a political activist and Underground
the first African American to pass the
New York State Bar.
29. 1824: Birthday of George Boyer Vashon, abolitionist, lawyer and educator.
Carlisle to abolitionist
and rights activist
was the first African American graduate of
Oberlin College. He studied law and was later
of Avery College
go on to help found Howard University.
29, 1852: A. D. Ridgely, a police officer from Baltimore,
an alleged fugitive slave working at a
lumberyard in Columbia, PA. Ridgely was accompanied
by Solomon Snyder of Harrisburg, a deputy
to Federal Slave Commissioner Richard McAllister
in the north.
1, 1837: The Friends of the Union Convention, also called the Integrity
of the Union State Convention, opened at the Dauphin County Courthouse
with about one hundred delegates. The purpose of the state convention
appears to have been to ease the fears of slaveholders in the Southern
states regarding the purpose and beliefs of Pennsylvania’s
2, 1837: Anti-slavery activist Thaddeus Stevens attends the statewide
anti-abolition Integrity of the Union Convention in Harrisburg with
the intent to disrupt and mock the proceedings, which he does.
6, 1861: The Confederacy formally recognizes that a state
of war exists with the United States of America. Arkansas becomes the
ninth state to secede from the Union to join the Confederacy.
7, 1878: African American inventor Joseph Winters patents the wagon mounted
fire escape ladder for the fire department of Chambersburg,
significantly enhancing the ability of firefighters to rapidly
reach people in tall buildings.
9, 1800: John Brown is born at Torrington, Connecticut, the son
of Owen and Ruth Mills Brown.
9, 1846: New England Abolitionist Charles T. Torrey dies
in the Maryland Penitentiary of tuberculosis, just hours before a
pardon from Maryland Governor Thomas G. Pratt reached the prison
warden. In December 1844, Torrey had been convicted in Baltimore of
aiding the slaves of Bushrod Taylor of Virginia and the slaves of
William Heckrotte, of Baltimore, escape into Pennsylvania.
11, 1834: Thomas Morris Chester is born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,
the fourth child of George and Marie Chester.
14, 1838: Pennsylvania Hall opens in Philadelphia as a grand
auditorium for anti-slavery and other social reform groups.
It would be burned
by a mob three days later.
17, 1838: Pennsylvania Hall, built by the Philadelphia Female
Anti-Slavery Society as a meeting place for abolitionists,
is burned by a mob
incensed about whites and blacks meeting together at a female
being held there.
17, 1954: U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education declares
that the doctrine of “separate
but equal” in
public education is unconstitutional, setting the stage for
the desegregation of American schools.
18, 1896: U.S. Supreme Court decision in Plessey vs. Ferguson establishes
the doctrine of “separate but equal” public facilities
for African Americans.
19, 1925: Malcolm X is born in Omaha, Nebraska.
20, 1861: North Carolina secedes, becoming the tenth state
to join the Confederacy.
24, 1852: James Phillips, a longtime Harrisburg resident,
is remanded south by U.S. Slave Commissioner Richard
McAllister, causing an
uproar not only in Harrisburg's African American community,
but with local
whites as well. Attorney Charles C. Rawn is dispatched
to buy Phillips' freedom.
26, 1926: Jazz musician Miles Davis is born in St. Louis,
28, 1866: William Justin Carter is born at Richmond, Virginia.
A successful and prominent African American attorney
in Harrisburg, W. Justin Carter
was denied admission to the Dauphin County Bar on June
10, 1904 because
of his race. Ninety-seven years later the Dauphin County
Bar voted to admit him posthumously to correct an “egregious
31, 1921: Beginning of a two-day race riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma
that kills eighty-one people.
2, 1847: A riot in Carlisle over the seizure of three African Americans
as fugitive slaves becomes known as the McClintock Slave Riot due
to the involvement of Dickinson College professor John McClintock.
was acquitted of charges that he incited the riot.
1861: Tennessee secedes, becoming the eleventh and final
state to leave the Union and join the Confederacy.
12, 1854: Three men from Maryland, accompanied by a Philadelphia
marshal, arrived in Harrisburg in search of a fugitive who was
working in a brickyard
in town. With Commissioner McAllister gone, the slaveholders had
been forced to go first to Commissioner Edward D. Ingraham in Philadelphia,
to swear out a warrant. The delay gave Harrisburg activists the
time they needed to spirit the man out of town before he could be
by the slave catchers.
14, 1811: Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin,
is born in Litchfield, Connecticut.
15, 1863: With invading Confederate troops reported in Chambersburg,
Department of the Susquehanna commander Major General Darius Couch
appeals to Harrisburg's citizens to dig entrenchments on a bluff
across the Susquehanna River, in present day Lemoyne. Although his
appeal was not explicit regarding race, it was addressed to the citys'
white citizenry. By five p.m., hundreds of Harrisburg's white citizens
assembled at the Camel Back Bridge, shovels in hand, ready to cross
to the West Shore to begin digging.
15, 1864: Congress authorizes equal pay and equipment for
African American troops.
16, 1863: Harrisburg finally realizes it needs to involve
its African American residents in its defense. Facing flagging support
and effort from his white citizen-laborers, Fortifications Superintendant
William T. Hildrup places the following advertisement in the morning
edition of the Patriot and Union: "TO THE COLORED MEN
OF HARRISBURG. We want men of muscle, and men who are ready and willing
to work on our entrenchments.—We have such white men already.
But colored men can help in this common cause also, and colored men
are needed at this crisis.—Liberal inducements are offered
to such of those as assist us, and their pay will $1.25 per day as
long as they work. The night laborers will receive the same compensation.—Turn
out then men of all classes and colors, if for nothing more, to the
assistance of your country, and the capital of the old Keystone State."
June 17, 1863: The triennial convention of the Democratic
Party of Pennsylvania began in the Capitol's House of Representatives
chamber, for the purpose of nominating a candidate for Governor,
and one for
of the Supreme Court. Dr. George W. Nebinger, a representative delegate
from Philadelphia, was elected to preside over the convention. After
some organizing work, the assembled delegates began to work on resolutions
pledging fidelity to the Constitution and the Union. Some historians
surmise that General Darius Couch's refusal to enlist a company of
African American men the day before was to avoid agitating the assembled
17, 1863: At 9 pm, a company of African American men under
the command of Captain William Babe arrived at the Pennsylvania Railroad
depot on Market Street in Harrisburg. These were young men from Philadelphia's
recruited and drilled by Octavius Valentine
Catto, a mathematics teacher and administrator at the Institute,
to defend the state capital from Confederate attack. Captain Babe
reported to Department of the Susquehanna commander General Darius
Couch, who refused to muster in the ninety black men and their three
white officers, saying he had "no authority" to accept African American
troops. The young men returned, demoralized and angry, to the train
station, to board the 2 am train back to Philadelphia.
18, 1863: Stung by the rejection by Harrisburg military
authorities of Philadelphia African American volunteers to defend
Harrisburg from attack, fiery abolitionist George Luther Stearns
went directly to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Stearns telegraphed "A
special dispatch to the Philadelphia North American states that General
Couch declined to receive colored troops, alleging that he has no
authority to receive such troops for less than three years. Two companies
here are ready to go for the emergency. Shall I forward them? Companies
from other points can be forwarded. Shall they be sent?" Before
noon, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton sent two telegraphic replies:
one to Couch in Harrisburg and one to Stearns in Philadelphia. To
Couch he wired a simple directive: “You are authorized to receive
into the service any volunteer troops that may be offered, without
regard to color.” To the angry Stearns, Stanton sent a more
ambiguous message, telling him that color would no longer be an issue
in Harrisburg, but “if there is likely to be any dispute about
the matter, it will be better to send no more. It is well to avoid
all controversy in the present juncture, as the troops can be well
19, 1862: Juneteenth, African American Emancipation Day.
President Abraham Lincoln signs into law a measure prohibiting slavery
of the United States.
22, 1863: Harrisburg commander General Darius Couch
sends a dispatch to his advance forces in Chambersburg, under Brigadier
the commander that “fifty rebel cavalry were stealing horses
near Maria Furnace, Caledonia Springs, and Millerstown.” Most
of the residents of the nearby settlement of Little Africa, African
American workers at Thaddus Stevens' Caledonia Forge, had probably
already fled toward Harrisburg.
22, 1937: Joe Louis knocks out Jim J. Braddock in the eighth
round to win the Heavyweight Champion of the World boxing title.
22, 1938: Exactly
one year after defeating Braddock, Louis defeats Max Schmeling,
the only boxer who had ever bested him, knocking out the poster
23, 1969: Harrisburg experienced its worst modern race riot triggered by
an incident during a boycott by local African Americans of
a pharmacy at 13th and Market Streets. Police used tear gas
groups of rioters and made seven arrests.
1969: A second day of racial unrest in Harrisburg results in the death
by police gunfire of Charles A. Scott. Violence
crowds setting fires, and police made three arrests.
25, 1863: After a week of relative calm, Harrisburg is again
flooded with African American refugees fleeing advancing Confederate
forces. In Harrisburg, a jaded correspondent for the New York
Herald wrote “Vast numbers of ebony colored children are
daily arriving in the city—some destitute, others again more
fortunate. Their rendezvous is in a section of the city denominated ‘Smoky
Hollow.’ I have not visited it, and therefore can give you
no idea of the scenes being enacted there.” Many of the refugees
took shelter in Judy's Town, near Third and Mulberry streets, or
crossed over the Market Street canal bridge and camped in the open
meadows of Allison's Hollow, east of the city.
25, 1863 (evening): At a hastily arranged "War Meeting" in
the Tanners' Alley Masonic Hall, Harrisburg's African American residents
organized a small company of men to volunteer for the defense of
Harrisburg and the Commonwealth. It consisted of fifty-four men,
captained by local barber and anti-slavery activist Henry Bradley.
In contrast to the events of a week earlier, when General Couch refused
to enlist the African American troops from Philadlephia, this time
there was no such rejection. The first African American troops to
be enlisted in the defense of the Pennsylvania state capital were
26, 1863: A second Harrisburg company of African American
men is mustered in, this one captained by Thomas Morris Chester. Although
they were issued uniforms and equipment, the state refused to supply
muskets or other armaments to the new black troops. Chester's men
joined Bradley's men in drill practice in the streets of Harrisburg.
Meanwhile, Confederate troops had now reached Gettysburg.
27, 1863: Expecting an imminent attack, General Darius Couch
orders all school buildings in Harrisburg to be cleared out so that
they could be utilized as makeshift military hospitals. African American
schoolteacher John Wolf saw his Cherry Street schoolhouse, along
with all the other
city schoolhouses, taken over by military authorities and outfitted
for the expected treatment of wounded and dying soldiers. Couch also
ordered that all city churches be prepared for the same fate if the
numbers of wounded should require it. With the potential military
occupation of Wesley Union and Bethel A.M.E, the city suddenly had
no more protected areas for African American refugees.
28, 1863: The town of Mechanicsburg surrenders to invading
Confederate troops. Town burgess George Hummel is made a prisoner
and taken to General Albert G. Jenkins for questioning. Residents
are forced to supply the occupying enemy cavalrymen with 1500 rations
and ample forage for their horses. About mid-day, an artillery duel
develops between Jenkins' artillerists stationed at Peace Church,
and the Philadelphia Home Guard Artillery, sitting at Oyster Point.
The cannon-fire is easily heard in Harrisburg, where residents believed
the battle for Harrisburg was beginning. African American refugees
camped along the riverfront moved to safer grounds further inside
the city. Military authorities
finally relent, and issue weapons to the two companies of African American
troops in Harrisburg.
28, 1863: A company of African American militia is used
in the defense of Wrightsville, York County, against Confederate
to the river intending to cross the bridge into
Columbia. Although the meager defense was futile against the
commanders praised the delaying efforts of the
African American troops who “stood
up to their work bravely,” after working all day
to dig the defensive trenches. One of the African American
soldiers was killed by a Southern artillery round.
29, 1863: Confederate General Albert G. Jenkins reconnoiters
through Shiremanstown to Slate Hill and eastward, to a vantage point
on Lisburn Road, from where he is able to see and study the defenses
of Harrisburg. He sends his report to General Ewell, in Carlisle,
who reviews it early that afternoon and subsequently orders General
Robert E. Rodes to attack and capture Harrisburg with his division
on Tuesday the thirtieth. Just hours later, however, with news of
a rapidly advancing Union army, Robert E. Lee would pull his troops
back from the gates of Harrisburg, to concentrate in Gettysburg.
30, 1863: At 10 am, Union troops push forward from their
fortified positions on Hummel Hill and encounter rear-guard troops
of Jenkins' Sixteenth Virginia Cavalry near Sporting Hill. A skirmish
develops into a full-scale battle, eventually involving support fire
from Union and Confederate artillery. The Confederates withdrew toward
Carlisle, leaving sixteen dead to be buried in the fields around
2, 1777: Vermont becomes the first state to abolish slavery when it
it in its state constitution.
2, 1908: Thurgood Marshall, first African
American appointed to the Supreme Court, is born in Baltimore.
4, 1836: Plans for the organization of an Adams County Antislavery
Society are laid at an Independence Day picnic at McAllister’s
9, 1893: Dr. Daniel Hale Williams sutures a wound to the pericardium
of a stabbing victim, applying stringent antiseptic and sterilization
measures, and becomes the first surgeon to perform successful open
11, 1905: The Niagara Movement is founded by W.E.B. DuBois to demand
full equal rights for African Americans. This group was formed
to oppose the views of Booker T. Washington, who advocated patience
on the part
of African Americans in waiting for civil rights. Among the founders
of the Niagara Movement was Harrisburg attorney William Justin
13, 1863: Anti-draft rioters kill hundreds of African Americans
in four days of violence in New York City.
20, 1847: A number of Harrisburg’s African American residents
meet in Wesley Union Church “to take into consideration the propriety
of inviting W. L. Garrison and F. Douglass to pay them a visit
on their route to the West.” Edward Bennett, Thomas Early, and
John F. Williams are appointed to draft a resolution inviting the abolitionists
22, 1780: The first central Pennsylvania slave registrations,
required by the 1780 Gradual Abolition Law, are recorded in Lancaster
store keeper Christopher Crawford, who lived in town, registered
male” Bill, aged ten years and six months, and his “Negro
female” Esther, aged nineteen years and six months, with
county Clerk of the Peace John Hubley.
24, 1845: Slave catcher Thomas Finnegan and his gang kidnap
Kitty Payne and her three children from a home in Bendersville, Adams
was eventually captured, tried for kidnapping in November 1846,
found guilty and sentenced to five years in Eastern Penitentiary.
25, 1847: Liberia declares its independence.
25, 1918: Beginning of four days of race riots in Chester,
PA that leave five people dead.
26, 1918: Beginning of four days of race riots in Philadelphia, PA that
leave four people dead.
26, 1948: President Harry S Truman issues
orders that institute fair hiring practices in the civilian
government and wipe out segregation in the armed forces.
28, 1868: The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is
finally ratified, two years after its passage, guaranteeing citizenship
of rights to African Americans. The delay was caused by
the refusal of Southern states to ratify the amendment.
30, 1852: James Phillips returns to Harrisburg with attorney
Charles C. Rawn, who successfully bargained for his release
after ten weeks in a slave prison. They arrived late at
night to a “tumultuous
welcome” from Harrisburg’s African American
community, which met the men at the train station. After
a joyous reunion with his wife
and children, the crowd put the Phillips family in a small
wagon and staged an impromptu welcome home parade through
1, 1834: The British Parliament decrees an end to African
in the West Indies. This “Emancipation Day” was celebrated
in many African American communities in the United States, including
Carlisle and Harrisburg, until the mid-1860s.
2, 1925: Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters is organized, with A. Philip
Randolph elected president.
6, 1862: The editor of Harrisburg’s Patriot
and Union newspaper
was arrested by military authorities on charges that he published
an article discouraging enlistments. The article, which was later proved
to be a prank, stated that two regiments of African American troops
to be raised in the city, and that rations, pay and bounty would
be the same as received by white troops.
7, 1847: William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass stop
as invited guests in Harrisburg on their trip to Ohio. Garrison stayed
Dr. William W. Rutherford, while Douglass stayed with African
John Wolf. Their evening lecture at the Courthouse was violently
disrupted by anti-abolition rowdies. Garrison was hit by rotten
eggs and Douglass
was hit by stones and bricks.
8, 1847: William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass lectured twice
at the Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion church, in Tanners’ Alley. They
spoke in the late morning and in the afternoon, to a crowded
audience that was mostly African American, although in a letter written
days later from Pittsburgh, Garrison recalled that “a
number of white [friends] were also present.”
11, 1850: Charles Lenox Remond lectures in Harrisburg. He
and his sister, Sarah Parker Remond, were the first traveling African
with the American Antislavery Society.
12, 1868: Death of Thaddeus Stevens, staunch advocate of
free public education, African American civil rights, and proponent
of radical reconstruction in the South.
15, 1840: Birth of Harriet McClintock Marshall, legendary
Harrisburg Underground Railroad worker. She married escaped
Marshall in Wesley Union church in June 1864.
16, 1834: On a Saturday night, a campaign of violence and vandalism
against the homes of African American residents in Columbia, Lancaster
began. It would culminate with a full-scale riot by a white mob in the
town's African American neighborhood four days later.
16, 1838: American Anti-slavery Society agent Daniel Alexander
Payne undertakes a speaking circuit through Pennsylvania, beginning
where he meets with
James Forten, Charles W. Gardiner, and Robert Purvis,
19, 1834: After nightfall on Tuesday evening, August 19,
1834, a mob of about fifity wihte boys and men rioted in Columbia's
African American neighborhood, terrifying the residents by stoning
their houses, breaking windows, and firing guns. The demonstration
lasted until 1 a.m.
20, 1859: John Brown meets Frederick Douglass in an abandoned
stone quarry in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in a
last attempt to convince
to join his raid on Harpers Ferry. Douglass, believing
the plan would hinder the cause of abolition, declines
21, 1619: Twenty African slaves are brought to the settlement of Jamestown
in the colony of Virginia, marking the beginning
21, 1829: Wesley Church is founded in Harrisburg. Organized
by a group of local African American residents,
it began holding
services in a small log building at Third and Mulberry
Streets, in the Judystown
neighborhood. Its first pastor was Rev. David Stevens.
22, 1831: Nat Turner begins his rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia.
Turner’s group killed 55 whites before being scattered by militia.
In the violent aftermath, more than 200 slaves
and free Blacks would be killed in retribution.
23, 1845: In Lancaster, William Dorsey is remanded south
to slavery by Judge Lewis. Dorsey had for several years been a employee
at one of the iron furnaces owned by Clement B. Grubb, and had married
in Lancaster County. Upon hearing of the court's ruling, Clement
Grubb purchased Dorsey's freedom for $600.
24, 1850: Harrisburg experiences its most significant
fugitive slave related violence as a large crowd
of local African
threatens some Virginia slave catchers who were
attempting to subdue resistant fugitives in an
anteroom of the
resident Joseph Pople attacked the Virginians,
allowing one of the fugitives to escape with
the help of the
immediate arrest of the slave catchers and the
two remaining slaves and issued warrants for
of nine local
Blacks on charges
26, 1847: Trial begins in Carlisle of Dickinson
College professor John McClintock and thirty-four
of rioting, rescuing two slaves who were lawfully
within the possession of their owner, and assault
who died from his injuries, and bystander John
Black. McClintock and twenty-one of the defendants
acquitted of all
charges. Eleven of
those found guilty served nine months in Eastern
Penitentiary in solitary confinement before their
sentence was reversed
state Supreme Court.
27, 1839: The slave ship Amistad is discovered
by a U.S. Coast Guard brig off the coast of Long Island.
surviving crewmembers told of the mutiny
by slaves to secure their freedom. It took a
U.S. Supreme Court decision to finally return the Africans
29, 1835: A colonization meeting, billed as an “anti-abolition” meeting,
is held in the Dauphin County Courthouse. The
meeting is attended by Charles C. Rawn, who agrees to draft an address
of the Harrisburg Colonization
29, 1963: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his “I
Have A Dream” speech at the Washington
Memorial during the “March
on Washington” civil rights demonstration.
30, 1839: The Amistad is towed into New London, Connecticut
and its 53 African revolutionists
pending trial for
The case made its way to the Supreme Court,
which ruled in favor of the Africans. They
a ship and
31, 1854: Harrisburg abolitionists welcome William James Watkins, Associate
Frances Ellen Watkins
Harper, and eloquent African American speaker,
1, 1780: The first Harrisburg area slave holder to register slaves
the 1780 Gradual Abolition Act is Elizabeth Carson, who registered
Male,” Pompey, aged fourteen years, as a “slave for life.”
1, 1835: A follow up meeting of Harrisburg anti-abolition
supporters is held in a market shed on the square, after being barred
courthouse. Impassioned speeches are delivered by J. J. Clendenin,
publisher Henry K. Strong, and attorney Charles C. Rawn.
2, 1914: Artist Romare Bearden is born in Charlotte, North
3, 1838: Frederick Douglass, an enslaved man in Maryland,
escapes from slavery in Fells Point, Baltimore. Douglass would become
a tireless campaigner for African American social, political, and
1838: American Anti-slavery Society agent Daniel Alexander
Payne visits with William C. Goodridge in York, as part of his lecturing
trip, he met with anti-slavery leaders in each location and
11, 1851: Slaveholder Edward Gorsuch is killed while attempting
to recover runaways who had taken shelter with William Parker
The “Christiana Resistance” marks the first organized
armed resistance by free African Americans against slave
catchers in defiance
of the Fugitive Slave Law.
15, 1830: Annual Negro Conventions begin in Philadelphia.
Meeting in Bethel Church, delegates began the annual events
coordinate African American resistance to slavery and anti-Black
18, 1850: President Millard Fillmore signs the Fugitive Slave
Act into law.
18, 1895: Booker T. Washington delivers his Atlanta Compromise
at the Cotton States and International Exhibition in that
Down Your Buckets Where You Are.”)
21, 2002: A new tombstone, with corrected date of birth,
is dedicated at Lincoln Cemetery in Harrisburg, for Thomas
Chester. (photos of event
22, 1862: President Lincoln declares that all slaves in states in rebellion
as of January 1, 1863, would be free.
24, 1862: Fourteen governors of Northern states meet
in Altoona, Pennsylvania and approve the emancipation
25, 1838: AAS agent Daniel Alexander Payne arrives in Carlisle, where he
stays with William Webb and visits
25, 1851: Harrisburg is panicked as four African American
strangers passing through town are rumored
to be murderous
rioters from Christiana.
With the help of local men from Matamoras, the four
are arrested and taken back to Harrisburg. There, District
J. Pearson dismisses
charges for lack of evidence against the four men
accused of having participated in the Christiana Riots To Judge
Pearson's dismay, Federal Fugitive Slave Commissioner Richard
seizes the men in the courtroom and remands them
south as fugitive
slaves, after a short hearing.
28, 1785: David Walker is born in Wilmington, North
Carolina. His “Appeal
in Four Articles, together with a Preamble, to the
Coloured Citizens of the World,” published
in September 1829, outraged slaveholders because
it called for violent resistance to their captivity
30, 1850: Harrisburg lawyer Richard McAllister is
appointed by United States Chief Justice Roger B.
Taney to the
post of U.S.
to hear cases under the new Fugitive Slave Act. With
distinct pro-slaveholder sympathies, McAllister employs
Harrisburg constables as
deputies to actively and energetically pursue fugitive
slaves throughout central
1, 1851: The “Jerry Rescue” takes place in New York. William
Henry, known as “Jerry,” had escaped slavery and was
working in New York when he was arrested under the new Fugitive Slave
was successfully rescued by a crowd of abolitionists and African
Americans, and became a symbol of defiance against the new and hated
1, 1857: The “Colored People’s Burying
Ground” in Harrisburg
at Meadow Lane and Chestnut Streets is sold at public auction,
the last parcel of the old city burial grounds to be sold for development. Bodies
are reinterred in the Harris Free Cemetery.
2, 1800: Nat Turner is born in Southampton County, Virginia.
2, 1851: During the night of Thursday, October 2, John
Dunmore is arrested and taken
before Richard McAllister and accused of being a runaway slave.
The hearing was conducted behind closed doors and windows in
However the person who was seeking his return testified that
Dunmore was not his slave, and Dunmore is released.
3, 1863: The War Department orders the enlistment of African American
troops in the slave states of Maryland, Missouri and
8, 1831: William Lloyd Garrison’s anti-slavery newspaper The
Liberator publishes the eloquent resolutions by many in Harrisburg’s
African American community strongly opposing the aims of
the American Colonization
Society. The resolution accuses the Colonization Society
as seeking to “drain
the country of the most enlightened part of our colored brethren,
so that they may be more able to hold their slaves in bondage
10, 1862: Confederate President Jefferson Davis asks Virginia
for a draft to supply 4500 Blacks to work on completing fortifications
10, 1871: Equal rights activist and educator Octavius V. Catto
is shot to death on Election Day in Philadelphia as he worked to
Americans at the polls.
11, 1722: Pennsylvania Colonial Governor William Keith sends a letter to
local Native American tribes appealing
fugitive slaves, promising “one Good Gun and two
Blankets for each Negro,” returned to provincial
12, 1866: Chosen Friends Lodge No. 43, an African American
Masonic Lodge, is warranted in Harrisburg.
13, 1864: Maryland voters narrowly adopt a new state constitution that
13, 2004: The Riverside School in Harrisburg
the T. Morris Chester School to honor the city
native who became a famous attorney, war correspondent,
and political tactician
in Reconstruction-era Louisiana.
16, 1849: Clergyman Charles Avery gives money to
found a college to train young African Americans
was established at Allegheny, Pennsylvania and
received its first students in April 1850.
16, 1859: John Brown
raid of the
U.S. Federal arsenal
at Harpers Ferry, Virginia in the last few hours
of this day.
16, 1995: The Million Man March attracts one
National Mall in Washington, DC to hear eighty
speakers advocate increased community involvement
African American males.
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan organized
the event which drew an estimated 837,000 participants.
18, 1847: George Cole, a free African American
of Chambersburg, leads thirteen fugitive slaves
and Huntsdale to the
barn of Daniel Kaufman near Boiling Springs.
Kaufman helped the slaves get
through to Harrisburg, but his actions were
detected and he was successfully sued in federal
by the slaveowners.
19, 1825: William Howard Day is born in New York.
24, 1834: Slave catchers kidnap the wife
and four children of James Williams, an African
American worker in Portsmouth,
local citizens track the kidnappers through
York, Pennsylvania, where Williams is reunited
wife, who had managed
to escape. The
next day a posse of citizens from York rescues
the children. The kidnappers
are tried, convicted and imprisoned in Harrisburg.
25, 1836: American Anti-slavery Society lecturer Jonathan Blanchard arrives
for about two weeks
of lectures. He stays
with the Alexander
Graydon family, on Market Street.
30, 1836: Abolitionist Jonathan Blanchard
delivers a sermon at the Harrisburg Presbyterian
Church, triggering aA number of longtime
to walk out in
protest against his anti-slavery politics.
31, 1780: Deadline for slave holders in Pennsylvania to register their
clerk, according to the newly
passed Gradual Abolition
Law. The penalty for failure to register
their slaves on
time was immediate emancipation of the
1, 1910: A new publication, The Crisis, edited by W.E.B. DuBois, makes
2, 1836: American Anti-slavery Society lecturer Jonathan
Blanchard lectures in the town of Dauphin.
3, 1836: American Anti-slavery Society lecturer Jonathan
Blanchard lectures in the town of Halifax.
4. 1836: American Anti-slavery Society lecturer Jonathan
Blanchard lectures in the town of Millersburg.
5, 1968: Shirley Chisholm becomes the first African American
woman elected to Congress.
6, 1860: Abraham Lincoln is elected sixteenth president
of the United States.
7, 1775: Lord Dunmore, Royal Governor of Virginia, issues a proclamation
promising freedom to slaves who would run
from rebel owners
to fight for the British army. Several thousand would
do so, including some from
the Harrisburg area.
7, 1837: Elijah Lovejoy is murdered at Alton, Illinois
and becomes a martyr for abolitionists.
8, 1775: Titus, slave of John Corlies of Monmouth County,
New Jersey, escapes to start his own guerilla fight
in the name of the British. Known as Colonel Tye,
he led a mixed race band
of fighters, based in the cedar swamps of New Jersey,
against Continental forces from July 1779 until his
wounds in September
8, 1938: Crystal Bird Fauset is elected to the Pennsylvania House of
Representatives, becoming the first African American
woman to serve in a state house of
10, 1983: Wilson Goode is elected as the first
African American mayor of Philadelphia.
11, 1836: American Anti-slavery Society lecturer Jonathan Blanchard speaks
at Harrisburg’s Masonic Hall. The lecture is attended by local
attorney Charles C. Rawn, who begins to reconsider
his anti-abolitionist views.
14, 1849: Martin R. Delany arrives in Harrisburg
to deliver lectures over the next five days.
He stayed with John
F. and Hannah Williams
after discovering that no local hotel would rent
a room to a black man.
14, 1865: Harrisburg welcomes the United States Colored Troops home,
hosting a large parade, reception and public
featured speeches by William Howard Day, Simon
Cameron, J. C. White and Octavius
Catto. T. Morris Chester was Master of Ceremonies.
16, 1877: Lincoln Cemetery in Harrisburg is
dedicated as the burial ground for Wesley Union
the old cemetery,
at Boas and Rose Streets, began the following
17, 1846: Trial in Gettysburg of infamous slave catcher/kidnapper Thomas
Finnegan results in
his conviction for kidnapping.
He is sentenced to
five year in Eastern Penitentiary, but is
pardoned in June 1848 by Governor Francis R. Shunk due
to failing health.
23, 1803: Abolitionist Theodore Dwight Weld is born in
1, 1861: Secretary of War Simon Cameron proposes in his
that captured slaves be immediately emancipated and armed to fight
in the war. Lincoln rejected the proposal, but Cameron released
the report to the newspapers anyway, resulting in his reassignment
Minister to Russia.
1, 1955: Rosa Parks is arrested and fined after she
refuses to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, setting off
protests and a boycott, led by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. The
Court eventually ended segregation on city buses.
2, 1859: John Brown is hanged at 11:30 a.m. at Charles Town, Virginia.
He left a written statement, which said “I John Brown am now
quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land, will never by purged
but with Blood. I had as I now think, vainly flattered myself
that without very much bloodshed, it might be done.”
3, 1836: Anti-slavery men in Gettysburg form the Adams County Antislavery
Society at Clarkson’s Academy, after being driven from the county
courthouse by anti-abolition rowdies.
3, 1844: Underground
Railroad activist Charles T. Torrey is convicted of aiding fugitive
slaves escape from Maryland into Pennsylvania. He was sentenced to
six years in the Maryland Penitentiary, where he died in May 1846
3, 1900: William Howard Day dies in Harrisburg. Many
African American notables, including W.E.B.
attend his funeral.
4, 1833: Black and white delegates gather in Philadelphia’s
Adelphi Building to discuss forming a national anti-slavery society.
James Miller McKim attends to represent the greater Harrisburg area.
Anti-Slavery Society would send speakers throughout Pennsylvania,
resulting in a blossoming of small, local anti-slavery societies.
7, 1833: The American Antislavery Society is officially formed,
9, 1828: Facing financial hardship, Archibald McAllister
of Fort Hunter advertises, “I wish to dispose of
all my colored people at private sale.” Included
is Sally Craig, a slave for life, sixty-one years old.
11, 1836: American Anti-slavery Society lecturer Jonathan
Blanchard preaches during evening services at Harrisburg
Church. Among those
in attendance is attorney Charles C. Rawn.
11, 1851: The jury in the Christiana Treason trial
takes only fifteen minutes to
verdict of “Not
Guilty” on charges of treason for Castner Hanway
in the riot at the William Parker house. The verdict
outrages Southern slaveholders and politicians.
13, 1836: Attorney Charles C. Rawn welcomes Reverend
William Radcliff DeWitt to his home to discuss slavery
the opinion that slavery should be abolished in Washington
DC, and that abolition
aught to be openly and publicly debated.
13, 1848: Pennsylvania State Convention of Coloured Citizens meets in Harrisburg
a plan to petition
the state legislature to restore the vote to African
16, 1859: Two African American men who were captured
with John Brown during his raid on Harpers Ferry, Shields
are hanged at Charlestown for their role in the plot.
They were buried beneath
the gallows and soon thereafter disinterred by local
medical students for dissection.
17, 1748: John Harris the settler dies. His will stipulates that his slave
Hercules be set free, and “be allowed to live on a part of
the tract purchased of James Allcorn left to my son
the beginning of a free Black community in Harrisburg.
18, 1828: Sally Craig, longtime slave of Archibald McAllister at Fort Hunter,
escapes after being put
up for sale at
age sixty-one. She is
18, 1863: The 13th Amendment to the Constitution is
declared in effect by Secretary of State Seward
after it is ratified by twenty-seven states.
19, 1875: Carter G. Woodson, the “father of African American history,” is
born in New Canton, Virginia.
20, 1860: South Carolina becomes the first state to secede from the Union.
24, 1829: The Pennsylvania General Assembly
votes to support the goals of the American
to Liberia. It passes a resolution urging
the U.S. Congress to do the same, arguing
of free blacks
would be “highly auspicious to the
best interests of our country.”
25, 1839: Benjamin Tucker Tanner, African American minister and A.M.E.
bishop, is born
Institute, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, was
a writer, poet and editor of the Christian
Recorder newspaper, and received a D.D. from Wilberforce
University in 1878.
December 31, 1777: The ban on recruitment of African
American soldiers in the Continental Army
is lifted by
General George Washington,
way for the service of more than 5,000
African American men on the colonial side
the Revolutionary war.
31, 1782: Final day
territory in western Pennsylvania to
register their slaves according to law. The deadline
in this area,
which had been
claimed by Virginia, because Pennsylvania
did not ratify the border until
September 23, 1780.
31, 1851: Sixteen-year-old Rachel Parker is kidnapped by Thomas
McCreary from the Chester County farm
of Joseph and
Rebecca Miller. Joseph Miller and some
neighbors track the
kidnapped girl to
a Baltimore slave
prison and alert authorities, then
prepare to take the train home. Miller, however,