Author: The Liberator

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“From the Journal of Commerce.” (February 26, 1841)

Published in the abolitionist newspaper the Liberator on February 26, 1841, this is an account of the jury’s deliberations in a case involving railroad car agents accused of injuring Thomas Downing after he refused to leave a whites-only railroad car. At this time, Downing was a successful restaurant owner, moving among an elite class of Black men in New York City.

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Downing and the Fine Collector.” (December 21, 1855)

This article, published in the abolitionist newspaper the Liberator on December 21, 1855, gives an account of the New York state militia mistaking Thomas Downing for a white man of the same name who was trying to escape militia duty, which was required of male citizens between the ages of 18 and 45. At this time, Downing was famous across New York City for his restaurant, community organizing, and activism. The story originally appeared in the New York Evening Post.

 

 

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“LIFE AMONG THE CONTRABANDS. Harriet A. Jacobs” (September 5, 1862)

In this article, published by The Liberator on September 5, 1862, Harriet Jacobs describes the contraband camps in Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia, noting their dire conditions and the determination of their inhabitants alike. Jacobs was a formerly enslaved woman who self-emancipated and organized relief efforts for those who also fled enslavement. As a result of policies protecting formerly enslaved persons who escaped to Union lines, there was an influx of refugees from slavery, who were known as “contrabands,” into Union encampments such as Alexandria. The Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery was established as a burial ground in Alexandria for these refugees. The Liberator, published in Boston by William Lloyd Garrison, was the most widely circulated anti-slavery newspaper during the antebellum period and throughout the American Civil War (1861–1865).

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Private Jails,” The Liberator (December 27, 1834)

In “Private Jails,” published on December 27, 1834, the editors of the Liberator, an abolitionist newspaper, reprint and ridicule an advertisement by the Richmond slave trader Bacon Tait. It had originally run in the Richmond Whig on December 11.

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

Dolley Madison and Her Slaves (March 31, 1848)

In “Mrs. Madison and Her Slaves” and “Mrs. Madison’s Slaves Again,” both published on March 31, 1848, the editors of the Liberator reprint two letters, signed Hampden, that first appeared in the Albany Patriot on February 19 and March 18 of that year. They accuse Dolley Madison of selling her slave Paul Jennings and attempting to sell a fifteen-year-old enslaved girl named Helen (also known as Ellen Stewart). Jennings may have been the source for the information in these letters through an association with the Patriot‘s Washington correspondent, William L. Chaplin.

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Gabriel’s Defeat” (September 17, 1831)

In “Gabriel’s Defeat,” published on September 17, 1831, the editors of the Liberator reprint a romanticized and inaccurate account of Gabriel’s Conspiracy (1800) that first appeared in the Albany Evening Journal. The context of its publication was the more recent, more successful uprising led by Nat Turner in Southampton County earlier in the year.