tv [untitled] May 13, 2012 11:00am-11:30am EDT
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p >> don>> don't forget yo. r >> this >> this is c. wipwith politics and publics programmiprogramming throughan peopp people apeople and e americp american story on history tv." gget our schedules and see pas programs at our website. arand you can join in t conversation on social media sites. this week on "the civil war," hari jones, curator and assistant director at the african-american civil war memorial and museum, talks about the contributions of the african-american women during the war. thr this this is 90 mi. >> good evening. when our founding director, dr. frank smith jr. and secretary of state colin powell dedicated the spirit of freedom, the african-american civil war memorial in july of 1998,
attention was brought to one of the best kept secrets in american history. attention was brought to the 209,145 soldiers and officers that were officially mustered into the bureau of united states colored troops. attention was brought to how these soldiers were organized, how they fought, and what they accomplished in the civil war. attention was brought to an african descent community that fought to save the union and free themselves by enforcing the emancipation proclamation. attention was brought to an organized community that planned for and executed that plan to end the tyranny of slavery in league with the constitution and to gain the rights of citizens in league with the constitution.
attention was brought to one of the best kept secrets in american history. now if the overt story of the soldiers and sailors, guides, scouts, spies, nurses, was one of the best kept secrets in american history, then the covert story is a secret within a secret within the best kept secret. and when we talk about women in the civil war, african descent women in the civil war, that's another layer of one of those best kept secrets in american history. one of those untold stories. tonight i don't want to just talk about women in the civil war as a list of personalities that were involved. but what i want to do is talk about how they contribute to this plan to end the tyranny of slavery and gain the rights as citizens. so how are they working to achieve this? what were their roles? how did they contribute in achieving this victory over slavery deserting the union?
well, the paradigm, the model i use to examine african-american contributions in the civil war to include both overt and covert activities, is the star fish, came up with a concept of the star fish as compared to the spider, but i will get right into my model. the pre-existing network, five legs to the star fish. pre-existing network. circles, ideology, catalyst, and champions. the pre-existing network that i refer to, or the educated scholarly area africans that were brought here to north america. when it comes to the men who were educated in the tradition of timbuktu, the literal timbuktu, and the men who lived in georgetown for decades, or
the colonel, an african prince that spent 40 years in captivity. in mississippi educated at timbuktu. when when it comes to the women, the african women, it gets more difficult to identify them. however, there is an african descent woman, or an african woman, a woman born in africa, brought here in the early 1850s, or let us say born in the early 1850s that would become the most prolific african writer, african descent writer in the united states in the antebellum period. her name, phyllis wheatley. born around early 1850s, in, a region of africa that today we called senegal and gambia. when she was born, this region
of africa was dominated by an ethnic group called the fulani. they had kingdoms in senegal, modern day guinea, and a kingdom in masina and in the timbuktu. they rule the king on the throne at timbuktu. was the fulani or fuvay when she was born. the culture is a very interesting culture. at the time she was captured in the 1860s, the colonel was born. about the same time she is captured. she is about, somewhere between 7 and 10 years old when she's captured, early 1860s. the colonel was a graduate of sancori university at timbuktu. educated african. we know quite a bit about him and his culture. the fulani had a way of life
they called the falokpu, the fulani way of life. they were monotheist, believed that god created all that exists. they believe god was the master of man. that god had given man both free will and man lived in god's providence. these were monotheist believers. they had a term in their language called himbi, which means a true believer. a true believer could be a jew, christian, or muslim. most of the fulani were indeed muslims. but they associated themselves with true believers. in their language, massa would mean i'm gipt or canter. if you thought it was broken english, it's not. massa would mean yes evil captor.
in the african knowledge circles, they would understand this language. these codes. and when we examine phyllis wheatley's work from the perspective of the african knowledge circles, she seems to be saying something very different than what most people think she was saying. 'twas mercy brought me from my pagan land. in her poem on being brought from america to -- brought from africa to america. it appears she's saying it was mercy that brought her out of the heathen land. but phyllis wheatley studied latin. in latin, pagan, pagus would mean outside the city or countryside. mercy would mean price paid. this becomes very important to the members of the knowledge circle. price paid. the fulani would see themselves as being sacrificed, sack fightsing, walking as the messiah. walking as christ. what does christ do? he pays the price. the price paid by phyllis wheatley brought her from her pagan land.
pagan, or outside the city, countryside would mean something different from heathen. there are two classifications in fulani. one is the city, town or other group are called herdsmen, country folk. so she's from the country. that's what she's saying. and the region of west africa that she came from, pagan means she was from the country, she is not city folk. she was from the country. so they brought her from the countryside. brought her from the countryside. not pagan. wheatley is part of the pre-existing network. born in the educated, civilized, west african region where timbuktu was a strong influence. she comes to north america. she is brought to north america, enslaved. suffering on the cross of america. price paid.
and she would say, 'twas mercy brought me from my pagan land, taught my benighted soul to understand that there is a god, there is a savior too. once i redemption neither sought nor knew, some view or sable race with scornful eye, their color is a diabolic dye. remember, christians, negroes as black as cane, may be enjoined and join the angelic train. they would be those who can enjoin the angelic train. but they had to go through a process. they had to work up to it. they had to pay the price. the perspective of these individuals in the knowledge circle was that they were given
a gift from god called liberty. their freedom, endowed with inalienable rights. providence, circumstance, had caused them to be in bondage. so they believed they could communicate with god. so when they prayed to god, they believed that god would hear them. as we see a clear example or explanation of this in a sermon delivered by reverend jones on january 1, 1808, in philadelphia, his scripture was exodus 3:6-8. god had come down and witnessed affliction of his people and god would deliver them from the hand of the egyptians. leave israel from bondage is not the only instance in which god has delivered an oppressed people. so he's saying that god is hearing our prayers as well. jones would argue clear indicators that god had heard
their prayers was in literally -- what i'm going to call the creed of this country. so this theology that these africans possessed combined with the american political ideology becomes the ideal ideological glue of this organization, from their world view they viewed the constitution and the declaration of independence as divine instruments of goodness. we hold these truths to be self-evident. that all are created equal. that, they are endowed with the creator. certain unalienable rights. this is what they would believe in the first place they believe this in the first place. now it is the u.s. -- the new -- nation of the united states has literally iterated their belief in their creed. of course they can embrace it. in the constitution in the preamble to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity is a clear goal that is anti-slavery.
and if this is achieved, they would argue slavery is going to be abolished. they have no discussion on for we are the people. they understand that these negroes as dark as cain are refined and have enjoined the angelic train. they believe they are part of the people, regardless of what some one else might argue. they do not buy what i am going to refer to as the racist argument they are not part of the people. they are indeed part of "we, the people." this ideology is often i refer to it as a theology, a liberation theology, so it is a theology, an ideology, all wrapped into one. one of the most fiery catalysts if you will in early american history is, in the 19th century was a woman by the name of isabella bomfrey also known as sojourner truth, born, enslaved
in new york in 1797. she would spend the first 30 years of her life in captivity. when she is emancipated by slavery, legally coming to an end in new york in 1827, she would eventually have a religious experience and say my name was isabella, but when i left the house of bondage, i left everything behind. i wasn't going to keep nothing of egypt on me, which would also mean nothing of massa on me if we go back to the language. keep nothing of egypt on me. she would say she appealed to god for a name. and he gave her the name, sojourner because she was to travel across the land. and then she appealed to god for a second name. everyone else has two names. she was given the name truth.
her job as she traveled through the land was to share with them truth and reveal their sin. and when in 1854, at a woman's convention, she declares, "ain't i a woman." this had more of commentary of direct commentary on the humanity of africans in america than if you were to ask, ain't i a man. if you ask ain't i man. you get into other questions as is he effeminate? it gets into another discussion. but when a woman says, i have borne 13 children and seen most all sold off to slavery and when i cried out with my mother's grief, none but jesus heard me. ain't i a woman? she is speaking to her humanity. she says 13 children, she is
referring to her mother. who had 13 children. who were sold off. this mother's grief, crying, ain't i a woman. aren't we humans? aren't you enslaving human beings? so it's in many ways a moral persuasive argument than ain't i a man? she was one of the catalysts. but in the 1830s, a woman emerges as one of what i would argue, the most important leaders in catalysts in the african-american community especially when it comes to organizing and really putting together this plan to end the tyranny of slavery. her name is mariah stewart. born in connecticut in 1803 mariah stewart would move to boston and become a school teacher. maria stewart, speaking to a
group of men in the early 1830s, would say -- but where is the man that has distinguished himself in the modern days of acting holy in the defense of african rights and liberty? there was one although he sleeps. his memory lives. she is referring to david walker, in fact, brian stewart is a protege of david walker. she would repeat david walker in her own eloquent way. david walker would publish an appeal to colored citizens of the world, expressly to those in the united states in 1829, that would be something that shook up the south. he writes his appeal on colored citizens of the world i want to point out after he escorted the prince abdul ibrahith, colonel abraham, prince abraham,
emancipated, pardoned for his liberty by president john quincy adams in 1828. he made a northern speaking tour. his escort was david walker. after walker escorts the prince, he writes his appeal to colored citizens of the world and his language sounds very fulani. god is the sole proprietor and master of the whole human race. god is my master. he would say in his appeal that we are the property of the holy ghost, that literally no man can own you. he would say the god of the ethiopians has been pleased to hear our moans and consequence of our oppression. god has heard their cries. and he would go on to argue that god has not only heard our cries, but he has to the big house. i want to point out, the big house, great house, if the big house if they don't set the captives free. he argued that they were going to, god was going to bring them to bring sword against sword. to be split among them. bring sword against sword. and princes shall come out of
egypt, ethiopia, shall soon stretch forth her hands unto god. the forecast is that there is going to be a civil war. and that princes will come out of captivity. ethiopia, redemption of the race would occur. that's his argument. maria stewart makes the same argument. she does it in her own eloquent way. she says, i believe the oppression of the injured, injured africa has come up before the majesty of heaven. and when our cries have reached the ears of the most high, it will be a tremendous day for the people of this land for strong is the hand of the lord almighty. maria stewart would also be an organizer. now, a catalyst also helps create circles -- as an organizer of the -- notice the name i want. this is september 1831. i want you to notice the name. african-american.
if anybody gets in the discussion, that african-american, or afric american is new out of the 20th century. they need to go and read old literature. this organization, the afric-american female intelligence society. established in september of 1831 they had the goal of the diffusion of knowledge. suppression of vice and immoralities and for the cherishing of virtues that would render us happy and useful to society. i want to point out that it is actually a set of virtues that fulani way of life. it is a set of virtues that will render you happy and useful to society. they are literally repeating in the english language. this organization again, the afric-american female intelligence society, created september 1831. for the purpose of diffusing knowledge. and elevating the community.
maria stewart would tell the women of the organization, woman, oh, woman, woman. upon you i call. for upon your exertions are most entirely depends whether the rising generation shall be anything more than we have been, oh, woman, woman, your example is powerful, your influence great. it extends over your husband and your children and through the circle of your acquaintance. she is calling on the will tine prepare the generation that will strike a blow for liberty. she's calling on them to prepare them. and explaining to them how important their role. and she would report the argument that this is our land. this we're not leaving here. when american colonialization society would talk about
leaving. she would say they would drive us to a strange land. they're no friends of mine, is what she's saying. she goes on to say, before i go, the bayonet shall pierce through me. so i'm not going anywhere. my stand is for what? african rights and liberty. and that's what she's calling on all of us to stand for. in the circles that she is creating as a catalyst, we know what their objective is. it's not to leave the united states. it is african rights and liberty. notice the term african rights and liberty. well, maria stewart did support the resolutions that came out of and the goals that came out of the first negro convention held in philadelphia in september of 1830.
the convention was led by richard allen, others like james fordham in attendance, pennington in attendance. and their goal, their objective for the organized during the convention, an organization that the american society of free persons of color for improving their condition in the united states for purchasing land and for the establishment of a settlement in upper canada. but they're not leaving the land, right? in 1830, you have african-americans saying they're going to establish a settlement in upper canada. they're going to establish a -- settlements in canada. between 1830 and 1850, there are not only settlements, but there are safe havens for those who escape along the underground railroad after the fugitive slave act. the fugitive slave act in september of 1850 made it a federal crime for anyone to give assistance to a runaway and in fact not to turn in a runaway, a a fugitive.
so canada became a destination. not just northern states. if you were going north you needed to go all the way to canada now. and because this organization they were already ready to receive folk. you already had schools. you had clinics. you had literally housing put in place to accept people coming in. and men and women become conductors on this underground railroad. men and women become a part of the organization in canada with one of the most influential women by the end of the 1850s in canada, being a young woman born in wilmington, delaware. mary ann shadd cary. mary ann shadd was born in wilmington, delaware.
she was the daughter of abraham shadd. and the entire family was really involved with the underground railroad. his home in wilmington. his home in chester, pennsylvania. in chester county, pennsylvania, were all places of refuge for those running, escaping their captivity. well, mary ann early on showed a lot of promise. and in the north star, in january of 1849, martin delany would write about mary ann. and he would say. one of the up-and-coming stars he was saying. he said she has choice character. and she said miss shadd is the work now in press on the elevation of our people. at 25 years old she wrote a pamphlet called the "hints to colored people of the north." in this pamphlet she tells them that they should reject material things. they should create rather than buy. i want to point out this is a 25-year-old. they should manage their money responsibly.
be independent, and be confident. now mary ann shadd-cary its a champion within the organization. she does lead by example. after the fugitive slave act of 1850, abraham shadd and his family, they moved to canada. mary ann moves to canada as well. in canada, abraham shadd becomes the first african elected official in canada. mary ann would establish an integrated school. she would write for a local paper, newspaper, run by african-american men. henson and others. they would censor her work. she was a woman. chauvinism. they would censor her work. she got fed up with it. so being independent and confident like she was she established her own newspaper. her own journal. the provincial friedman.
the motto of the provincial freedman was self-reliance is the true road to independence. mary ann shadd-cary was part of a community there in canada that was clearly a military outpost. and though many will refer to those who were going there in the 1850s as immigrationists trying to leave the united states, i would ask them to follow them in the 1860s during the civil war and find out where their feet are. i can track what somebody wants to do by what they're doing. but williams still in his book on the underground railroad, gives us a good example what is going on. it is almost in code though. he says of abraham galloway from north carolina. he writes of galloway. he allowed himself faithfully until uncle sam became involved in the contest with the rebels. until uncle sam became involved
in the contest with the rebelgo until uncle sam became involved in the contest with the rebelne faithfully until uncle sam became involved in the contest with the rebelow faithfully until uncle sam became involved in the contest with the rebelwe faithfully until uncle sam became involved in the contest with the rebeledy until uncle sam became involved in the contest with the rebeld until uncle sam became involved in the contest with the rebel h until uncle sam became involved in the contest with the rebels. john bull? who is john bull? he's britain's uncle sam. that's the british military. he had aligned himself fatefully with british military. with john bull. describe it, is william howard day. an 1851 graduate up oberlin with a masters in theology. originally from new york. was editor in the newspaper in the 1850s, the alien american out of clevelan delany was a surgeon from -- from pittsburgh. he was self-described, foreign secretary of this organization. organization needs a foreign secretary. and he was an operations officer. mary ann shadd-cary, she functioned very much like an adjunct. she functioned very much like an adjunct.
delany would write, in 1859 -- this would actually appear in a serial, in the magazine out of new york. edited by robert hamilton. today you can find this in a book entitled "blake or the huts of america." it's a novel written by martin delaney. it is a code book. if you want to understand how all the sales and how the on work with the various sales throughout this country, throughout the south, you should read this book. but delany, protagonist, henry blake, who is leading a national insurrection, tells one of his followers, andy, all you have to do is to find one good man or woman, i don't care which. so they can prove to be the right person. so you don't care if it's a woman or a man. you want to make sure it is the right person. and when some one like harriet tubman, born on the eastern shore of maryland in the ear