I was born into slavery in February 1818. Although I never knew my exact birthdate, I later chose the date February 14
. I was separated from my mother as an infant and never knew who my father was. In 1838, I escaped from slavery dressed as a sailor and carrying identification papers provided to me by a free black seaman. I started or worked on a number of newspapers, among them the North Star
and New National Era
. I was married and my wife and I had five children, two of whom helped to produce my newspapers. I conferred with Presidents Lincoln and Johnson on matters relating to emancipation, suffrage, and treatment of blacks in America. I was also an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
I traveled to England and Scotland, speaking to packed churches and chapels. A group of wealthy English supporters eventually bought my freedom, for although well known and respected, I was still technically a slave.
In 1877, I was appointed a United States Marshall and bought my final home in Washington D.C. on the banks of the Anacostia River. I named it Cedar Hill. In 1882 my first wife died and in 1884, I remarried. My second marriage was a source of controversy because she was white. We became estranged from both of our families.
On February 20, 1895, I attended a meeting of the National Council on Women in Washington D.C. and later that evening I died from a massive heart attack.Who Am I?
Labels: Black History