Description: William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879) was a dedicated supporter of abolition and women's rights. During the 1830s, a new type of radical abolitionist appeared calling for an immediate end to slavery. Garrison was one of the most prominent radical abolitionists in this time, and called for slavery's immediate end as well as equal rights for African Americans with whites. Because of his outspoken views in the decades leading up to the American Civil War, Garrison was the most well-known abolitionist in the United States. Many Southern slave owners despised him, and the Georgia legislature placed a five thousand dollar bounty on his head, payable to anyone who brought him to the state for prosecution. He received numerous death threats from white Southerners, and many Northerners also disagreed with his message. Mobs often attacked Garrison when he gave speeches. Despite the opposition that he faced, Garrison remained committed to fighting for an end to slavery. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: AL04123 Subjects: Women's rights; Ohio History--Slavery, Anti-Slavery and Civil Rights; Abolitionists -- Ohio
Description: Reverse reads: "Montgomery Co; People at work + play-Alfred Murphy;
Never too old to learn! That's the slogan of Alfred Murphy, 105 year old ex-slave, a pupil in a literacy class conducted by the WPA in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Murphy lived 33 years in slavery, spent two years in the Confederate Army, throwing up breastwork. He was at Richmond when General Lee surrendered. Unemployed teachers, hired by the WPA, are teaching 9,000 Ohioans to read and write. Ohio has 320,000 illiterates, America, 3,200,000."
Stamped: Information Unit, W.P.A. in Ohio, Clinton Building-Columbus, Ohio
In the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration sponsored a Federal Writers' Project dedicated to chronicling the experience of slavery as remembered by former slaves. African-American men and women born into slavery were interviewed. Their stories were recorded and transcribed. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: SA1039AV_B10F07_017_001 Subjects: Adult literacy--Slavery--Works Progress Administration--Civil War--Confederate--Teachers Places: Montgomery County (Ohio)
Description: James G. Birney (1792-1857) was born on February 4, 1792, in Danville, Kentucky. An anti-slavery advocate from the beginning, he called for a gradual end to slavery and even moved to Alabama to help spread his message there. He eventually moved to Cincinnati in 1835, where he began publication of a newspaper, "The Philanthropist", which called for an immediate end to slavery and equal rights for African-Americans. He was unpopular both in the South and in Cincinnati and twice had his printing press destroyed by local mobs, but continued to publish until 1843. In September 1837, he moved with his family to New York, where he became the secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society. He ran unsuccessfully for president of the United States in 1840 and 1844. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: AL04101 Subjects: Newspaper publishing; Ohio History--Slavery, Anti-Slavery and Civil Rights; Abolitionists Places: Cincinnati (Ohio); Hamilton County (Ohio);
Description: This image of American jurist John McLean (1785-1861) is a photographic reproduction of an engraved portrait. The engraving is based on an oil painting by artist Thomas Sully (1783-1872). The original painting is in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
McLean was an attorney, political leader, and associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. He was born on March 11, 1785, in New Jersey. His parents moved to western Virginia in 1789 and later traveled to Kentucky. By 1797 the family was settled on a farm in Lebanon, Ohio. No free schools existed in Ohio, and McLean's family could not afford to pay his tuition for him at a private institution. A self-educated young man, McLean moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1803 and studied law with the son of former General Arthur St. Clair. He supported himself by working as a copyist in the clerk's office of Hamilton County. In 1807 the State of Ohio admitted him to the bar.
Voters in Cincinnati elected McLean to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1812 and again in 1814. Before the end of his second term, the Ohio legislature appointed McLean a justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. He remained on the court until 1822, when President James Monroe appointed him a commissioner of the Federal Land Office. A year later Monroe selected McLean to be Postmaster General. In 1829 President Andrew Jackson appointed McLean to the United States Supreme Court.
As a Supreme Court justice, McLean's most famous case was the Dred Scott v. Sanford ruling (1857). He favored granting Dred Scott his freedom, thus disagreeing with the majority of his fellow justices. (Scott, a slave, had filed suit for his freedom because his owner had taken him to a state where slavery was illegal.) In other cases, McLean upheld slave owners' rights to reclaim their "fugitive" property in states that had outlawed slavery. He also ruled that states could not implement laws that made it impossible for the federal government to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.
McLean's prominence as a justice on the Supreme Court led various political parties to consider nominating him as a presidential candidate, but McLean never became a candidate. He remained on the Supreme Court until his death on April 4, 1861.
View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: AL05834 Subjects: McLean, John, 1785-1861; United States. Supreme Court; Scott, Dred, 1809-1858--Trials, litigation, etc.; Constitutional history--United States; Slavery--United States--Legal status of slaves in free states; Sully, Thomas (1783-1872); Ohio History--State and Local Government--Law
Description: Photograph showing the home of abolitionist John Brown in Osawatomie, Kansas, 1921. Following the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, Brown--a vehement opponent to slavery--moved to Kansas with five of his sons, intending to help make Kansas a free state. On May 23, 1856, Brown, four of his sons, and two additional men rode into Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas, a village of several slave-owning families. Brown and his followers killed five men in front of their wives and children. This brutal act was one of many that caused the territory to be called "Bleeding Kansas." Brown immediately became known for his violent opposition to slavery, and many people both feared and despised him. He went on to lead an unsuccessful raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), for which he was convicted of treason and executed in 1859. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: sc223_03 Subjects: John Brown's Raid, 1859; Abolitionists -- Ohio; Ohio History--Slavery, Anti-Slavery and Civil Rights Places: Osawatomie (Kansas)
Description: This image shows the Edwin Coppock Memorial, errected by Daniel Howell Hise in Salem, Ohio. The engraving reads "Edwin Coppock 'A martyr to the cause of liberty' Born in Butler Township near Salem, Ohio. June 30, 1835. Was one of John Brown's Company in his attempt to liberate the slaves at Harpers Ferry, VA. October 1859. Was executed at Charleston, VA. December 16, 1859."
John Brown was an abolitionists whose obsession with ending slavery led him to violence and his eventual death. Under the influence of his father, Brown decided to dedicate his life to destroying the institution of slavery, and he spent time serving as a conductor on the Underground Railroad.
Brown gained national attention in 1859 when he led a group of twenty-one men on a raid of Harper's Ferry, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). A federal arsenal was in the town, and Brown hoped to capture the buildings and the weapons stored inside of them. He then intended to distribute the guns and ammunition to slaves in the region, hoping to create an army of African Americans that would march through the South and force slave-owners to release their slaves. Brown and his men succeeded in capturing the arsenal, but local residents surrounded the buildings, trapping the abolitionists inside. A detachment of United States Marines arrived and stormed the arsenal on October 18, capturing seven men, including Brown. The court found Brown guilty and sentenced him to death, along with his comrades.
John Brown's Harper's Ferry raid raised issues for the presidential election of 1860. It was also one of the events that led to the eventual dissolution of the United States and the Civil War that followed. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: AL06500 Subjects: Slavery; Abolition movement--1850-1860; Harpers Ferry (W. Va.) History John Brown's Raid, 1859; Memorials--Ohio Places: Salem (Ohio); Columbiana County (Ohio)
Description: Photograph of Dr. William Edwards, who was known in slavery as William Albert Beason. He escaped from slavery in Virginia in 1848 and traveled on the Underground Railroad for two years through Pennsylvania, finally settling in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada. The image was collected by Ohio State University professor Wilbur H. Siebert (1866-1961). Siebert began researching the Underground Railroad in the 1890s as a way to interest his students in history. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: AL03238 Subjects: Fugitive slaves; Ohio History--Slavery, Anti-Slavery and Civil Rights Places: Amherstburg (Ontario); Canada
Description: This photograph depicts M. M. Murphy, a conductor for the Underground Railroad and the last of the Ripley Flat-boat men, sitting outside of the Rankin House in Ripley, Ohio. The house was owned by John Rankin, a Presbyterian minister. Up until the American Civil War, Rankin dedicated his life to abolishing slavery. After spending several years as a minister and abolitionist in Kentucky, he moved to Ripley to continue his anti-slavery work. He most likely moved into this home in 1825, where he continued to serve as a conductor on the Underground Railroad.
Rankin's home stood on a 300-foot-high hill, known as "Liberty Hill," which overlooked the Ohio River. Rankin would signal fugitive slaves in Kentucky with a lantern or candle, letting them know when it was safe for them to cross the Ohio River. To access Rankin's home on top of Liberty Hill, those seeking their freedom had to climb 100 wooden steps. Rankin would provide the fugitive slaves with sanctuary, keeping them hidden until it was safe for them to travel. Rankin is believed to have provided shelter and food to as many as 2,000 former slaves during his career with the Underground Railroad; according to several accounts, none of those whom Rankin helped were ever returned to slavery. Harriet Beecher Stowe immortalized Rankin's efforts to help African Americans in her book, "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Rankin's home was the first stop in Ohio for Eliza, one of the book's main characters, as she sought freedom in the North. Today, the Rankin house is home to a museum operated by the Ohio History Connection. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: SC652_003 Subjects: Ohio History--Slavery, Anti-Slavery and Civil Rights; Underground Railroad--Ohio; Antislavery movements--Ohio--History--19th century; Historic houses; Brown County (Ohio); Places: Ripley (Ohio); Brown County (Ohio)
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