1851 – African American abolitionists invade a Boston courtroom and
rescue a fugitive slave from federal authorities. The fugitive,
Shadrach Minkins was about his job as a waiter in Boston when
United States federal officers showed up at his workplace and
arrested him. Minkins had escaped from slavery in Virginia
the previous year. An act passed by Congress in 1850, the
Fugitive Slave Law, had just been enacted, allowing slave
holders to enlist the aid of the federal government in
recapturing runaway slaves. The Minkins case is to be an
early test of the new law. Within a few hours of his arrest,
Minkins is brought before a federal commissioner. But as he
is being led from the courtroom, a group of Boston African
Americans overpower the guards and free him. He immediately
disappears and is never seen in Boston again. With the help
of the Underground Railroad, Minkins will travel north through
New Hampshire and Vermont, crossing into Canada six days after
his rescue. Out of reach of the U.S. government, Minkins will
settle in Montreal, marry an Irish woman and raise two children
before his death in 1875. Minkins’s rescue will come to
symbolize the spirit of resistance to the legal institutions of
the slave system.
1785 – David Walker is born free in Wilmington, North Carolina.
He will become an outspoken African American abolitionist
and anti-slavery activist. In 1829, while living in Boston,
Massachusetts, he will publish “An Appeal to the Coloured
Citizens of the World,” a call for black unity and self-
help in the fight against oppression and injustice. The
work will bring attention to the abuses and inequities of
slavery and the role of individuals to act responsibly for
racial equality, according to religious and political
tenets. At the time, some people will be outraged and
fearful of the reaction that the pamphlet would have. Many
abolitionists will believe the views are extreme. Historians
and liberation theologians cite the Appeal as an influential
political and social document of the 19th century. He will
exert a radicalizing influence on the abolitionist movements
of his day and inspire future black leaders and activists.
He will join the ancestors on August 6, 1830 in Boston,
Massachusetts. Editor’s Note: Historians disagree on David
Walker’s date of birth. We choose to use the date of birth
cited by the Cape Fear Historical Institute in Wilmington,
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1834 – 1886
George Lewis Ruffin is born in Richmond, Virginia. The
son of free African Americans, he and his wife, Josephine
St. Pierre Ruffin (1842–1924), will flee to England after
the Dred Scott decision (1857), and return soon to
Boston. While making his living as a barber, he will
speak out on matters concerning African Americans. He
will read the law in Boston and become the first Black
to graduate from Harvard Law School (1869). While
maintaining a thriving practice in Boston, he will serve
in the Massachusetts legislature (1869–71) and Boston
City Council (1876–8), and will be named a municipal
judge (1883). An active Baptist and able speaker, he will
attend national conventions of African Americans and
become a close friend of many prominent people of his
day, including Frederick Douglass. His wife was a partner
in his many efforts to improve the lot of fellow
African Americans. He will join the ancestors on
November 18, 1886.
As time passes and I get older, I find I’m like the sister in the Secret Life of Bees, where bad news was soo painful that she had a rock shrine for whatever it was that caused her sadness. For example, the marathon bombing was a heartbreaking tragedy but to hear news reports of how they found the second bombing suspect, my motherly instincts kicked in. The thought that a 19 year old boy lying in a boat wounded and possibly dying a slow death, broke my heart. Do you remember being 19! I know I was pretty stupid at 19 years old. What is wrong in the world where our youth do things that affect their lives forever? I’m curious as to WHY this young man threw his life away. After all, he came to America at a young age and obviously the time the family was here they reaped the benefits of life in America based on the fact that their son attended the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Schools in Boston are prestige institutions such as Harvard, Boston College, MIT, Berklee College of Music, and University of Massachusetts. As though life as a terrorist was a video game that became real and now its over and he can go back to his life as a college student.
When I heard his mother state that he was killed because he was a Muslim sparked my patriotism. I was taken back by the comment. I’m not the type of person who looks for things to make me patrotic but the accusation that we killed her son because of his religion pissed me off. Americans died because of her son!!! And, I’m angry about that especially a 8 year old boy was among the dead.
The technology that law enforcement possesses is awesome because we as the public don’t get to see the arsenal of devices that are used in this day and age with automatic weapons, grenades and other devices in the hands of criminals, we- the average Joe Public don’t know anything about hi- tech weapons until something as horrible as the Marathon Bombings.
GOD BLESS AMERICA!