Monthly Archives: August 2013

Thin Line Between Slavery, Humanity & Chickens


Image: Harper’s Weekly, July 4, 1863

The September 27, 1856 edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch ran what might have been for most readers at the time an amusing story concerning stolen chickens from the farm of one of the city’s prominent citizens. The news story describes a slave named Brittan belonging to a George Turner being under arrest and sentenced in the Mayor’s Court for the theft of a number of valuable hens from Richard Forrester’s farm. The article (extracted) entitled, “A Chicken Fancier” dripped with sarcasm and amusement as it described: Continue reading

Provisional Liberty in Early Rhode Island

Pos04 2013 is the 350th anniversary celebration of the Rhode Island Royal Charter.

Dated July 8, 1663, it was drafted by Dr. John Clarke of Newport. Clarke worked for over a decade to secure the charter from England’s King Charles II who finally granted establishing the “Colony of Rhode Island & Providence Plantations.” The document uniquely guaranteed a “freedom of religious concernments” for its citizens. But it is the definition and requirements of full citizenship that lead to murky circumstances for non-Protestant Christians. Continue reading

A Visit From Harriet Jacobs After The War


Harriet Jacobs was born into slavery in North Carolina. Her single work, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” published in 1861 under the pseudonym Linda Brent, and edited by famed Abolitionist Lydia Maria Child, was one of the first autobiographical narratives about the struggle for freedom by an African American woman. Today, her book is compared with the “Diary of Anne Frank” as being two of the most important autobiographies depicting the resiliency of young women during times of great struggle.  During the years leading up to the Civil War, she became an Abolitionist and national speaker to end slavery.

On May 14, 1865 Jacobs, in the company of her daughter Louisa and several Northern women Abolitionists, left Washington, DC to travel to Richmond, Virginia Continue reading