1834 Anti-Abolitionist Riots


The anti-abolitionist riots of 1834, also known simplistically as the Farren Riots, occurred in New York City over a series of four nights, beginning on July 7, 1834. Their deeper origins lay in the combination of nativism and abolitionism among the Protestants who had controlled the booming city since the American Revolutionary War, and fear and resentment of blacks among the growing underclass of Irish Immigrants and their kin. In 1827 Britain repealed legislation controlling and restricting emigration from Ireland, and 20,000 Irish emigrated; by 1835 over 30,000 Irish arrived in New York annually.

On Wednesday evening, July 9, three interconnected riots erupted. Several thousand whites gathered at the Chatham Street Chapel; their object was to break up a planned anti-slavery meeting. When the abolitionists was alerted and did not appear, the crowd broke into the chapel and held a counter-meeting, with preaching in mock-Negro style and calling for deportation of blacks to Africa.

Four thousand rioters descended on the Bowery Theatre to avenge an anti-American remark made by George P. Farren, the theatre’s EnglishTheGreatAntiSlaveryMeetingLondon_LOC2.jpg-born stage manager and an abolitionist: “Damn the Yankees; they are a damn set of jackasses and fit to be gulled.” He had also fired an American actor. Pro-slavery activists had posted handbills around New York that recounted Farren’s actions.

A production of Metamora was in progress as part of a benefit for Farren. Manager Thomas S. Hamblin and actor Edwin Forrest tried to calm the rioters, who demanded Farren’s apology and called for the deportation of blacks. The riot was apparently quelled when Farren had the American flag displayed, and blackface performer George Washington Dixon performed “Yankee Doodle” and the minstrel song “Zip Coon”, which made fun of a Northern black dandy. The mayor addressed the crowd, followed by Dixon. The mob gradually dispersed.

Violence escalated over the next two days, apparently fueled by provocative handbills. A list of other locations slated for attack by the rioters was compiled by the Mayor’s office, among them the home of Reverend Joshua Leavitt at 146 Thompson Street. Leavitt was the editor of The Evangelist and a manager of the American Anti-Slavery Society.


The mob targeted homes, businesses, churches, and other buildings associated with the abolitionists and African Americans. More than seven churches and a dozen houses were damaged, many of them belonging to African Americans. The home of Reverend Peter Williams Jr., an African-American Episcopal priest, was damaged, and the St. Phillip’s African Episcopal Church was utterly demolished. One group of rioters reportedly carried a hogshead of black ink with which to dunk white abolitionists. In addition to other targeted churches, the Charlton Street home of Reverend Samuel Hanson Cox was invaded and vandalized. The rioting was heaviest in the Five Points.

According to another report, the riots were finally quelled when the New York First Division (swelled by volunteers) was called out by the Mayor on July 11 to support the police. The “military paraded the streets during the day and the night of the 12th.: they were all furnished with ball cartridge, the magistrates having determined to fire upon the mob, had any fresh attempt been made to renew the riots.”


At the time, the riots were interpreted by some as just deserts for the abolitionist leaders, who had “taken it upon themselves to regulate public opinion upon [the subject of abolition]” and who showed “smutty tastes” and “temerity”. By this light the rioters represented “not only the denunciation of an insulted community, but the violence of an infuriated populace.” Dale Cockrell partially agrees, stating that the riots were “about who would control public discourse and community values, with class at base the issue.” Pro-abolitionist observers saw them as simple explosions of Racism.







Andrew J. Beard


Andrew Jackson Beard was African American born a slave on a small farm plantation in Woodland, Alabama. A year after the 16th President of United States Abraham Lincoln emancipated all slaves, Mr. Beard married at the age 15 and became a farmer in Birmingham, Alabama. While working as a farmer in Birmingham, Beard developed a plow, and patent it in 1881. Beard sold the patent rights for $4,000 in 1884.

In 1887 Beard patent a second plow and sold that for $8,200.


Beard two invention earned him almost $10,000, and Beard began to invest in real estate.

While working in real estate Beard began to study and work on engines, and in 1892 Beard patent a rotary engine.

On day on a train Beard notice how unsafe it was for workers to move from train car to train car while in motion, so in 1897 Beard patent and improvement to railroad car coupler, commonly called the Jenny Coupler. Beard invention saved thousands of lives.


Beard received 50,000 for the patent rights to his coupler.

Beard died in 1921, he was 72 years old.


He was also inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio for his work on railroad coupler design.

Allen Allensworth (First African American to Rank Lieutenant Colonel)


Allen Allensworth was born into slavery on April 7, 1842, in Louisville, Kentucky, he was the youngest of thirteen children of Phyllis and Levi Allensworth. Over the years the Allensworth family was scattered around the United States. Allensworth was sold to several different master, finally ending up New Orleans and purchase by Fred Scruggs, a jockey in Jefferson, Louisiana.

In the early 1861 Allensworth had hoped to see his mother again, after learning that her last master, a Rev. Bayliss had freed her after she cared for his dying wife. He found that she has recently gone to New Orleans with a Union man to look for her sons. Waiting for his mother’s return, Allensworth was reunited with one of his sisters Mary Jane, who had married and had a son. She purchase her freedom in 1849.

The Civil War loomed, and while working nearby on a farm where Scruggs’ deputy had placed him, Allensworth met soldiers from the 44th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment, a Union Unit encamped near Louisville. When he told the soldiers of wanting his freedom and reunite with his family, they invited him to join the Hospital Corps. Allensworth dressed in an old uniform, plastered mud over his face. In disguise, he marched with the unit past his master through Louisville and off to war.

After Allensworth bold escape from bondage, he served as a civilian nursing aide with the 44th Infantry’s Illinois, also serving in the Nashville Campaign. About a year later in 1863, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he earned his first pay as a free man. He was soon promoted to Captain’s steward and clerk on the civil war gunboat U.S.S. Tawah when it was destroyed in an engagement with Confederate batteries at Johnsonville, Tennessee.


After being honorably discharged from the Navy, Allensworth moved to Kentucky at find work. In 1868 he joined his brother William in St. Louis, where they operated two restaurants. Within a short time Allensworth left the restaurant business and taught at schools for the freedmen and their children, one operated by the Freedmen’s Bureau.

Allensworth became involved with the Baptist Church in Louisville. He was ordained in 1871, later he went on to study theology in Tennessee. During this time he also served as preacher in Franklin, Tennessee, south of Nashville.

In 1877 Allensworth married Josephine Leavell (1855–1938), also a native of Kentucky; they had met while studying at Roger Williams University in Nashville, Tennessee. She was an accomplished pianist, organist and music teacher. They had two daughters together, Eva and Nella.

The year of his marriage, Allensworth invited his mother Phyllis to live with him and Josephine. They had several months together before she died in 1878 at the age of 96.

In 1886, when he was 44, Allensworth gained support by both southern and northern politicians for appointment as a chaplain in the US Army; his appointment was confirmed by the Senate, as necessary at the time, and approved by the president. He was one of the few black chaplains in the US Army and was assigned to the 24th Infantry Regiment, known as the Buffalo Soldiers. His family accompanied him on assignments in the West, ranging from Fort Bayard, New Mexico Territory to Fort Supply, Indian Territory and Fort Harrison, near Helena Montana. His wife played organ in the fort chapels.

On April 7, 1906, after twenty years of service, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel making him the first African American officer to receive this rank.


In 1908 an retired Chaplain Allensworth and four other black men formed the all-black town called Allensworth in Tulare County, California. Where African Americans could live free of the racial discrimination that pervaded post-Reconstruction America. His dream was to build a community where black people might live and create “sentiment favorable to intellectual and industrial liberty.”

The black settlers of Allensworth built homes, laid out streets, and put up public buildings. They established a church, and organized an orchestra, a glee club, and a brass band.


The Allensworth colony became a member of the county school district and the regional library system and a voting precinct. Residents elected the first African-American Justice of the Peace in post-Mexican California. In 1914, the “California Eagles” reported that the Allensworth community consisted of 900 acres (360 ha) of deeded land worth more than U.S $112,500.

Allensworth soon became a town, not just a colony. Among the social and educational organizations that flourished during its golden age were the Campfire Girls, the Owl Club, the Girls’ Glee Club, and the Children’s Savings Association, for the town’s younger residents, while adults participated in the Sewing Circle, the Whist Club, the Debating Society, and the Theater Club.

The Girls’ Glee Club was modeled after the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University, who had toured internationally. They were the community’s pride and joy. All the streets in the town were named after notable African Americans and/or white abolitionists, such as Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe.


The dry and dusty soil made farming difficult. The drinking water became contaminated by toxins as the water level fell. The year 1913 also brought a number of setbacks to the town. First, much of the town’s economic base was lost when the Santa Fe Railroad moved its rail stop from Allensworth to Alpaugh.

Six years later, in September of 1914, during a trip to Monrovia, California, Colonel Allensworth was crossing a Los Angeles street when he was struck and killed by a motorcycle. The site of the former town is now preserved as Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.









1829 Cincinnati Race Riot


The Cincinnati Riot of 1829 were triggered by competition between Irish immigrants and Black Americans for jobs in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States but also were related to white fears given the rapid increases of free and fugitive blacks in the city. In 1820, approximately 433 Black Americans called Cincinnati home.

Between 1820 and 1829, there was a rapid increase of the black population in Cincinnati, Ohio. The number of blacks in Cincinnati increased from 433 to 2,258 during this decade, while the total city population increased from 9,642 to 24,831 in 1829.

Working class whites, mainly Irish Immigrants, where concerned about job competition. Because of work opportunities generated by the steamboat industry and shipping , Cincinnati had the largest black population of any city. Irish immigrants and blacks both competed for housing in poor neighborhoods along the river, as most workers lived within walking distance of their work. In 1826, 46% of the First Ward residents were Black American; this area was close to the river and had an African Methodist Episcopal Church. White residents petitioned and complained to city officials to remove all black citizens, claiming that their shacks and poor living conditions were fire hazards. White Citizens also petitioned government officials to enforce the 1807 Black Code that required black residents to pay a $500 bond to serve as proof of their respectable nature.

On June 30, Charles Hammond wrote in the Cincinnati Daily Gazette informing all black residents that they had 30 days to pay the bond or be forced to leave the city.

In 1828, the black community considered relocating to rural Ohio to create a black settlement they would call “Africania”. These plans never came to light. A man named James Charles Brown led the relocation effort in the summer of 1829. In June the black community chose two representatives, Israel Lewis and Thomas Crissup, to survey land in upper Canada for a colony settlement. It was while Lewis and Crissup was in Canada surveying the land that the Gazette issued their ultimatum. Brown appealed to the public for a three-month extension in order to be able to identify other places for relocation, and ran daily notices from July to August 10 about their progress.


White Cincinnatians were unsympathetic and filled with unknown hate, rather than let the black citizens relocate in peace, from August 15 to August 22, mobs of 200-300 whites attacked the black neighborhoods, wanting to push the African American out of the city. The Police offered black residents no protection from the mob, and the mayor of Cincinnati Jacob Burnet, refused to call for an end to the violence.

By the end of August, 1100 to 1500 blacks left Cincinnati, because of the violence, seeking shelter in other parts of United States. Another group, which had already considering emigration, organized and relocated to Canada.

Lynching of Julia and Frazier B. Baker

Build Nation


Frazier B. and Julia Baker  were father and daughter African American who were lynched on February 22, 1898 in  Lake City, Florence County, South Carolina.

Frazier B. Baker was an 40-year-old schoolteacher and member of the Colored Farmers Alliance. Frazier was married to Lavinia Russell-Baker, and together they had six children Rosa, Cora, Lincoln, Sarah, Millie, and Julia Baker.

President William McKinley administration appointed hundreds of blacks to postmaster across the Black Belt.

In 1897 Frazier was appointed postmaster of Lake City, South Carolina and immediately encountered fierce opposition from local whites. The whites feared that the increased political power that accompanied them would embolden black men to proposition white women.  A boycott of the Lake City post office was initiated, and petitions calling for Baker’s dismissal were circulated. One complaint was that Baker, had cut mail delivery from three times a day…

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Macon Bolling Allen (First Black Man to Practice Law and hold a Judicial Position in United States)


Macon Bolling Allen was born free in Indiana, United States, on August 4 1816. Little is known about Allen childhood and parents. What is known is his birth name was Allen Macon Bolling, which Allen changed to Macon Bolling Allen when he relocated to Portland, Maine from Indiana.

Allen taught himself to read and write and was employed as a school teacher. Allen moved to Portland, Maine in the early 1840s and began studying law. There in Maine Allen became friends with a white local anti-slavery leader and attorney General Samuel Fessenden, who took Allen as his apprentice and law clerk. General Fessenden was also the individual responsible for recommending Macon to the Bar and requesting that he be allowed to practice law in the state of Maine.

Allen was rejected on his first attempt to become licensed, on the grounds that he was no a state citizen, through according to Maine law anyone “of good moral character” could be admitted to the bar. However, on July 3, 1844, after paying $20.00 to the Treasury of Maine, he became a citizen and received his license to practice law after passing the exam.

Finding work in Maine, however, was difficult. There were few blacks willing and able to hire Allen and most whites were unwilling to hire to have a black man represent them in court. In 1845 Allen moved to Boston, Massachusetts where he met his wife Hannah . They had five sons together, most of whom became teachers. Their names were John, Charles, Edward, Arthur and Macon B. Allen Jr.


Allen passed the Massachusetts Bar Exam on May 5, 1845. He soon set his sights even higher; in 1848 he passed another rigorous exam to become Justice of the Peace for Middlesex County, Massachusetts. In addition to his license to practice law he is believed to be the first black man to hold a judiciary position.

Allen moved to Charleston, South Carolina after the Civil War  to open a new legal practice. The first black firm, this firm was established in Charleston, SC in 1868. his partners were William J. Whipper and Robert Brown Elliot. In 1873 he was appointed as a judge in the Inferior Court of Charleston and one year later was elected judge probate for Charleston County, South Carolina.


After Reconstruction, Allen moved again, this time to Washington, D.C. where he worked as an attorney for the Land and Improvement Association. He continued to practice law right until his death at age 78.  Macon Bolling Allen was survived by his wife and one son, Arthur Allen.



1804 Ohio Black Laws.


In 1804, “Black Laws” were enacted in the state of Ohio. The Congress of the Buckeye state became the first legislative body in the country to enact Black Laws, intended to restrict the rights of free blacks.

The Ohio legislature passed a series of laws to discourage African American migration to the state.

Although slavery was not allowed in Ohio as part of the Constitution of 1803, most African Americans were not treated as equals to white people in the new state. Many Ohioans had come from Southern states that allowed slavery and were not willing to grant rights to African Americans. Other Ohioans were concerned about economic competition from free blacks who might choose to move to the state. As a result of these sentiments, as early as 1804, Ohio legislators had implemented black laws. The 1807 laws were a continuation of these earlier laws.

Two groups supported the measure: white settlers from Kentucky and Virginia, and a growing group of businessmen who had ties to southern slavery. All of them despised blacks. The legislation forced blacks and mulattoes to furnish certificates of freedom from a court in the United States before they could settle in Ohio. All black residents had to register with the names of their children by June 1, 1805. The registration fee was 12 and a half cents per name.

It became a punishable offense to employ a black person who could not present a certificate of freedom. Anyone harboring or helping fugitive slaves was fined $1,000, with the informer receiving half of the fine. On January 25, 1807, these laws were toughened and other states followed Ohio’s lead. The Black Laws remained in effect until 1849.

Among other provisions, these laws required black people to prove that they were not slaves and to find at least two people who would guarantee a surety of five hundred dollars for the African Americans’ good behavior. The laws also limited African Americans’ rights to marry whites and to gun-ownership, as well as to several other freedoms that whites held. The Black Laws and other policies deterred some African Americans from settling in Ohio.


In the late 1840s, the Black Laws became a political issue once again. Members of the Free Soil Party pushed to have the laws repealed and were partially successful in doing so in 1849. The changes in the laws were accomplished in part because Ohio Democrats backed the Black Laws’ repeal in exchange for Free Soil Party support of their candidates in the state legislature.

Ohio Black Codes

Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio , That from and after the first day of June next. no black or mulatto person shall be permitted to settle or reside in this state, unless he or she shall first produce a fair certificate from some court within the United States, of his or her actual freedom, which certificate shall be attested by the clerk of said court, and the seal thereof annexed thereto, by said clerk.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted , That every black or mulatto person residing within this state, on or before the fifth day of June, one thousand eight hundred and four, shall enter his or her name, together with the name or names of his or her children, in the clerk’s office in the county in which he, she or they reside, which shall be entered on record by said clerk, and thereafter the clerk’s certificate of such record shall be sufficient evidence of his, her or their freedom; and for every entry and certificate, the person obtaining the same shall pay to the clerk twelve and an half cents. Provided nevertheless , That nothing in this act contained shall bar the lawful claim to any black or mulatto person.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted , That no person or persons residents of this state, shall be permitted to hire, or in any way employ any black or mulatto person, unless such black or mulatto person shall have one of the certificates as aforesaid, under pain of forfeiting and paying any sum not less than ten nor more than fifty dollars, at the discretion of the court, for every such offense, one-half thereof for the use of the informer and the other half for the use of the state; and shall moreover pay to the owner, if any there be, of such black or mulatto person, the sum of fifty cents for every day he, she or they shall in any wise employ, harbour or secret such black or mulatto person, which sum or sums shall be recoverable before any court having cognizance thereof.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted , That if any person or persons shall harbour or secret any black or mulatto person, the property of any person whatever, or shall in any wise hinder or prevent the lawful owner or owners from retaking and possessing his or her black or mulatto servant or servants, shall, upon conviction thereof, by indictment or information, be fined in any sum not less than ten nor more than fifty dollars, at the discretion of the court, one-half thereof for the use of the informer and the other half for the use of the state.

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted , That every black or mulatto person who shall come to reside in this state with such certificate as is required in the first section of this act, shall, within two years, have the same recorded in the clerk’s office, in the county in which he or she means to reside, for which he or she shall pay to the clerk twelve and an half cents, and the clerk shall give him or her a certificate of such record.

Sec. 6. And be it further enacted , That in case any person or persons, his or their agent or agents, claiming any black or mulatto person that now are or hereafter may be in this state, may apply, upon making satisfactory proof that such black or mulatto person or persons is the property of him or her who applies, to any associate judge or justice of the peace within this state, the associate judge or justice is hereby empowered and required, by his precept, to direct the sheriff or constable to arrest such black or mulatto person or persons and deliver the same in the county or township where such officers shall reside, to the claimant or claimants or his or their agent or agents, for which service the sheriff or constable shall receive such compensation as they are entitled to receive in other cases for similar services.

Sec. 7. And be it further enacted , That any person or persons who shall attempt to remove, or shall remove from this state, or who shall aid and assist in removing, contrary to the provisions of this act, any black or mulatto person or persons, without first proving as hereinbefore directed, that he, she or they, is or are legally entitled so to do, shall, on conviction thereof before any court having cognizance of the same, forfeit and pay the sum of one thousand dollars, one-half to the use of the informer and the other half to the use of the state, to be recovered by action of debt, qui tam , or indictment, and shall moreover be liable to the action of the party injured.








Alexander Thomas Augusta (First Black Surgeon in the U.S. Army)


Alexander Thomas Augusta was born in Norfolk, Virginia on March 8, 1825, to free African American parents. Still in his youth Augusta made his way to Baltimore, Maryland and worked as a barber. While working in Baltimore he taught himself how to read and write. Augusta began pursuing an education in the field of medicine with private tutors and next he applied for admission to the University of Pennsylvania, but the university cited inadequate preparation and rejected him. Though access was initially denied, a professor William Gibson was impressed with Augusta and taught him privately.

Augusta persisted in his education is education and determined to become a physician, he travelled to California and earned funds to pursue his goal of becoming a doctor. On January 12, 1847 he married Baltimore native Mary O. Burgoin.


Concerned that he would not be allowed to enrolled in medical school in the United States, and by 1850 Augusta and his wife moved to Toronto, Canada where he was accepted by the Medical College at the University of Toronto. In 1856 he received his Bachelors of Medicine degree. Augusta established a successful private practice in Toronto, Canada. In 1862 Dr. Augusta returned to America at the beginning of the American civil war. In 1863 Augusta was pressed into service, becoming the first black surgeon in the U.S. Army and on April 14, 1863, he was commissioned as a major in the Seventh U.S. Colored Infantry (highest ranking black officer). Soon two white assistants, also surgeons complained to President Abraham Lincoln about being subordinated to a black officer. Lincoln then appointed Augusta as Executive-in-Chief of Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington D.C., Augusta was paid $7 a month, however, was lower then that of whites privates. He soon wrote Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson for payroll assistance. He successfully argued that as a medical examiner he deserved more than $7.00 per month. Senator Wilson agreed and pressured the Army paymaster to apply the appropriate pay rate for his rank.

Augusta also experienced white violence when he was mobbed in Baltimore for publicly wearing his officer’s uniform. On February 1, 1864, he wrote a letter to Advocate and Judge Captain C. W. Clippington about discrimination against African Americans passengers on the streetcars of Washington, D.C.:


“Sir: I have the honor to report that I have been obstructed in getting to the court this morning by the conductor of car No. 32, of the Fourteenth Street line of the city railway.

I started from my lodgings to go to the hospital I formerly had charge of to get some notes of the case I was to give evidence in, and hailed the car at the corner of Fourteenth and I streets. It was stopped for me and when I attempted to enter the conductor pulled me back, and informed me that I must ride on the front with the driver as it was against the rules for colored persons to ride inside. I told him, I would not ride on the front, and he said I should not ride at all. He then ejected me from the platform, and at the same time gave orders to the driver to go on. I have therefore been compelled to walk the distance in the mud and rain, and have also been delayed in my attendance upon the court. I therefore most respectfully request that the offender may be arrested and brought to punishment.”

In March of 1865, Augusta received the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, at the time the highest-ranking black officer in the U.S. military. After begin discharge out the military on October 13, 1866, he continued his private practice in Washington D.C., and played a key role in establishing the Howard University Medical School in Washington, were he remained for several years. He retired form Howard University in 1877 and continued to practice medicine until his death at the age 65, on December 21, 1890.