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Pencil Shavings

Absorb yourself

Search the many pages of black history

By Dawn Hankins
Posted 2/26/22

It’s hard to believe but February is about over. If you recall, there are just 28 days. Yes, I still do the 30 days has September, April, June and November . . . . Today, I want to shout out to my alma mater Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro for doing an outstanding job, honoring Black History month.

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Pencil Shavings

Absorb yourself

Search the many pages of black history

Posted

It’s hard to believe but February is about over. If you recall, there are just 28 days. Yes, I still do the 30 days has September, April, June and November . . . .  

Today, I want to shout out to my alma mater Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro for doing an outstanding job, honoring Black History month.  

We were fortunate at the T-G to be able to cover the Unity luncheon this year. Zoe Haggard, T-G staff writer, was quite impressed with the turnout. (Hint: She’s True Blue too!)  

While February is always set aside for honoring black history and those who’ve paved the way through freedom, democracy and education, we should remember all the folks who’ve sacrificed so much throughout the year.  

I think of one of my favorite persons of history, Soujourner Truth. A former slave, Sojourner Truth became an outspoken advocate for abolition, temperance, and civil and women’s rights in the 19th century. Her Civil War work earned her an invitation to meet President Abraham Lincoln in 1864.  

Truth was born Isabella Bomfree, a slave in Dutch speaking Ulster County, New York in 1797. She was bought and sold four times and subjected to harsh physical labor and violent punishments. In her teens, she was united with another slave with whom she had five children, beginning in 1815.  

In 1827—a year before New York’s law freeing slaves was to take effect—Truth ran away with her infant Sophia to a nearby abolitionist family, the Van Wageners. The family bought her freedom for $20 and helped Truth successfully sue for the return of her five-year-oldson Peter, who was illegally sold into slavery in Alabama.  

Truth moved to New York City in 1828, where she worked for a local minister. As an itinerant preacher, Truth met abolitionists like Frederick Douglass.  

Another who comes to mind, when we talk about black history, is William Wilberforce. I don’t think we learn a lot about what this Englishman did to abolish the slave trade in England. I highly recommend the 2006 movie, “Amazing Grace.”  

In later years, Wilberforce supported the campaign for the complete abolition of slavery, and continued his involvement after 1826, when he resigned from Parliament because of his failing health. That campaign led to the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833—one which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire.  

Wilberforce died just three days after hearing that the passage of the Act through Parliament was assured. There are many more to honor.  

It’s been a great Black History Month.  

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