Toussaint Louverture campaigned tirelessly on behalf of slaves during the Haitian Revolution, and his actions helped push France to abolish slavery in all its colonies in 1794. He wrote this letter in response to a speech in French parliament calling for slavery's restoration on Saint-Domingue. He warned the French that he would fight for Haitian independence if France ever revoked abolition.
A letter signed by Toussaint Louverture to Charles Humbert Marie Vincent from Cap-Français (now Cap-Haïtien), Haiti, on October 21, 1797. The text itself was recorded by a scribe as Louverture's written French was limited, though the content comprises his own thoughts. At the top of the first page is pre-printed letterhead for Toussaint Louverture, Chief General of the Army of Saint-Domingue. The letter is handwritten in black ink on the front and back sides of two (2) sheets of paper. The contents of the letter are in regards to ongoing conflicts in the French colony of Saint Domingue, later the free nation of Haiti, and military leader Louverture's dissatisfaction with a speech given in the French parliament earlier in 1797 in which Viénot de Vaublanc spoke against abolition and people of African descent as uncivilized.
Paul Cuffe was born a free man in Massachusetts. His mother was Native American and his father was of West African Ashanti lineage. An entrepreneur and philanthropist, Cuffe gained wealth as owner of an international shipping company. Despite his success, as an African American he was viewed as a second-class citizen and denied equal rights. As a taxpayer, Paul Cuffe petitioned the Massachusetts legislature in 1780 and demanded his right to vote. Free and enslaved African Americans petitioned for freedom, equality, and justice through the courts and state legislatures. They sought to assert their rights, promote their identity as citizens of the new nation, and challenge their status as enslaved people.
Source: Nancy Bercaw, Curator, Slavery and Freedom
A petition to the court of Bristol County, Massachusetts, in Taunton written by an unidentified hand and signed by John Cuffe and Paul Cuffe. The text is handwritten in black ink on the front and back sides of the same sheet of paper. The petition is in regards to taxation by the state upon the signatories, who are of Indian descent and are arguing they are therefore not subject to such taxation.
Enslaved African Americans, leased out by their slave owners, mined sandstone from local quarries and built the United States Capitol, the White House, and the Smithsonian Castle. Congress, the institution that guarded the peoples’ freedom, held sessions in a building constructed by forced labor, and the legislators would have witnessed lines of shackled slaves marching by daily en route to the Deep South. The block was quarried near Aquia Creek, Virginia, by free and enslaved workers and used in the construction of the Capitol building in 1824.
Source: Nancy Bercaw, Curator, Slavery and Freedom
A rectangular block of sandstone. One short side of the block has a smooth, finished surface. The other five sides are rough-hewn and pitted, showing evidence of quarry tool markings, softened by weathering. One of the long sides has mechanical tool markings across the surface, forming a cross-hatch pattern. The block predominantly is beige, with reddish-brown veins of color running lengthwise. The smooth side shows most clearly the variegation of reddish-brown strata. There is a loss at the lower-left corner of the smooth side.
A clay brick that was once part of the structure of the White House. The brick is a standard solid style brick, slightly uneven in shape. It is a reddish-brown color, and is covered with faint remnants of white-colored mortar on all sides. A chunk of mortar protrudes off the surface at the corner of one of the brick's long, narrow sides.
A red clay brick that was once part of the structure of the White House. The brick is a standard solid style brick, slightly uneven in shape. It is a reddish-brown color, and is covered with faint remnants of white-colored mortar on all sides. There are slight losses at two corners.
A letter written by John Brown and Frederick Douglass from Rochester, New York, on January 30, 1858, to Brown's wife and children. The letter is handwritten in black ink on the front and back sides of a single sheet of paper. The letter is first written by Brown, who does not sign his portion beyond "Your Affectionate Husband and Father." Brown writes of missing his wife and children very much, but of not being able to visit them. He also asks his daughter Ruth about her husband, Henry Thompson, becoming involved in Brown's "school," coded language for Brown's militant abolitionist dealings. He further speaks of recruiting his sons for his work and requests that the family write to him under the name "N. Hawkins: Care of Fred'k Douglas [sic] Esq'r Rochester N[.] Y." Douglass writes on the lower half of the verso page with his words oriented three different directions to fit the page. He speaks of his friendship with the Brown family and invites any of them to his home, where John Brown is staying, signing as "Fred. Douglass."