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North Carolina Quakers, Anti-Slavery, and the Underground Railroad: 1492-1799

1492-1799

Date

General African American Timeline

Local Quaker & African American Timeline

 

1492

 

Pedro Alonso Niño was the black navigator who sailed to the New World with Christopher Columbus on his first expedition.

 

 
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedro_Alonso_Ni%C3%B1o

   
         

1526

 

1526 Slave revolt in San Miguel de Gualdape. Slaves were victorious. (Sapelo Island, Georgia)

   

1619

 

Twenty Africans were brought to the English colony at Jamestown on a Dutch ship as indentured servants.

   

1665

   

First Friends arrive in eastern North Carolina.

 

1672

   

William Edmundson, a Friends minister from   Ireland, holds first documented religious service in   North Carolina.  Quakerism’s founder, George Fox,   visits later that same year.

 

1680

   

First monthly meeting held in North Carolina by the Society of Friends.

 

1680

 

   

First written record of Friends in North Carolina.

 

1695  -1696

 

 

 

Quaker John Archdale serves as governor of the   Carolina colony.

 

1698

   

North Carolina Yearly Meeting is established.

 

1712

 

The New York Slave Revolt of 1712 is suppressed. Enslaved and free blacks, living in close proximity, are able to easily conspire against the harsh treatment of slaves. In the aftermath, severe and cruel punishments are meted out.

   
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Slave_Revolt_of_1712

   
         

1733

 

The 1733 St. John Slave Revolt was an insurrection that was suppressed. At the time, St. John was in the Danish West Indies, it is now St. John, United States Virgin Islands.

   
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1733_slave_insurrection_on_St._John

   
         

1739

 

Stono Rebellion occurs as armed slaves revolt in Stono, South Carolina killing about 20 whites. It was the largest slave rebellion in Colonial America. During the rebellion, over 40 slaves were killed. This event led to passage of the Negro Act of 1740 by the South Carolina legislature that restricted slave assembly, education, and movement. But it also lead to a moratorium of 10 years for importation of slaves,  implemented penalties for harsh treatment of slaves, and required approval from the state legislature for slave manumissions.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stono_Rebellion

   
         
         

1741

 

The New York Conspiracy of 1741 is suppressed. Fires had been set in the city, within the British colony, by poor blacks and whites.
(a.k.a. Negro Plot of 1741 or Slave Insurrection of 1741)

   
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Conspiracy_of_1741

   
         

1746

 

Lucy Terry becomes known as the first known African American poet in her "Bars Fight" poem that tells about the Native American raid on her Deerfield village in Massachusetts. This poem was orally passed down until it was published in 1855.

John Woolman visits North Carolina

 

1750-1775

   

Friends from eastern North Carolina, Pennsylvania,   Virginia, and Nantucket Island migrate to piedmont   region of North Carolina.

 

1753

   

Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes was published by John Woolman, a Philadelphia Quaker.

 

1754

   

54 African-Americans are listed in Guilford County (NC) colonial records as its first known recording of numbers.

 

1755

   

The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting pronounces that those participating in the slave trade are sinning.

 

1758

 

"Bluestone" Church or the African Baptist Church becomes the first known black church in North America when it is founded on William Bird's plantation. It was near to the Bluestone River, in Mecklenburg County, Virginia.

   

1768

   

Slave trading for a profit is condemned by the North Carolina Yearly Meeting.

 

1770

 

 "Absalom (negro slave to Mr. Wynkoop) and Mary (Do. to S. King)" were married at St. Peter's Anglican Church in Philadelphia on January 4, 1770. They were slaves owned by the neighboring Wynkoop and King families, members of this church. The slave, Absalom, later was known as Absalom Jones. He worked to gain the freedom of his wife first so that their children would be free. Children's status was based on the status of the mother . . . if she was free or a slave, the children followed this condition.

North Carolina Yearly Meeting adopts a statement   condemning the importation of slaves, restricting    purchase, and encouraging Friends to watch over   the morals of any slaves already owned but still    stops short of outright condemnation.

 
   

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part3/3h93.html

   
         

1770

 

Crispus Attucks was an escaped slave of Wampanoag (Native American) and African descent. During the Boston Massacre, he is the first person to be shot by British Redcoats in the American Revolution and to die in the battle for American independence.

   
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crispus_Attucks

   

1772

   

Buying and selling slaves without permission from the meeting is prohibited by the North Carolina Yearly Meeting. They look at how to advise Friends when they want to free their slaves.

 

1773

 

Phillis Wheatley publishes the first book by an African American. "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral" is published in England. Although she was a slave at the time, she had been educated by her owner, John Wheatley, and his family.

The Society of Friends welcomes George Walton, of Perquimans County, North Carolina, as a Quaker.

 
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phylis_Wheatley

   

1774

   

Slave traders are disowned by the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
After Quaker Thomas Newby requests advice about freeing his slaves, the North Carolina Yearly Meeting decides that any Friends wanting to free their slaves must receive this permission from their monthly meetings.

 

1774

   

Quakers in Guilford County free their slaves with many becoming vocal opponents of slavery.

 

1775

 

Free blacks are allowed to join the Continental Army in a policy reversal by George Washington. As a consequence of this, 5,000 African Americans join the army. Lord Dunmore, the royal Governor of Virginia, promises to free slaves who fight for the British side.

Slaveholding is renounced by the North Carolina Yearly Meeting.
George Walton recommends that friends avoid Night Patrol duty.
A provisional government is established by revolutionaries in north Carolina.

 

1776

 

The Declaration of Independence is signed without words condemning slavery due to pressure from southern slave-owners. Nonetheless, it is adopted by the Continental Congress stating that all men are endowed with a right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Slave owners are disowned by the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
Ten slaves are manumitted by Thomas Newby.

 
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_Independence

   

1777

   

Eastern North Carolina Friend Thomas Newby and   ten other Friends free approximately 40 slaves, drawing the attention of the courts and the North    Carolina General Assembly.

 

1777

   

"An Act to Prevent Domestic Insurrections" is adopted by the North Carolina General Assembly. It authorizes the re-enslavement of slaves who are improperly manumitted.  This law tightens manumission procedures, including   prohibition except for meritorious services as established by courts and mandating seizure of any “illegally” freed slaves.

 

1777

   

Lawyers are hired by the North Carolina Yearly Meeting for the defense of manumitted slaves.

 

1777

   

In North Carolina, Perquimans and Pasquotank county courts order the resale of slaves manumitted by Friends.

 

1778

   

The decision of Perquimans and Pasquotank county courts is reversed by the North Carolina superior court in a finding that "Act to Prevent Domestic Insurrections" violate protection against ex post facto prosecutions.

 

1778 -1782

   

George Walton is a member of the Standing Committee of the North Carolina Yearly Meeting.

 

1778 -1779

   

George Walton acts as clerk of the Standing Committee.

 

1779

   

Committee on the North Carolina legislature reports “the conduct of the said Quakers in setting   their slaves free when our open and declared    enemies were endeavoring to bring about an Insurrection and the Slaves, was highly criminal and reprehensible.”

 

1779

   

The seizure and sale of improperly manumitted slaves is legalized by the North Carolina General Assembly.

 

1781

 

Some African Americans join the Revolutionary forces at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.

The disownment of slave owners is authorized at the North Carolina Yearly Meeting.

 

1783

   

The Congress of the Confederation is petitioned by the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting to end the importation of slaves.

 

1787

 

Ratification of the U.S. Constitution with stipulations that the slave trade will not be banned until 1808. In addition, it rules that states are required to help recover fugitive slaves, and that slaves are counted as three-fifths of a man to allot for representation in the House of Representatives.

   
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Constitution

   
         

1787

 

African Free School is founded in New York City by the New York Manumission Society and educates future leaders.

   
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Free_School

   
         

1787

 

Richard Allen and Absalom Jones lead the founding of the Free African Society of Philadelphia. They and other free blacks wanted to create a non-denominational religious organization to serve the African American community.

   
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_African_Society

 

 

 

1787

 

In the Northwest Territory, slavery is to be illegal.

   
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Territory

   
         

1783

   

The Congress of the Confederation is petitioned by the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting to end the importation of slaves.

 

1788

 

North Carolina's "Act to Prevent Domestic Insurrections" is strengthened by an amendment that makes it easier to re-enslave improperly manumitted slaves.

   

1789

   

The U.S. Congress is petitioned by the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting to amend the U.S. Constitution by immediately abolishing slave importation.

 

1789

   

George Walton is disowned by the Society of Friends for habitual inebriation. He dies that same year.

 

1791

 

Benjamin Banneker is appointed to assist with the survey of Washington, DC by President George Washington. The first almanac by an African American is published by him.     

   
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Banneker

   
         

1791

 

The Haitian Revolution is led by a former slave, Toussaint L'Ouverture.  Although he is betrayed and captured in 1802, Haiti becomes independent from France in 1804. This terrifies the Southern states and leads to a slow-down in the importation of slaves to the United States

   
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitian_Slave_Revolt

   
         

1793

 

First Fugitive Slave Act is passed by Congress. It is now illegal to harbor escaped slaves and requires that they are returned across state lines.

   
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugitive_Slave_Act

   
         

1793

 

Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin that leads to a boom in cotton cultivation and slavery in the South.                

   
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eli_Whitney

   
         

1793

 

In Philadelphia, during the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793, Benjamin Rush (an African American doctor) encouraged other blacks to aid black and white individuals who were sick. It was his belief that African Americans were immune to Yellow Fever. The Free African Society of Philadelphia responded with assistance.

   
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_Fever_Epidemic_of_1793

   
         

1794

 

Mother Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church is founded in Philadelphia by Richard Allen.

   
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Allen_(bishop)

   
         

1794

 

The Free African Society was the site where Absalom Jones began holding religious services in 1791. Growing from this, the African Church in Philadelphia was founded in 1792. Jones petitioned for acceptance of the church as an Episcopal parish, and in 1794, it became the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, the first black church in Philadelphia.

 

 
   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absalom_Jones

   
         

1795

   

Freed slaves are required to post bond in North Carolina.

 

1797

   

A debate over the Fugitive Slave Law takes place in the U.S. House of Representatives due to a petition from four former slaves who were freed by North Carolina Quakers.

 

 

1797-1798

   

A petition from the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting concerning North Carolina's manumission laws causes the U.S. House of Representatives to take up the debate.