Early Community and the Fight Against RacismPhiladelphia’s African-American Community 1787-1790
William Thornton: Colonization in Sierre Leone• Argued that Whites and Blacks could never co- exist.• Found great enthusiasm in Newport and Boston among African- Americans ready to return to Africa.• In Philadelphia the idea meet a chilly response in 1792.
Benjamin Rush: Abolitionist • James Derham was a slave to a doctor who had taught him medicine. Rush spent time with Derham and published information about his extensive medical knowledge. He convinced him to come to Philadelphia and practice law where he became an expert on throat diseases and the relation between climate and illness. • Thomas Fuller was called the “African Calculator”. He was tested by a group that asked him if a man had lived 70 years, 17 days, and 12 hours how many seconds had he lived. He responded 2,210,500,800 seconds.
1788 Law takes another swipe at Slavery • Illegal to take pregnant woman or children out of state • Punishment for Kidnapping became more severe • Made it illegal to separate a family by more than 10 miles • Made it illegal to build ships to be used as slavers.
Franklin createsFreedman’s Bureau • Pledges to help Freedman get jobs • Build Schools for African-American Children • Provide for home visitations to provide instruction in virtues
Creation of an Independent Black Church • African-Americans were upset that after helping to renovate the church they were told they had to sit in the balcony. • With the help of Benjamin Rush they began to raise money for a church of their own. • Most whites were reluctant to give because they believed either in Racism or that African-Americans had been scarred by slavery.
Refugees flee to Philadelphia • Slave rebellion in Haiti leads to Slave masters fleeing to Philadelphia. • Those who had promised money for the church gave instead to helping the French slave owners resettle. • Allen and Jones saw $12,000 raised for slave masters in a few days and they had been working for over a year to raise $3,500.
Yellow Fever Epidemic delays plans further! • Rush asked Allen and Jones to lead the African-American community to help restore order to the city believing they were immune to the disease. • While rich whites fled the city African-Americans tended to the sick and helped bury the more than 4,000 who died. • Allen and Jones saw it as an opportunity to strike against white racism show that Africans were caring and courageous.
African-Americans accused of Profiteering • 240 African-Americans died from the fever • Matthew Carey, an Irish Immigrant, accused Blacks of profiteering. • Allen and Jones wrote a detailed response giving an account of those who worked tirelessly for little or no pay. • Carey had fled the city while middle class blacks stayed and helped. • Whites who had been cared for by African-Americans showed their gratitude by helping to fund the first black church.
Which denomination? • By Spring of 1794 the church was complete • Jones and Allen wanted it to be Methodist Church • Majority in the African-American community wanted the church to be Anglican. • Rush was Anglican and the Methodists had treated Africans poorly at St. George’s. • Most free Africans had been baptized and married in the Anglican church which after the revolution became the Episcopal Church.
Allen refused to lead the church and started Mother Bethel • Allen purchased a blacksmith’s shop and hauled it to Sixth and Cedar and began Mother Bethel. • 1794-- 246 108 • 1795-- 427 121 • Churches represented a growing self-confidence and determination to create their own institutions free from discrimination.