October 17: Jupiter Hammon, First Published African-American Writer

  Jupiter Hammon, an enslaved man, poet, and devout Christian who became the first published African-American writer, was born on this day in 1711 on the Lloyd family estate on Long Island.   While little is known about the finer details of Hammon’s life, as a boy, young Jupiter was educated alongside the Lloyd family’s…

August 24: Capture of the Slave Ship Amistad

  In early 1839, Portuguese slave traders captured dozens of native Mende Africans from the territory of modern-day Sierra Leone — technically, in violation of several international treaties — and sold them to two Spaniards in the slave markets of Havana, Cuba.  On July 1, while en route to nearby plantations aboard the Spaniards’ schooner…

June 24: Scandal-Plagued Minister Henry Ward Beecher Born in Litchfield

  Henry Ward Beecher, one of the most famous and influential preachers and speakers of 19th century America, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut on this day in 1813.  Henry was one of many literary giants of the extended Beecher family: his father Lyman was also a notable preacher; his sister Harriet found international fame as…