Born in Jamaica, Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) became a leader in the black nationalist movement by applying the economic ideas of Pan-Africanists to the immense resources available in urban centers. After arriving in New York in 1916, he founded the Negro World newspaper, an international shipping company called Black Star Line and the Negro Factories Corporation. During the 1920s, his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) was the largest secular organization in African-American history. Indicted for mail fraud by the U.S. Justice Department in 1923, he spent two years in prison before being deported to Jamaica, and later died in London. Read More »
Nat Turner is widely regarded as one of the most complex figures in American history and American literature. October marks the anniversary both of his birth and of his arrest as the leader of one of the United States’ most famous slave rebellions.
Nat Turner was born October 2, 1800 on a plantation in Southampton County, Virginia. Turner was deeply committed to his Christian faith and believed he received messages from God through visions and signs in nature. When he was in his early 20s, these signs led him to return to his master after an escape attempt. Similarly, a solar eclipse and an unusual atmospheric event are believed to have inspired his insurrection, which began on August 21, 1831. Read More »
Emmett Louis Till (July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955) was an African-American boy who was murdered in Mississippi at the age of 14 after reportedly flirting with a white woman. Till was from Chicago, Illinois, visiting his relatives in Money, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta region, when he spoke to 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, the married proprietor of a small grocery store there. Several nights later, Bryant’s husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam went to Till’s great-uncle’s house. They took the boy away to a barn, where they beat him and gouged out one of his eyes, before shooting him through the head and disposing of his body in the Tallahatchie River, weighting it with a 70-pound (32 kg) cotton gin fan tied around his neck with barbed wire. Three days later, Till’s body was discovered and retrieved from the river.
Gaspar Yanga—often simply Yanga or Nyanga—was a leader of a slave rebellion in Mexico during the early period of Spanish colonial rule. Said to be of the Bran people and member of the royal family of Gabon, Yanga came to be the head of a band of revolting slaves near Veracruz around 1570. Escaping to the difficult terrain of the highlands, he and his people built a small maroon colony, or palenque. For more than 30 years it grew, partially surviving by capturing caravans bringing goods to Veracruz. However, in 1609 the Spanish colonial government decided to undertake a campaign itself to regain control of the territory. Read More »