North from Mexico: The First Black Settlers in the U.S. West

The first Black settlers in what is now the western United States were Spanish speakers who came north from what is now central Mexico. Their roots there began in 1519, when Black men were among the Spanish conquistadores who invaded and destroyed the Aztec Empire, … Read MoreNorth from Mexico: The First Black Settlers in the U.S. West

The Founding of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society (1775)

In the mid 1600’s, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was a busting port for enslaved Africans. The city was also a place where the abolition movement saw its beginnings. The first document drafted in support of giving enslaved Africans their freedom was created in 1688 by four German … Read MoreThe Founding of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society (1775)

South Carolina’s Black Majority (1708-1920)

By 1708 South Carolina became the first British North American colony to have an African American majority. The first Africans to arrive in South Carolina likely came in 1526 as part of the San Miguel de Gualdape Colony organized and sponsored by Spain. When the … Read MoreSouth Carolina’s Black Majority (1708-1920)

Wladyslaw Franciszek Jablonowski (1769-1802)

The astonishing appearance of a high-ranking Black military officer in late 18th century Poland who led troops across Europe and in the Caribbean is further evidence of the breadth of the African diaspora. The product of an illicit affair in Paris between British-born Princess Maria … Read MoreWladyslaw Franciszek Jablonowski (1769-1802)

William Lee (aka Billy Lee/ Will Lee) (1752?-1810)

The mulatto slave William Lee appears together with his owner, U.S. President George Washington, in two and quite possibly three paintings, including the iconic Washington Crossing the Delaware by the artist Emanuel Leutze, where he is seen third from left in the boat where Washington … Read MoreWilliam Lee (aka Billy Lee/ Will Lee) (1752?-1810)