Henry Highland Garnet – Black History Weekly Wednesday 2015

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Henry Highland Garnet

Henry Highland Garnet was an African-American abolitionist born circa December 23, 1815 in Kent County, Maryland. Born being a slave, he and his loved ones escaped to New York when he was nine years of age. During the 1840’s and decades afterward Henry grew to become an abolitionist. His “Call to Rebellion” speech persuaded slaves to free themselves by simply rising up against owners. Seen as a radical, Henry became a controversial figure within the abolitionist movement. During 1881 he worked in a government post in Liberia, and several months later passed away in February 13, 1882.

Education and learning

Located in New York City, Garnet attended the African Free School. There he studied science and english, amongst various other subjects. Garnet in addition become experienced in navigation, and later invested some time working onboard ships. Returning after a voyage in 1829, Henry learned that his family members had been pursued by slave hunters. His mother and father got away, however , his sister was taken. Angered by this episode on his family, Garnet is said to have purchased a knife and walked the city streets looking for a confrontation with a slave hunter. His buddies swayed him to stop looking for vengeance and to hide out on Long Island.

In the 1830’s, Garnet continued his education at several institutions. He ultimately ended up with the Oneida Institute in Whitesboro, New York. Completing his studies in 1840, Garnet pursued a spiritual path. He became a Presbyterian minister and also served as the first pastor for the Liberty Street Negro Presbyterian Church in Troy, New York, starting in 1842.

Henry Highland Garnet's second pictures

"Call to Rebellion" Movement

A tireless activist in the struggle to get rid of slavery, Garnet worked with the likes of William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass. He was well-known for his expertise as an orator. In 1843, Garnet gave one of his most well-known messages, generally known as the "Call to Rebellion," during the National Negro Convention. Rather than attempt to sway whites to get rid of slavery, he prompted the slaves to acquire their independence on their own by mounting up against their owners. This was a radical strategy during the time, and together Douglass and Garrison opposed it. The convention declined to endorse Garnet’s speech after having a vote on the issue.

In 1850, Garnet went to England and Scotland where he spoke largely against the business of slavery. He likewise supported making it possible for blacks to emigrate additional lands, such as Liberia in Africa, a country made up mainly of liberated slaves. In 1852, Garnet visited Jamaica to serve as a missionary.

Soon after returning to the United States, Garnet became a pastor at the Shiloh Church in New York City. He went on to work to end slavery, but his persuasion within the abolitionist movement had been to some degree declined due to his increased radical views.

During the Civil War, he found himself the objective of public frustration on the issue of captivity. A mob of individuals wanted to attack Garnet during the 1863 draft riots in New York City. They swarmed in his street, nonetheless, were not able to find him or his family. The following year, Garnet relocated to Washington, D.C., to serve as pastor for the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church.

Satisfying a longtime dream, Garnet traveled to Africa in 1881, and have been
appointed to a government position in Liberia. Unfortunately, his time in the African nation was quite short. Garnet passed away in February 1882, only a few months following his arrival.

His words may be Garnet’s long lasting legacy. It is believed that Garnet’s "Call to Rebellion" made it easy to inspire others in the abolitionist movement to take action, including John Brown who directed the 1859 assault on the arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia).

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