Henry Highland Garnet, circa December 23, — d. Your brethren of the North, East, and West have been accustomed to meet together in National Conventions, to sympathize with each other, and to weep over your unhappy condition. In these meetings we have addressed all classes of the free, but we have never, until this time, sent a word of consolation and advice to you.
Prior to Garnet, the prevailing strategy adopted by black abolitionists had been to oppose slavery by appealing to Christian morality and to conduct that opposition largely within the bounds of law: Garnet had known slavery.
Born inon the Maryland estate of Colonel William Spencer, he escaped with his father, the son of a Mandingo chieftain, when he was nine years old. Garnet attended the New York African Free School on Mulberry Street, a school of some three hundred black students, between and But education did not bring Free School students better jobs in New York, so in Garnet went to sea as a cabin boy, making at least two voyages to Cuba.
He bought a large knife, which he wore openly, and stalked up Broadway, looking for the men who had invaded his home.
Fearing for his safety, friends persuaded him to go to Long Island, where he remained for a few years, working and studying. During that period, Garnet suffered a knee injury which left him permanently crippled and eventually required the amputation of his leg.
Hobbled, dependent on a crutch, he turned his attention fully to study. For the next several years, Garnet attended school in New York, went briefly to a school in Canaan, New Hampshire, where he and other black students were driven out of town by angry citizens, and finally to the Oneida Institute in upstate New York.
Following his graduation inGarnet married, taught school, and began to study theology. Inthe year of his ordination as a Presbyterian minister, Garnet attended the Negro national convention in Buffalo. Although Garnet was by this time well known in abolitionist circles, this was his first direct encounter with Frederick Douglass, and the meeting marked the beginning of a rivalry which persisted until the s.
Thus, it was their Christian obligation to resist, and resist violently if necessary: But inGarnet removed himself from the American scene, going to Germany and Britain to lecture, and finally to Jamaica as a Presbyterian missionary. ByGarnet and Douglass were united in recruiting Negro troops for the Union Army, and they later joined in efforts to raise funds for Mary Todd Lincoln.
In February,when Congress enacted the bill which became the Thirteenth Amendment, President Lincoln invited Garnet to deliver a sermon in the House of Representatives. He was the first of his race to speak before that body, the first black to enter the House except as a servant. For the next several years, he continued to lecture on economic subjects and on civil rights, and inhaving been appointed Minister Resident and Consul General, he traveled to Liberia, where he died.
Throughout his life, Garnet was drawn to ideas which were received with suspicion by centrist abolitionists. Before Frederick Douglass founded the North Star, Garnet had recommended establishment of a national printing press. His support of voluntary emigration, which was vehemently opposed by the Garrisonians, arose from his interest in opposing slavery both in the United States and abroad.
He argued that the Christian Church, through its silence, had supported the institution of slavery. His intellectual independence set him apart from others equally dedicated to his cause, and his passion sometimes frightened even those who agreed with him in principle, but he broadened and deepened the debate over slavery, and he deserves to be better remembered as a genuinely radical black voice for abolition.Henry Highland Garnet, Address to the Slaves of the United States () Elizabeth Margaret Chandler, Tea-Table Talk () William Lloyd Garrison, Declaration of Sentiments of the American Anti-Slavery Society ().
In Buffalo, New York, Henry Highland Garnet gave his famous "An Address to the Slaves of the United States." He called for the slaves of the South to refuse to work, to approach their masters and demand their freedom, and to .
Twenty-seven year old Henry Highland Garnet, a newspaper editor and pastor of a Presbyterian Church in Troy, New York, however captured most of the attention of the delegates with his “An Address to the Slaves of the United States” in which he called for their open rebellion.
Published in Henry Highland Garnet, Walker’s Appeal, with a Brief Sketch of His Life.
See also Garnet’s Address to the Slaves of the United States of America. New-York, Printed by J. H. Tobitt, , pages 89– Prior to the twentieth century, [black civil-rights] leaders such as Prince Hall, Martin Delany, Edward Wilmot Blyden, and Henry Highland Garnet advocated . Henry Highland Garnet exerted powerful rhetorical strategies to the abolition and Civil Rights Movements during the nineteenth century.
His spiritual and loyal appeals complimented rigorous and sometimes conflicting principles as seen in his “An Address to the Slaves of the United States Of America.