The Life of Ebenezer Black

24 Oct

Kaeli Hager

Mr. James Casey

English 110

24 October 2012


The Life of Ebenezer Black

Ebenezer Black was a major benefactor in the life of the slaves during the mid to late 1800s.  He was a man of true morals and worked extremely hard to be able to succeed. He had a wife, Jane, and was able to have five healthy children with her, including two older boys and three younger daughters. He had major involvement with various African American organizations, but spent most of his life time being involved in the Colored People of Philadelphia.  Ebenezer Black was also involved in the National Colored Conventions and in this organization where he was a delegate from Pennsylvania, although we do not know much more about what he did in the organization.  

Ebenezer was born in about 1806 in Philadelphia, most likely as a free slave.  He married his wife, Jane on October 25, 1834. Ebenezer had six children with Jane, one of which died when he was only an infant in August 1835, named Joseph Henry.  His eldest son, Henry was born in 1836, his second child, Charles, was born in 1843. His oldest daughter, Jane was born in 1848, followed by Maria, born in 1850, and Susan, born in 1852. He was very lucky to have all of his children enrolled in and complete school, which was extremely rare especially for his daughters because not many girls were able to go to school during those times.  He owned various real estates and owned quite a bit of personal property.  He was a wealthy man, although it is not stated how he made his money.  His son, Henry, served as Banneker Institute’s librarian, lectured on many science topics, and served on the Banneker Institute’s governing board for many years.  

Ebenezer lived on 14 Barclay Street in Philadelphia and was able to be actively involved in everything that was going on.  He enlisted into the Armies of the Union for African Americans, which was also known as the Federal Army during the Civil War.  He wanted to be involved in as much as he could that would help the African American society be equal.  He was the voted secretary in the organization Colored People of Philadelphia for the first time in 1838 and continued to stay involved in it and was eventually appointed Vice President of the organization in 1864.  

Ebenezer was an also an agent in the North Star which was an African American newspaper.    The North Star was an antislavery paper which was published by Fredrick Douglass until the mid 1800s.  Ebenezer Black was also mentioned multiple time in the newspaper known as The Liberator which was also an antislavery paper.  He continually fought for the rights of African Americans and became extremely successful doing so.

Although there is not much information regarding the personal life of Ebenezer Black, it may be concluded that because of his involvement in the antislavery organizations and the antislavery newspapers, that he was a major contributor to some of the proceedings leading up to the Civil War. It may also be concluded that because of his extreme wealth, he may have been a sponsor for many of these organizations and helped to provide funding. Records show that he signed a Civil War recruiting poster, which shows that he was a very important factor in antislavery army. Also, the poster was written by Fredrick Douglass who was the former publisher of the North Star.  If people saw that Ebenezer signed the document, then they thought he was important and powerful enough to follow in his footsteps. 

Although we do not know every detail about Ebenezer’s life and there are many holes in his history, it is known that this man’s life was extremely important to many people in the 1800s and he was willing to fight for his family and for the rights of others around him.  He was not afraid to fight the battle that so many needed to end and he was a major benefactor to the events leading up to and during the Civil War. He was a strong man that has made an astounding impact on the world today.





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