Henry Bibb: Escaped Slave Who Established the First Black Newspaper in Canada

0 Posted by - June 9, 2022 - BLACK MEN, LATEST POSTS, SLAVERY

Henry Walton Bibb was an American author and abolitionist who was born a slave. Bibb was born in Cantalonia, Kentucky on May 10, 1815. He escaped from to Canada, and later founded the first abolitionist newspaper in Canada, The Voice of the Fugitive. Bibb was born to a slave woman, Mildred Jackson. His father was a white man, James Bibb, and a state senator, but Henry did not know him.  During Bibb’s life time he saw six of his siblings sold to slaveholders. Bibb had a strong desire to learn to read. He later wrote in his autobiography that, “Slaves were not allowed books, pen, ink, nor paper, to improve their minds. There was a Miss Davis, a poor white girl, who offered to teach a Sabbath School for the slaves. Books were supplied and she started the school; but the news got to owners that she was teaching slaves to read. This caused quite an excitement in the neighborhood. Patrols were appointed to go and break it up the next Sabbath.”

Bibb later married a mulatto slave, and they had a daughter, but later his wife was sold away as a mistress to a white planter. After learning his wife had been sold away, Bibb focused his life as an abolitionist. During this period, Bibb led the campaign to persuade fugitive slaves and free African Americans to settle in Canada. He traveled and lectured throughout the United States. In 1849-50 he published his autobiography “Narrative of the Life” and ““, which was wrote by Bibbs. He became one of the best known slave narratives of the antebellum years. The passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 increased the danger to Bibb and his second wife Mary E. Miles, of Boston. It required Northerners to cooperate in the capture of escaped slaves. To stay safe Bibb and his wife migrated and settled in Sandwich, Upper Canada which is now Windsor. Bibb was able to reunite with 3 of his brothers who also escaped from slavery to Canada. He died at the age of 39.





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