Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave

Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave by Henry Bibb 153329917X 9781533299178
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Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave is a classic African American history and slave biography by Henry Bibb. Henry Walton Bibb (May 10, 1815 in Cantalonia, Kentucky - 1854) was an American author and abolitionist who was born a slave. After escaping from slavery to Canada, he founded an abolitionist newspaper, The Voice of the Fugitive. He returned to the US and lectured against slavery. Bibb was born to an enslaved woman, Milldred Jackson, on a Cantalonia, Kentucky, plantation on May 10, 1815. His people told him his white father was James Bibb, a Kentucky state senator, but Henry never knew him. As he was growing up, Bibb saw each of his six younger siblings, all boys, sold away to other slaveholders. As a young teenager, Henry Bibb was sold to a man in Newcastle, Kentucky, named Mr. Vires, whose wife treated Bibb poorly. Recalling the abuses he received in that household, Bibb says that the Vires cruelty inspired him with a desire to escape. He would run away for days at a time, and though they would beat him for it, he never gave up. Eventually they grew tired of his escapes and returned him to his original slaveholder, Mr. White. In 1833, at the age of eighteen, Henry Bibb was introduced to his future wife, Malinda, a slave who lived in Oldham County, Kentucky on a farm four miles from Bibb. At first he was reluctant to get romantically involved with her because he knew that such a relationship would impede his aspirations to freedom, but the more he spent time with her, the more he was distracted from his goals. Though everyone except for Malindas owner opposed their union, they entered into a common-law marriage since legally binding marriages were a privilege withheld from slaves by most slaveholders. After marrying Malinda, Bibb was moved from farm to farm until, because of fear that he would run away to see his wife, he was contracted to labor for the Malindas slaveholder. He quickly became disturbed at seeing the abuses that his wife was subjected to, and even more so once Malinda gave birth to their daughter, Mary Frances, who was likewise abused. In December of 1837, Bibb made another, more successful, bid for freedom. He left his wife and child without their knowledge and crossed the Ohio River into the free state of Indiana. From there he took a steamboat to Cincinnati, all the while hiding his identity from those onboard. In 1842, he managed to flee to Detroit, from where he hoped to gain the freedom of his wife and daughter.[1] After finding out that Malinda had been sold as a mistress to a white planter, Bibb focused on his career as an abolitionist. After his escape, Henry Bibb remarried a woman named Mary Miles and he traveled and lectured throughout the United States, becoming a well-known African-American activist. In 1849-50 he published his autobiography Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, An American Slave, Written by Himself, which 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 ensure their safety, the Bibbs migrated to Canada and settled in Sandwich, Upper Canada now Windsor, Ontario. In 1851, he set up the first black newspaper in Canada, The Voice of the Fugitive. The paper helped develop a more sympathetic climate for blacks in Canada as well as helped new arrivals to adjust. Due to his fame as an author, Bibb was reunited with three of his brothers, who separately had also escaped from slavery to Canada. In 1852 he published their accounts in his newspaper. He was also the founding director of a Canadian black colonization project, the Refugee Home Society. Henry Bibb died in 1854, at the young age of 39.

Author: Henry Bibb

Language: English

Binding: Paperback

Pages: 124

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publication Date: 2016-05-17


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