Mary Mildred Botts Williams (1847–1921) was a light-skinned Black child born into enslavement in Virginia. She became identified in the popular imagination with the character Ida May, the fictional kidnapped white child in Mary Hayden Pike’s novel, Ida May: A Story of Things Actual and Possible (1854). Mary was used as an example of a “white slave” in the years before the Civil War. [Read more…] about Slavery & Race: Mary Mildred Botts Williams, 1847–1921
In the early 1750s, the French were establishing trading posts and building forts along western the frontiers of the British colonies. In the fall of 1753, in part to protect his own land claims, Virginia Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie had sent 22-year-old George Washington (then a militia leader and surveyor) to deliver a letter to Fort Le Boeuf at what is today Waterford in northwest Pennsylvania, demanding they stop.
When Washington returned without success, Dinwiddie sent a small force to build Fort Prince George at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers (today Pittsburgh). Soon a larger French force arrived, torn down the small British fort, and began and built Fort Duquesne, named for then Governor-General of New France, Marquis Duquesne. [Read more…] about The French and Indian War: A New York Perspective
Arlington National Cemetery (Arlington) is removing its Confederate Memorial, as mandated by the Congress’s authorizing the Naming Commission to rename and/or remove Department of Defense assets that commemorate the Confederate States of America (CSA) or any person who voluntarily served with the CSA against the United States. [Read more…] about Arlington National Cemetery Removing Confederate Memorial
In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World, Misha Ewen, a Lecturer in early modern history at the University of Bristol and author of The Virginia Venture: American Colonization and English Society, 1580-1660 (University of Penn Press, 2022), joins host Liz Covart to discuss the early history of the Virginia Company and its early investors. [Read more…] about The Virginia Venture: Colonization and English Society, 1580-1660
Information about the 1836 kidnapping of Peter John Lee was related in a recent article on the New York Almanack, “NY-CT Border Disputes & The Kidnapping of Freedom-Seeker Peter John Lee.”
Lee, an African American, was lured out of Connecticut, where he resided, to Rye in Westchester County, New York. Additional aspects of this incident can be gleaned from historical documents. [Read more…] about Documents Reveal More About Peter John Lee Kidnapping Case
The first direct shipment of enslaved Africans arrived in New Amsterdam (now New York City) in 1655. The voyage of the White Horse came in the wake of significant changes in the Dutch Atlantic. In this eessay, American historian Dennis Maika outlines how family and business connections shaped the development of a slave-trading center in Manhattan.
New Amsterdam’s residents would have immediately noticed something different about the arrival of the Witte Paert (White Horse) in the early summer of 1655. The stench of human excrement and illness emanating from the newly arrived “scheepgen” (small ship), left little doubt that a slaver had arrived after a long voyage. [Read more…] about The First Slave Traders in New York
Last week Thomas Webster, a 20-year veteran of the NYPD, was sentenced to the stiffest sentence so far – 10 years – for his actions while attacking the U.S. Capitol on January 6th in an effort to keep Donald Trump in power. In the effort to identify the insurrectionists, Webster was given the name “eye-gouger” for his attempt to gouge the eyes of a Washington D.C. police officer.
It’s a long American tradition. Eye gouging, not insurrection. [Read more…] about Rough And Tumble: A Short History of Eye Gouging
William Shirley was the Royal Governor of Massachusetts, appointed by the King of England. Shirley had been a British official in England serving on negotiating committees with French officials determining boundaries. This had led Shirley to a thorough dislike of the French.
He was very aggressive and had been a stalwart advocate of invading Canada and driving the French out of North America. Shirley had written a strong criticism of the New York Congress for its resistance to an invasion of Canada in 1748. He was upset when New Jersey and Rhode Island refused to cooperate in the invasion because they were not threatened. [Read more…] about The Albany Congress of 1754: Native People, Colonists & the Monarchy
Christian Koot is a Professor of History at Towson University and the author of A Biography of a Map in Motion: Augustine Herrman’s Chesapeake (NYU Press, 2017). Christian has researched and written two books about the seventeenth-century Anglo-Dutch World go better understand empires and how they are made. He joins us in this episode of Ben Franklin’s World to take us through his research and to share what one specific map, Augustine Herrman’s 1673 map Virginia and Maryland, reveals about empire and empire making. [Read more…] about Mapping Empire in the Chesapeake
2019 marks the 400th anniversary of two important events in American history: The creation of the first representative assembly in English North America and the arrival of the first African people in English North America.
Why were these Virginia-based events significant and how have they impacted American history?
In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World, Cassandra Newby-Alexander, a scholar of African American and American History and the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Norfolk State University, helps us find answers. [Read more…] about Virginia In 1619 (Ben Franklin’s World Podcast)