Martin Robison Delany


Martin Robison Delany

Martin Robison Delany was an African American born on May 6, 1812 in (what was then) Virginia (today West VA).  His mother was a free woman and he followed her status under the slave law.  Delany had a very active life from a young age.  He learned to read and write, although people of black descent were forbidden to be educated at that time.  Due to his power of knowledge, Delany was accepted into medical school where he would have great success.  He treated patients during the cholera epidemics with bravery.  Not only was he a Physician, but Delany also found time to write and was involved in journalism as well.  When the American Civil War took place he served as  the first African American major in the Union Army.  In 1843 Delany met his future wife, Catherine A. Richards and proceeded to have eleven children.

Delany was generously known for being an anti-slavery activist.

"In 1854 he convened a National Emigration Convention of Colored Men in Cleveland; his address at the convention, 'Political Destiny', counseled African Americans to emigrate to Central or South American or to the caribbean"

Delany was known for inspiring fellow African Americans antislavery activists.  William Wells Brown, remembered for declaring in the Supreme Court that black's would never be citizens of the United States, advocated African American emigration to Haiti. 

Brown and Delany committed themselves to the Union because they viewed it as the cause of antislavery. 

Thomas Jefferson, as we all know, declared that "all men are created equal!" Delany, being a firm antislavery activist would most likely have agreed with Jefferson.  Jefferson wrote about "slavery as an evil" and "disapproved of slavery".  However, at this point it is very well proved that Jefferson is said to have contradicted himself by his belief that whites' are superior to blacks. 

Jefferson's lack of committment to his words surely angered Delany along with others.


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