This Week In Black History 7-24-13

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Alexandre Dumas fils headshot 1864-Photo-BW-Resized

 

ALEXANDRE DUMAS

For the week of July 24-30

July 24

1651Anthony (or Antonio) Johnson, a free Black man who had purchased freedom for himself and his wife, is awarded 250 acres of land in North Hampton, Va. Johnson was among the first group of 20 Black indentured servants brought to America in 1619. Indentured servitude was a form of slavery which allowed the person to either work for or purchase his freedom. After becoming free, Johnson became the first wealthy Black person in America. He even purchased five indentured servants of his own. He probably picked up the name “Johnson” from his original owner but in official records from the period he is simply referred to as “Antonio the Negro.”

1802—Famed French writer Alexandre Dumas is born. He was the product of a French general and a light-complexioned Black Haitian woman. Dumas would go on to become one of the world’s greatest and most prolific writers. He is best known for his classics such as “The Three Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Cristo.” His blackness caused him some problems in French society, but by and large his fame and the money from his books enabled him to live an extravagant lifestyle.

1904—This is the day it is believed that actor Ira Aldridge was born in Africa. He would come to America, learn English and German, and develop into one of the world’s most accomplished Shakespearean actors. He played the role of the Moor Othello on many occasions.

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