Sunday, February 15, 2015

Famous Black Firsts: Williams Wells Brown

Williams Wells Brown who was born in 1814 was the first Black man to have novel published titled Clotel. In Montgomery, Kentucky he was born a slave to a mother that was also a slave. If you are wondering why his hair is so slick, its because he and his six brothers and sisters were fathered by the cousin of their master. He and his mother were sold to other owners despite his master and cousin making a deal not to. He was sold multiple times before he was 20 years old. He and his mother escaped slavery two times, the second time being successful. At the age of 20 he met his wife and had two daughters. In 1849 he left for England while estranged from his wife who passed away. That same year he was chosen as the representative of the US at the International Peace Congress in Paris. 

After his freedom was bought in 1854 he and his daughters were able to return to the US. A side note: his daughter Josephine Brown is arguably the first Black female to have a book published. While in the US Brown settled in Buffalo, New York. There he helped slaves escape by hiding them on steamboats which he worked on in his youth as a slave. The number the estimate from Brown alone is 69 which sounds kind of low, but not when you think of how many hundreds or thousands of us are alive today or in the past because of him.

Click here for previous Famous Black Firsts.  

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