“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charles Town in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)

Martin Robison Delany

Martin Robison Delany Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 15, 2019
1. Martin Robison Delany Marker
Inscription.  Martin Robison Delany was born in Charlestown, Virginia (now Charles Town, West Virginia) on May 6, 1812. His mother, Patti Peace was a free black woman. She married an enslaved man from Berkeley County named Samuel Delany. They had five children and Martin was the youngest.

During that time there was a law in Virginia that prohibited blacks from learning to read and write. Patti Delany broke the law by trading some material that she had to a peddler for a book. The name of the book was The New York Primer and Spelling Book. She used that book to teach her children to read and write. For fear of being arrested and having her children taken away from her, Patti Delany left Charles Town in 1823 and moved to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Samuel Delany later purchased his freedom and joined his family in Chambersburg.

Martin Robison Delany went on to become, among other things, a medical doctor, editor, author, and explorer. During the Civil War, Delany met with President Abraham Lincoln. Delany told President Lincoln of his plan to recruit black troops commanded by black officers to go south and fight. President Lincoln accepted
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this plan and sent a note to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton advising Stanton to meet with Delany.

"Do not fail to have an interview with this most extraordinary and intelligent black man."
A. Lincoln

As a result of the meeting with Lincoln and Stanton, Delany received a commission as a major in the United States Colored Troops, making him at the time the highest-ranking black officer.

Following his military service Delany returned to his home in Wilberforce, Ohio where he resumed his medical practice. Doctor and Major Martin Robison Delany died in Wilberforce, Ohio on January 24, 1885.

"I thank God for making me a man, but Delany always thanks Him for making him a black man."
Frederick Douglass

"His was a magnificent life, yet how many of us have heard of him?"
Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois

Erected by City of Charles Town, West Virginia.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansEducationScience & MedicineWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln series list. A significant historical date for this entry is January 24, 1885.
Location. 39° 17.339′ N, 77° 
Martin Robison Delany Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 15, 2019
2. Martin Robison Delany Marker
51.776′ W. Marker is in Charles Town, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker is at the intersection of West Liberty Street and North Lawrence Street, on the right when traveling east on West Liberty Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 208 North Lawrence Street, Charles Town WV 25414, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Office of Charles Washington (a few steps from this marker); John Thomas Marker (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); Charles Town Schools (about 800 feet away); Old Stone House / Star Lodge No. 1 (about 800 feet away); A Brief History of the Old Presbyterian Church in Charles Town (about 800 feet away); Charles Washington Hall (approx. 0.2 miles away); New Central Restaurant (approx. 0.2 miles away); Williams House (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charles Town.
Additional keywords. USCT
Credits. This page was last revised on April 18, 2019. It was originally submitted on April 18, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 333 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 18, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Apr. 12, 2024