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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lexington in Fayette County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
 

From Enslaved to the Presidency / From Slavery to Liberation

1871

 

Downtown African-American Heritage Trail

 
From Enslaved to the Presidency Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 14, 2019
1. From Enslaved to the Presidency Marker
Inscription.  
From Enslaved to the Presidency

Finding Freedom in Africa

This site was originally part of the Glendower Estate, where Alfred Francis Russell was born enslaved in 1817. From these humble beginnings, he rose to become president of Liberia.

Russell lived enslaved with his mother, Milly Crawford, at Glendower until they were freed in 1833 by their owner, Mary Todd Russell Wickliffe—who they called Mrs. Polly. Her son from a previous marriage, John Russell, is believed to have fathered Alfred.

A hazardous journey
Through Mrs. Polly's gifts to the American Colonization Society, Russell and his mother migrated to Africa's west coast when he was 15. About a fourth of the 200 colonists died during the voyage.

From Slavery to Liberation

Alfred Russell Prospered Under Difficult Conditions
After leaving the Glendower Estate located here, Russell endured diseases and a scarcity of food in Liberia. By age 17, he walked with a crutch because of complications from a fever.

Nonetheless, the Lexington

From Slavery to Liberation Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 14, 2019
2. From Slavery to Liberation Marker
native was a success in the foreign land, becoming a teacher, Episcopalian minister, and sugar cane and coffee farmer.

Active in Liberian politics
In 1881, Russell ran for vice president with Anthony W. Gardiner, who won the presidency for a third term. When health issues forced Gardiner to resign, Russell served as president of Liberia in 1883 and 1884.

While moving to Liberia had "almost cost us death seeking life," Russell once wrote, he was proud to be among those "who chose Africa and became seekers of Liberty."
 
Erected 2018 by Together Lexington. (Marker Number 10.)
 
Location. 38° 3.228′ N, 84° 30.031′ W. Marker is in Lexington, Kentucky, in Fayette County. Marker is at the intersection of West Second Street and Jefferson Street, on the right when traveling west on West Second Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 191 Jefferson Street, Lexington KY 40508, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Thomas Satterwhite Noble (approx. 0.2 miles away); Breckinridge's Last Home (approx. 0.2 miles away); Mary Todd Lincoln House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Vertner Woodson Tandy (approx. 0.2 miles away); Mary Todd Lincoln (approx. mile away); Todd House

View of marker looking East on Jefferson Street. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 14, 2019
3. View of marker looking East on Jefferson Street.
(approx. mile away); Pioneer Burying Ground (approx. mile away); St. Paul Catholic Church (approx. mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington.
 
Regarding From Enslaved to the Presidency / From Slavery to Liberation.

Jim Crow (1865-1950s)
Legal and financial networks during this time refused to serve or protect African-Americans. They were spatially segregated in housing options, transportation systems, and public spaces, and deprived of quality education, healthcare, and employment.

Those who challenged these systems were met with violence, but threats did not prevent resistance. Many did not accept these practices and used activities in their daily lives to shape their own identities. Lexington was home to a range of vocal activists, philanthropists, and successful entrepreneurs that did not let oppression define them.
 
Also see . . .  Downtown African-American Heritage Trail website about marker. (Submitted on July 29, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. African AmericansAgricultureChurches & ReligionIndustry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers
 
The view west on Second Street. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 14, 2019
4. The view west on Second Street.
 

More. Search the internet for From Enslaved to the Presidency / From Slavery to Liberation.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 19, 2019. This page originally submitted on July 29, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 46 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 29, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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