Civil War Era Maconites of African Ancestry
Location of Ellen Smith Craft's Dwelling behind Home of Dr. Robert & Eliza Smith Collins
Macon gained world-wide notoriety with the escape of William (1824-1900) and Ellen Smith Craft (1826-1891) in 1848 a slave couple who eventually made their way to England to lobby for the abolition of slavery. Having a light complexion, Ellen successfully posed as a sickly male master traveling north accompanied by her servant (William).
Prior to the war, freedmen included Solomon Humphries (d. 1855), a cotton trader and merchant; Jeremiah Scarborough (d. 1883), a Central of Georgia Railroad foreman; and Rev. David Laney, carpenter and pastor of the “colored” Presbyterian Church, today known as Washington AvenuePresbyterian Church. Charley Benger (1795-1880) became fifer for the Macon Volunteers after his arrival in Macon in 1831, and was given a pension for his service. William Sanders Scarborough, son of Jeremiah (1852-1926) mentioned above, became an educator, author of Latin and Greek texts, and President of Wilberforce University. Scarborough recalls life in Macon as an adolescent before , during, and after the war in his autobiography, American Journey from Slavery to Scholarship.
After the war, Rep. Jefferson Franklin Long (1852-1926), former slave and master tailor, was the first American of African descent to be elected from Georgia to the U.S. Congress and the very first to speak from the floor.
Lucy Craft Laney (1854-1933), the daughter of Rev. Laney above, was a renowned educator and founder of the Haines Institute, a large school for children in Augusta, GA.
Rev. Henry McNeal Turner (1834-1915) was a freedman who traveled as a Methodist evangelist prior to the war. During the war, Turner volunteered and became the first American of African ancestry to be appointed a chaplain in the U.S. Army. After the war, he came to Macon to found AME churches and the Republican Party of Georgia. Turner was elected a state representative from Macon.
The children of area plantation owner Michael Healy and mulatto wife Mary Eliza were sent north to be educated before thewar. Patrick Healy (1830-1910) earned his PhD, attained priesthood, and became president of Georgetown University. James Healy (1834-1900) became the first American of African ancestry to be appointed a bishop in the U.S. Captain Michael Healy (1838-1904) served as a defacto representative of the U.S. along the 20,000-mile coastline of recently acquired Alaska. Eliza Healy (1846-1918) became the first American of African ancestry to become Mother Superior, administering both a woman’s school and a convent.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Education • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities series list.
Location. 32° 50.235′ N, 83° 37.538′ W. Marker is in Macon, Georgia, in Bibb County. Marker is on Mulberry St 0.1 miles from Spring Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 830 Mulberry St, Macon GA 31201, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. William Augustus Bootle (a few steps from this marker); Freemasonry in Macon (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Macon History (about 300 feet away); Wilson's Raid To Macon (about 400 feet away); The Lanier House (about 500 feet away); Jefferson Davis at the Lanier House (about 500 feet away); First Public Camellia Show (about 600 feet away); Christ Church (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Macon.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 10, 2016. It was originally submitted on November 9, 2016, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 262 times since then and 14 times this year. Photo 1. submitted on November 9, 2016, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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