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Buffalo in Erie County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

William Wells Brown

Anti-Slavery Activist and Writer

 
 
William Wells Brown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, June 3, 2015
1. William Wells Brown Marker
Inscription. William Wells Brown, an escaped slave from Kentucy, earned his living as a cook on lake freighters in the early days of the Erie Canal. In 1836, he moved his family to Buffalo, and soon became involved with the city's African-American community. Always attentive to the anti-slavery movement, Brown soon discovered his oratory skills and began to lecture frequently. His prominence grew during an 1843 convention of anti-slavery activists that included Frederick Douglass, Charles Redmond and William Lloyd Garrison. Brown proceeded to travel widely as a popular speaker, and eventually resettled in Boston.

Brown later penned a popular autobiography, and is widely considered to be the first African-American novelist, through The Narrative of William G. Brown, a Fugitive Slave (1842) was first published in Europe. He is also acknowledged as the first African-American playwright, having penned The Experience (1856) and The Escape (1858).

The author and his mother arrested and carried back into slavery. Brown and his mother captured after attempting to escape from slavery. Illustration from The Narrative of William W. Brown (1842), his autobiography. Used with permission of Documenting the American South, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries.

Michigan Street Baptist
View Towards South End of Pearl Street image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, June 3, 2015
2. View Towards South End of Pearl Street
From the top: One Seneca Tower, The Skyway (NY 5), end or Pearl Street at Marine Drive, the Commercial Slip.
Church. Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.

Path of Freedom.
The Underground Railroad was an informal organization of white and black abolitionists, enslaved African-Americans, Native Americans, and members of various religious groups including Quakers, Methodists, and Baptists. Buffalo, lying on the Canadian border, was a magnet for escaped slaves and free blacks alike. While thousands continued onward, others remained in Buffalo, seeking a living in the city's rough and tumble industries, particularly along the waterways.

Buffalo's black population, although proportionally small, grew into an industrial, lively community, many of whom were committed to the abolitionist cause. Michigan Street Baptist Church was not only a legendary station on the Underground Railroad, it was also an important meeting place for 19th century abolitionists and reformers, and remained central to the city's African-American community for more than a century.
 
Location. 42° 52.647′ N, 78° 52.763′ W. Marker is in Buffalo, New York, in Erie County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Marine Drive and Pearl Street. Touch for map. Marker is at the northeast corner of a pedestrian bridge over the Commercial Slip. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1 Naval Park Cove, Buffalo NY 14202, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Northward image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, June 3, 2015
3. Northward
The skyscrper above the marker in the distance is Buffalo City Hall.
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wedding of the Waters (here, next to this marker); Harboring Hopes (within shouting distance of this marker); Rebirth & Renewal (within shouting distance of this marker); God Honor and Country (within shouting distance of this marker); In Recognition of Long and Faithful Service (within shouting distance of this marker); 106th Field Artillery Regiment (within shouting distance of this marker); Buffalo Cavalry Association (within shouting distance of this marker); Dedicated to the Men of the 102nd Separate Battalion Coast Artillery Anti-Aircraft (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Buffalo.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Other William Wells Brown marker and Michigan Street Baptist Church markers.
 
Also see . . .  William Wells Brown - Wikipedia. (Submitted on June 20, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansWaterways & Vessels
 
Southward image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, June 3, 2015
4. Southward
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 20, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 219 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 20, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.
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