Black History and Women Timeline 1700-1799

African American History and Women Timeline

Phillis Wheatley, from an illustration by Scipio Moorhead
Phillis Wheatley, from an illustration by Scipio Moorhead on the front page of her book of poems (colorized later). Culture Club/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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Women and African American History: 1700-1799

1702

New York passed a law prohibiting public gatherings by three or more enslaved Africans, prohibiting testimony in court by enslaved Africans against white colonists, and prohibiting trade with enslaved Africans.

1705

Virginia Slave Codes of 1705 were enacted by the House of Burgesses in the Colony of Virginia.  These laws more clearly delineated differences in rights for indentured servants (from Europe) and slaves of color.

 The latter included enslaved Africans and Native Americans sold to colonists by other Native Americans.  The codes specifically legalized the trade in enslaved people and established rights of ownership as property rights.  The codes also prohibited the Africans, even if free, from striking white people or owning any weapons.  Many historians agree that this was a response to events, including Bacon's Rebellion, where white and black servants had united.

1711

A Pennsylvania law outlawing slavery was overturned by Britain's Queen Anne.

New York City opened a public slave market on Wall Street.

1712

New York responded to a slave revolt that year by passing legislation targeting black and Native Americans.  The legislation authorized punishment by slave owners and authorized the death penalty for enslaved Africans convicted of murder, rape, arson or assault.  Freeing those enslaved was made more difficult by requiring a significant payment to the government and an annuity to the one freed.

 

1721

The colony of South Carolina limited the right of voting to free white Christian men.

1725

Pennsylvania passed An Act for the Better Regulating of Negroes in this Province, providing more property rights to owners, limiting contact and freedom of "Free Negroes and Mulattoes," and requiring a payment to the government if a slave were freed.

1735

South Carolina laws required freed slaves to leave the colony within three months or return to enslavement.

1738

Fugitive slaves establish a permanent settlement at Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, Florida.

1739

A few white citizens in Georgia petition the governor to end bringing Africans to the colony, calling enslavement a moral wrong.

1741

After trials for conspiracy to burn down New York City, 13 African American men were burned at the stake, 17 African American men were hanged, and two white men and two white women were hanged. 

South Carolina passed more restrictive slave laws, permitting the killing of rebellious slaves by their owners, banning the teaching of reading and writing to enslaved people and prohibiting enslaved people from earning money or gathering in groups.

1746

Lucy Terry wrote "Bar's Fight," the first known poem by an African American. It was not published until after Phillis Wheatley's poems were, passed down orally until 1855.  The poem was about an Indian raid on Terry's Massachusetts town.

1753 or 1754

Phillis Wheatley born (enslaved African, poet, first published African American writer).

1762

Virginia's new voting law specifies that only white men may vote.

1773

Phillis Wheatley's book of poems, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, was published in Boston and then in England, making her the first published African American writer, and the second book by a woman to be published in the land which was about to become the United States.

1777

Vermont, establishing itself as a free republic, outlawed slavery in its constitution, allowing indentured servitude "bound by their own consent."  It's this provision that grounds the claim of Vermont to be the first state in the United States to outlaw slavery.

1780 - 1781

Massachusetts, the first New England colony to legally establish slave ownership, found in a series of court cases that slavery was "effectively abolished"  African American men (but not women) had the right to vote. Freedom came, in fact, more slowly, including some enslaved Africans becoming indentured.

By 1790, the federal census showed no slaves in Massachusetts.

1784

• (December 5) Phillis Wheatley died (poet, enslaved African; first published African American writer)

1787

Thomas Jefferson's daughter, Mary, joins him in Paris, with Sally Hemings, likely his wife's enslaved half-sister,  accompanying Mary to Paris

1791

Vermont was admitted to the Union as a state, preserving a slavery ban in its constitution.

1792

Sarah Moore Grimke born (abolitionist, women's rights proponent)

1793

(January 3) Lucretia Mott born (Quaker abolitionist and women's rights advocate)

about 1797

Sojourner Truth (Isabella Van Wagener) born an enslaved African (abolitionist, women's rights proponent, minister, lecturer)

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