William Wells Brown

William Wells Brown (HM1L8C)

Location: Buffalo, NY 14202 Erie County
Country: United States of America

N 42° 52.647', W 78° 52.763'

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Anti-Slavery Activist and Writer

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 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.
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HM NumberHM1L8C
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Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, June 20th, 2015 at 6:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17T E 673194 N 4749387
Decimal Degrees42.87745000, -78.87938333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 42° 52.647', W 78° 52.763'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds42° 52' 38.82" N, 78° 52' 45.78" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)716
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 3-7 Marine Dr, Buffalo NY 14202, US
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