- NAME: Henry Highland Garnet
- OCCUPATION: Activist, Political Leader, Minister
- BIRTH DATE: c. December 23, 1815
- DEATH DATE: c. February 13, 1882
- Did You Know?: Henry Highland Garnet became the first black speaker to address Congress in 1865.
- EDUCATION: African Free School, Oneida Institute
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Kent County, Maryland
- PLACE OF DEATH: Liberia
Best Known For
Henry Highland Garnet was an African-American best known as an abolitionist whose "Call to Rebellion" speech in 1843 encouraged slaves to rebel against their owners.
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He continued to work to end slavery, but his influence within the abolitionist movement had been somewhat diminished because his more radical views.
During the Civil War, he found himself the target of public anger over the issue of slavery. A mob of people sought to attack Garnet during the 1863 draft riots in New York City. They crowded in his street, but they were unable to locate him and his family.
The following year, Garnet moved to Washington, D.C., to serve as pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church there. On February 12, 1865, while in Washington, Garnet made history when he was chosen by President Abraham Lincoln to speak to the House of Representatives—making him the first black speaker to address Congress.
Fulfilling a longtime dream, Garnet traveled to Africa in 1881. He was appointed to a government post in Liberia. Unfortunately, his time in the African nation was short. Garnet died in February 1882, only a few months after his arrival.
His words may be Garnet's lasting legacy. It is believed that Garnet's "Call to Rebellion" helped inspire others in the abolitionist movement to take action, including John Brown who led the 1859 attack on the arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia).
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