Known as the Mother of “Civil Rights” in California, Mary Ellen Pleasant used her identity to an advantage during the times of slavery.
Due to her fair complexion, she was legally identified herself as “white” so she could remain safe from slavery once she arrived in California.
All slave codes made slavery a permanent condition, inherited through the mother, and defined slaves as property, usually in the same terms as those applied to real estate.
Slaves, being property, could not own property or be a party to a contract.
Upon the arrival to California, Pleasant legally changed her race to black and emerged from behind the scenes.
Mary Ellen sued the North Beach and MIssion Railroad Company in San Francisco for refusing to allow black folks on the trolley cars(she won this case along with many others. What most find fascinating about Mary Ellen Pleasant’s story is the not only the fact that she has gone unrecognized, but she continues to remain hidden from our history books.
In 1831, a slave rebellion was led by Nat Turner in Southampton County, Va.
During the insurrection, several people were killed at the site of the Whitehead house, the remnants of which are seen here. (Matt Mc Clain/The Washington Post) In teaching the history of American slavery accurately, it is essential to teach about African Americans’ resistance to slavery.
“Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty,” a man by the name of Plato once spoke.
Slavery is a topic commonly spoken about through the years of school, however, though commonly reviewed, we still manage to learn something new about the topic every year.