The birth of physician, colonizationist, and union army officer Martin R. Delany.
1812 (May 6)
Born in Virginia, Martin R. Delany was educated in the African free school of New York City, the Canaan Academy in New Hampshire, the Oneida Institute in upper New York, and the Harvard University Medical School, where he received his medical degree in 1852. Delany attempted to practice medicine in Pittsburgh, but prejudice and poor profits drove him into other areas. He became a member of the British Association for the promotion of social science and published two books, The condition, elevation, emigration and destiny of the colored people of the United States (1852) and principle of ethnology (1879). In 1843, Delany published a newspaper "Mystery," and joined Frederick Douglass in the publication of The North Star in 1847. He was also a leader of the National Convention Movement of Black Americans. Following the passage of the compromise of 1850, with its new fugitive slave Act, Delany became convinced that the United States was too inhospitable for people of African descent and turned his attention to colonization. He helped organize an expedition to Nigeria in 1858, negotiated treaties with eight African chiefs who granted lands for prospective Black American settlers, and began plans for the expanded production and exportation of cotton in the region. During the civil war, Delany was a medical officer with the rank of major in the 104th union regiment in South Carolina. He settled in Charleston after the war, working with the Freedmen's Bureau, and later served as a justice of the peace there. He was defeated in a bid for lieutenant governor of South Carolina in 1874. Delany died in 1885.