Henry Highland Garnet
@ National Portrait Gallery
DescriptionClergyman Henry Highland Garnet was well acquainted with the evils of America's "peculiar institution." Born in slavery in Maryland, he escaped from bondage in 1824 and later served as a conductor on the Underground Railroad in Troy, New York. Like many abolitionists, Garnet first hoped that moral persuasion could turn public opinion against slavery, but in 1840 he abandoned this approach in favor of political action. His stance became still more militant in 1843, when he delivered an impassioned speech at the National Convention of Colored Citizens in Buffalo, New York. In his "Address to the Slaves of the United States of America," Garnet exhorted those in bondage to rise in insurrection against their enslavers. "Strike for your lives and liberties," he proclaimed. "Rather die freemen than live to be slaves. . . . Let your motto be resistance! Resistance! RESISTANCE!
Albumen Silver Print
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution