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William Wells Brown

He was born in Lexington, Kentucky. He later died on 11-6-1884.
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Do you know the first African American to publish a play or novel? William Wells Brown is that person and he was born in 1814 in Lexington, Kentucky. He was the product of a white plantation owner and a slave woman named Elizabeth.
William Wells Brown was a slave for many years and he was hired out to be the captain of a St. Louis steamboat. He then started to work at a printing office and there he met Elijah P. Lovejoy who was an abolitionist. Later,-he started to work back on the steamboat and on New Year's Day 1834 he slipped away. Do you know where he ended up? A Quaker who aided him in his escape led him to Western New York.

In the summer of 1834 he met and married a free black woman Elizabeth Schooner. In 1836 he moved to Buffalo, New York where he began his inspiring career as an abolitionist by attending meetings of the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society. In the 1840's, William was a conductor of the Underground Railroad. In the summer of 1834 William Wells Brown helped 69 fugitive slaves escape to Canada. Among these slaves was a family in which a slave catcher came to recapture. Brown along with fifty armed African American men defended the slave family and told the slave catcher he couldn't take them. Via the Black Rock ferry, they took them to St. Catherines, Ontario where they were then freed.

William Wells Brown career hit a critical period when Buffalo hosted a national anti-slavery convention. He became friends with many abolitionists such a Charles L. Reason (the first African American Math teacher at an all white college) and Fredrick Douglas. He even endured abuse such as in the case of when he traveled to Attica, New York to present a lecture at a church. When he tried to lodge at a local hotel, his welcome was rejected. He ended up spending the night on the cold, hard church floor. In 1844 he went to present another lecture in East Aurora, New York and he was bombarded with eggs and other items.

William Wells Brown gave over a thousand speeches and even lectured in Europe therefore making his career even more far reaching. Another accomplishment he had was being a very successful author and play writer. He wrote novels such as "The President's Daughter," "My Southern Home," and "The Rising Son." The publication of those works as well as others, established him "as the most prolific black literary figure in the mid nineteenth century."

He had so many contributions to the African American community that he had an award named after him and a memorial plaque is located on Pine Street in Buffalo, New York. Mr. William Wells Brown should be the next uncrowned king because he was not only a slave that was victimized but he was also a man who took it upon himself to help others, even if it cost him his life.

1st Place รข?? Grades 7-9
Kejuan Johnson
Grade 8, School #6