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Many freedmen were abolitionists and had a significant impact on slavery and the antebellum period. Benjamin Banneker and Paul Cuffe are only a few of the significant freedmen of the slavery period. They took up the cause and helped the antislavery movement move forward.
Benjamin Banneker was born on November 9, 1731, in Banneky Farm, Maryland. He was an astronomer, farmer, mathematician, inventor, and writer. His grandmother taught him to read and write. He had a great interest in mathematics and science. He taught himself astronomy. Later, Banneker built a wooden clock by hand that was very accurate. He only had a pocket watch and a picture of a clock as his model. This clock was believed to be the first made in America. () Benjamin Banneker also correctly predicted a solar eclipse. The prediction was in contrast to the forecasts of most well-known scientists. He made all calculations for a yearly almanac. Banneker sent his almanac to Jefferson. Jefferson was impressed with his work. He sent the almanac to the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris. The almanac showed the talent and skill of African American people. It was used by abolitionists to show that African Americans have skills and talents. Therefore, they can contribute to society and are the same as white people. He changed the view many people held towards African Americans at that time. Benjamin Banneker died on October 9, 1731, in Baltimore, Maryland.
Paul Cuffe or Paul Slocum was born on January 17, 1759, in Cuttyhunk Island, Maryland. He was an American shipowner, merchant, and Pan-Africanist. He was one of the wealthiest African Americans of his time. He was born to Ruth Moses, an African American woman, and Kofi Slocum, a freed black man. During the American Revolution, Paul Cuffe served as a privateer. He then married a Native American woman, Alice Pequit. They had ten children together. He wanted to establish African settlements and develop trade routes. He supported black emigration. Paul Cuffe advocated and raise help for black settlers to relocate to Sierra Leone. Even though he was seeking help for African Americans, he accepted help from white people. He joined the Society of Friends, a Christian group of Quakers. His faith was important and spurred his interest in advocating for his fellow African Americans. He used his wealth to help others. He assisted Africa in the revitalization. He founded the Friendly Society of Sierra Leone. He transported many African Americans to Sierra Leone. He also wrote the “Memoir of Captain Paul Cuffee”. Paul Cuffe wanted to make many more trips to Sierra Leone to relocate African Americans. Alas, he would not be able to continue his life work. He died on September 7, 1817, in Westport, Maryland. He was buried in a Society of Friends cemetery.
Therefore, African American freedmen had a significant impact on the antislavery movement during the antebellum period. They changed the perception of African Americans and encouraged the abolitionist movement. They led to the emancipation of slaves in later years.
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