On this day February 12th, 1865, Abolitionist, Educator and Minister Henry Highland Garnet became the 1st Black Man to speak at the U.S. House of representatives in regards to the Emancipation Proclamation, the ending of slavery.
Born a slave in New Market, MD in 1815, Garnet and his family escaped slavery to NYC when he was a child. There he gained freedom and education and become an Abolitionist.
Garnet and his wife became Christian missionaries during the American Civil War and hes possibly the first before the Right Excellent Marcus Garvey to speak of emigrating Blacks back to Africa and even countries like Mexico and the West Indies.
Garnet was a popular lecturer spending over two and a half years speaking all around the world. Although a minister, Garnet felt armed rebellions were the solution to end slavery and deemed too radical by the likes of William Lloyd Garrison and Fredrick Douglass.
The 136 anniversary of his death will be tomorrow as he died February 13, 1881 at the age of 66 in Monrovia, Liberia.