Henry Highland Garnet was born into slavery on December 23, 1815. His father was the son of a Mandingo Warrior Prince who was taken prisoner in combat. Garnet and his family was owned by William Spencer until his death in 1824, A few weeks later Garnet’s family received permission to attend a family funeral. Traveling first in a covered wagon and then on foot the family never returned to their plantation. The family made its way to Wilmington, Delaware, where they separated seven members of the family went to New Jersey ant the immediate family went to Pennsylvania, where Garnet had his first schooling and escape from slavery.
A year later the family relocated to New York where Garnet enrolled in the African school. There he found an extraordinary group of school mates. Garnet and his school mates would later form their own club called the Garrison Literacy Bene Volant Association. School members in fear of mob violence made Garnet and his friends move elsewhere, Garnet would later enroll at Noyes Academy in Canaan, New Hampshire. The trip was particularly hazardous and painful for Garnet because of a serious leg infection that he had contracted while working the previous summer as a farm hand. Upon their arrival the local towns’ people greeted them with jeers and racial insults. Garnet received the much of the abuse because of his injured leg which prevented him from riding inside the coach, making him a visible target of abuse and insults. The week long journey became a nightmare of pain and discomfort for Garnet. Upon his arrival at Noyes Academy he was quickly and violently disabuse of any hopes and thoughts for a happy school term. Garnets injured leg would later be amputated.
Garnet would later marry Julia Williams a fellow student at the Noyes Academy. Together they had three children, only one of whom survived to adult hood in 1839, Garnet moved with his family to Troy, New York where he taught school and...