Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Black History Month - continued

In addition to the Constitution, Congress made further progress toward a free society by passing the Northwest Ordinance. This ordinance outlawed slavery in any of the federal territories. Because of this, the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin all entered the union as free states.

In 1808 Congress continued to work toward the elimination of slavery by abolishing slave trade. On January 1st of that year Rev. Absalom Jones, the first black bishop of the Episcopal Church in America, preached his famous Thanksgiving sermon at St. Thomas’ Church, praising God for the passage of this law.

Rev. Jones was one of three prominent men who led the way for building this church. Another was Rev. Richard Allen, another famous black preacher. These two men formed the Free African Society that assisted fugitive slaves in the city. They joined with Dr. Benjamin Rush to build St. Thomas' Church where Rev. Jones delivered his speech.

The future looked brighter for these former slaves. First the Constitution and then these two laws moved the country in the direction of freedom and equality for all.

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