Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Martin Delany

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Martin Delany

Article excerpt

An abolitionist, newspaper editor, doctor and military officer, Martin Delany was one of the nation's most influential African- American leaders in the 19th century.

Born on May 6, 1812, in Charles Town, Va. (now West Virginia), Martin Robinson Delany was the son of a free mother and an enslaved father.

In 1822, the Delany family moved to Chambersburg, Pa., to escape charges brought against Delany's mother for teaching her children to read, which was against the law. At 19, he moved west to Pittsburgh, where he studied medicine, writing and other subjects through private tutors and all-African American schools.

A free black man in Pittsburgh, Delany became an outspoken voice against slavery and oppression. In 1843, he published "The Mystery," the first African-American newspaper published west of the Alleghenies, which championed equality for blacks and supported the abolition of slavery in other parts of the nation.

Frederick Douglass, the famed abolitionist, was so impressed with "The Mystery" that he made Delany a co-editor of his newspaper, "The North Star," in 1847.

Delany left "The North Star" in 1849 to enroll at Harvard Medical School, where he was one of just three African-American students. After a group of white students protested the presence of blacks in the classroom, Delany and his classmates were reluctantly dismissed from the school. …

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