Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Martin Delany

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Martin Delany

Article excerpt

An abolitionist, a newspaper editor, a doctor and a 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 against Delany's mother for teaching her children to read, which was against the law. At age 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 west of the Alleghenies, which championed equality for African-Americans and supported the abolition of slavery.

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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