19th Century, abolition, African American, Black History, Christian, Civil War, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota

Pilgrims up the River

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1863
“Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation frees all slaves, but the North and South are still at war. In Missouri, Robert Hickman leads 200 slaves in an escape up the Mississippi River to St. Paul. They call themselves “the pilgrims” and form Pilgrim Baptist Church, Minnesota’s first black congregation.”*

Thanks, Holy Spirit, that You gave these Pilgrims boldness to escape their life of slavery. They made a conscious choice to follow Your provision for their freedom! They acted boldly, not fearing for their own lives.

Will You bless Robert Hickman, his generations, dwellings, and property in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? Will You remember this act of leadership, and continue to bring folks of such character to St. Paul?

Bless Pilgrim Baptist Church! May they lead the way for future generations of Minnesotans to follow Your way of freedom, even though it’s risky, costly, and dangerous! I bless You, Pilgrim Baptist, your generations, lands, and property by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ!

*http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

 

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19th Century, abolition, African American, Black History, education, Governors, History, Indian, Intercession, Minnesota, Native Americans, omnipresent history, State Government

Ramsey Becomes Governor

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January 2, 1860 to Juyl 10, 1863
Alexander Ramsey takes office as the state’s second governor. He was the only man to be both appointed as governor of the territory and then elected as governor of the state.

Ramsey was re-elected in 1861. In January 1863 he was elected by the state legislature to the U.S. Senate. He resigned the governorship at the end of June 1863, after the legislative session was over.

His administration was marked by sound economic management-particularly of the state’s school lands-and by two crises: the Civil War and the Dakota Uprising. Ramsey was in Washington, D.C., in 1861 at the time the Civil War began, and as governor offered the first volunteer regiment for the Union Army.

Jesus thank you for Alexander Ramsey. Thank you for the leadership through two of the most trying events our state has faced; The Dakota Uprising, and the Civil War. Holy Spirit, I invite You to move and direct my thoughts and prayers. That said, today I feel You are taking me on a tangent.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

Master, What can one add that hasn’t been said about the Dakota Uprising? Scholars from many backgrounds have analyzed the information regarding this scar in Minnesotan history, and yet there is a gnawing sense of brokeness between Native and non-Native Minnesotans. How to proceed? How do you want to connect the head to the heart of this issue?
As a human being, I can see that there usually aren’t uprisings without provocation. These promptings could be active; i.e. land concessions pushed by rail backed by the power of the State or Federal government. These promptings could be passive; a neglect to uphold ones end of the bargain. What human would respond well if they were told to “eat grass” when they asked for provisions that were rightfully theirs?

Does an offense give us the right to commit atrocities of counter offense? To commit the sin of transference by literally nailing innocent parties to the doors of their homes? I posit to You, Good One, that although we are made in Your image, we have marred it by quashing our offender, our enemy. Who will save us from this cycle of offense and counter-offense, come “come close” and “stay away”?

Many of us have viewed the Native American human as lesser. It was Your pleasure to create all Indians! You made them of many tribes, languages, and nations in Your image and a reflection of Your glory! Will You forgive all non- Native Minnesotans:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards First Nations?
2. All our words of judgment, and verbal expressions of contempt of Native Americans?
3. Any legal expressions of contempt towards Indians?
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the Native American human being?

In the same light, we have wrongly grouped Non-Natives as having a singular viewpoint. We have, at times, monolithically condemned those of European descent as “racist” and “invaders”. Are You not the Creator of the Americans of European descent?
Will You forgive all Native Minnesotans:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards European Americans?
2. All our words of judgment, and verbal expressions of contempt of Non-Native Americans?
3. Any legal expressions of contempt towards European Immigrants?
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the Non-Native American human being?

In a similar vein, will You forgive this State our offenses to You by the judgments foisted on Governor Ramsey, and any political leaders since who have wrestled such weighty conflicts? They have to make difficult choices based on incomplete information, and yet we, as their constituents, often show no mercy on their human frailties! Christ have mercy on our judgments of our leaders for not fixing OUR broken hearts, and their divisive and untrusting attitudes! Can new laws make people show respect and love towards each other?

Taking another huge bite, I’m sure the enemy wreaked havoc in the state through the Civil War. I’m sure many were conflicted about trying to establish peace between the North and the South, slave and free, through warfare. Help me sort out the things to pray over this event.

First, forgive the audacity and judgments of the Church towards slavery. Granted, there was not one monolithic point of view, but there were many that named the name of Jesus, and still saw fit to hold slaves. Will You forgive us this view as a state? As a nation? As the Church of America?

Many of us have viewed the African human as lesser. It was Your pleasure to create all Africans! You made them of many tribes, languages, and nations in Your image and a reflection of Your glory! Will You forgive all non- African Minnesotans:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards Africans!
2. All our words of judgment, and verbal expressions of slavery of Africans.
3. Any legal expressions of slavery towards Africans.
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the African human being!

Second, will You forgive African Minnesotans, and any of the ancestors of American enslavement:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards non-Africans!
2. All our words of judgment of non-Africans.
3. Any legal expressions of revenge towards non-Africans.
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the non-African human being!

Being from a military family, in a sense I’m proud that our forefathers were among the first to voluntarily to die in battle opposing slavery. The righteousness of slavery had been a bone of contention and internal conflict in our psyche when were still Charters from England. Thank You that many in our State have consistently supported the rights of life and liberty for all through the ages.
Would things have been different if the Church had risen in prayer and fasting over the injustices of slavery? The Church has followed culture into physical war so often, instead of engaging the enemy inwardly. We have tried to change the heart of our nation towards the black African slave through external battle. We try to bring peace to the world around us without first doing the work of making peace with You and your children in our hearts. Christ have mercy on us!

http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

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19th Century, Black History, Culture, History, Intercession, Minnesota, women

Rebuffing Slavery  

Eliza Winston

Eliza Winston, nanny,  circa 1860

 

1860

“Slave Eliza Winston accompanies a Mississippi family to Minneapolis. When free blacks and white abolitionists learn that Eliza wants her freedom, they complain to a judge who orders her freed. Some pro-slavery people become angry at the court’s decision; Eliza is sent to Canada for her safety.” *

Thank You for Eliza Winston, and for that You had a purpose in her trip to Minneapolis long before she knew about it. Thank You for Your awareness of every pain, and every tragedy. Thank You that spoke through Paul for the freeing of the slave Onesimus, and therefore, it can be assured that freeing any slave is dear to Your heart.

Jesus, I know so little of this case, and I appeal to You to fill the blanks. Will You forgive the hostility Eliza received from here detractors here, and perhaps from the state court? Will You forgive those who harbored hostility towards her despite our state court’s decision?

G-d, I see the exposed roots of ethnocentrism and racism. Will You dry up these bad roots in Minnesota, and bless the heritage of Eliza Winston? Will You free her heritage from counter-judgments of our legal system, or any who would diminish a person’s value based on skin color? Will You shield us from making bad decisions because we are the object of wrath and anger?

http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

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19th Century, African American, Black History, Faith, History, law, Minnesota

Slavery in Court: Dred and Harriet Scott

Dred Scott

Dred Scott

1857
“Dred and Harriet Scott, slaves who lived at Fort Snelling in the 1830s, claim they became free in Minnesota, where slavery was illegal. The U.S. Supreme Court rules that, because they returned to Missouri where slavery is legal, they are still the property of their owners.

In 1836, the African American slave Dred Scott was brought to Fort Snelling by his owner, Dr. John Emerson. While at the fort, Scott married another slave, Harriet. Later, Emerson moved to St. Louis, taking his slaves, the Scotts, with him. In 1846, Dred Scott sued for his freedom. He claimed that, since he had been taken to live at Fort Snelling–at the time part of Wisconsin Territory, where slavery was prohibited–he was a free man.

In March 1857, after 11 years of trials and appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court declares that because Scott isn’t a citizen of Missouri (a slave isn’t allowed to be a citizen), he’s not entitled to sue in its courts; and that slaves are property and that no law can deprive a person–that is, a white slaveowner–of his rights to life, liberty, and property.” *

Christ have mercy! We often want privileges under the law for ourselves, and not for others. This is not Your example. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” John 1:1,2 Jesus, You submitted to the limitations of this world. You went from the total freedom of heaven to living in Satan’s jurisdiction. You know what it’s like to have Your rights curtailed! Thank you that You are able to relate to everyone who has endured under slavery, and that You never knelt to hatred of authority.

Firstly, bless Dred and Harriet Scott, their generations, and their dwellings in Jesus’ name! Thanks for giving him the boldness to challenge the system. Forgive our system for allowing human beings to ever be classified as ‘property’! May we inherit a heart to challenge falsehoods and misbeliefs of our state.

Secondly, forgive Missouri and the U. S. Supreme Court this offense against You, and the inalienable rights You’ve freely given to all people, everywhere, at all times. You made all men in your image! You’ve made all women in Your image! Is not an affront to one an attempt at mutiny? You are our God, and we are Your people!

Third, forgive the judgment made against the Scotts’, and counter-judgments made towards Minnesota, Missouri, or the U.S. in general. Will You release us from our heritage of bitter judgments and curses, and make the way for forgiveness and blessing?
http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

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19th Century, abolition, African American, History, Indian, Men, Minnesota, Native Americans, News, women

Abolitionist Newspaper 1857

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1857
“Jane Grey Swisshelm, an outspoken critic of slavery and unequal treatment of women, moves to Minnesota in 1857 and publishes the St. Cloud Visiter newspaper. Mobs twice destroy her printing office, but she continues her courageous crusade for equal rights with the “St. Cloud Visiter” later renamed the “St. Cloud Democrat.” *

Jane G. Swisshelm was a pioneer in all senses of the word: in travel, in her passionate writings, and inwardly. She saw observed the cruelty of slavery when she lived in Kentucky. She lost her mother in Pennsylvania, and shortly afterwards, her husband lost his business. She moved to the Midwest to start over, joining her sister nearby. **

Already a established as a strong voice for abolition during her decade in Pittsburgh, she became the editor of a newspaper named the “St.Cloud Visiter”. Though owned by a Democrat, (who in those days were not usually abolitionists), she insisted on representing the paper as such. In effect, she offended local Democratic sensibilities resulting in the destruction of the “Visiter’s” offices and printing presses. ***

In the following decade, she aimed her pen at the Dakota Nation of Minnesota. Originally a supporter of Native Americans, the Dakota War of 1862 and their atrocities of unprovoked attacks on their neighbors changed her mind. Incensed by Native attacks, she even lobbied the Federal Government that more strident measures be taken against them. ***

Today, we thank You for voice of Jane Swisshelm, and her commitment to vigorously and forthrightly speak her mind. Her story is a cautionary tale that no individual, tribe, or nation gets it right all the time. Irregardless of passion, we all have an incomplete picture of the truth.

American politics of her day may shock modern ears; Republicans led the charge in the abolition of slavery, and the vast majority of slave states held to Democratic politics. Will You forgive us our over-identification with partisan politics in this era, and our failure to unite to oppose the evils of slavery? Will You forgive us our sins of partisan rhetoric, and more specifically to Swisshelm where her words unnecessarily broke relationship with our Southern brothers and sisters?

Next, we fail to understand much of the context of her era, and may draw some wrong conclusions from the women’s rights movement. Certainly, some 19th Century women suffered harsh abuses at the hands of men, often without hopes for a legal redress of their grievances. (We praise You that most of these legal issues are corrected, and that American women have known exceptionally high-status and equality when viewed through the lens of human history.)

Yet, our preset-day perspective may cause us to miss the ways that 19th Century male-female relationships were strong. Children trusted that their fathers’ were committed to provide for them. Wives trusted that their husbands’ love meant shelter and protection. Families busy with survival did not have lots of time to deal with legal or political issues, and often for them, it made sense to trust dad with that role.

Jesus, thanks that You have made us to be free. Will You forgive the city of St. Cloud and Minnesota any infringement of the freedom of Jane Swisshelm? Will You free us from her sinful judgment’s against those she opposed; broadbrushing all men, those who disagreed with her method of abolition, and promoting punishment against the Dakota? Thank You that Minnesota has raised awareness of the status of women and those in bondage through her voice! Thank You that even her words of judgment against the actions of a few hundred Dakota, as harsh as they may be, record the specifics of broken relationships. Will You enter into these rifts, bring humility, and restore to us a place in Your Land-Clear-Blue-Waters? Amen.

http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
** Swisshelm, Jane Grey. Half a Century. Chicago: Jansen, McClurg, and Company, 1880.
*** Webster, Eric W. “Swisshelm, Jane Grey (1815–1884)”. Internet. https://www.mnopedia.org/person/swisshelm-jane-grey-1815-1884

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