Henry Bibb

Henry Bibb (1815-54), born a slave in Shelby County, Kentucky, escaped in 1837, only to be recaptured in his unsuccessful attempt to rescue his wife, Melinda, and their child, Mary Frances. By 1842, he had escaped once again and had settled in Detroit, Michigan. Bibb attended the black state convention in 1843, and lectured for the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society in 1845, speaking on behalf of Liberty party candidates. In the fall and winter of 1846, he toured New England. Two years later, he again toured the East, at one point acting as an agent for Frederick Douglass's North Star and publishing his Narrative of the Life of the Adventures of Henry Bibb... (New York, 1849). After passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, Bibb became interested in Canadian colonization. He joined the Benevolent Association, a land-purchasing organization in Canada West, and became its recording secretary. In 1852, when the Benevolent Association merged with a similar Detroit organization to form the Refugee Home Society, Bibb became both an officer and a trustee. Bibb was also active in the Anti-Slavery Society of Canada, serving as one of its vice-presidents in 1852, and he founded the Voice of the Fugitive (1851-53). NS 24 March 1848, 12, 19 January, 16 February, 18 May, 15, 22 June 1849; Lib., 1 June 1849; FDP 11 August 1854; BFASR, ser. 3, 2: 248 (1 November 1854); Henry Bibb, Narrative of the Life of the Adventures of Henry Bibb in Gilbert Osobsky, ed., Puttin' On Ole Massa (New York, 1969), 64, 74-82, 154-64; David M. Katzman, Before the Ghetto: Black Detroit in the Nineteenth Century (Urbana, Ill., 1973), 14-16, 39, 41-42; Pease and Pease, Black Utopia, 109-22; Quarles, Black Abolitionists, 61-62, 185, 218-19; Miller, Search for a Black Nationality, 106-07, 110-15, 149; Quarles, FD, 57; Pease and Pease, They Who Would Be Free, 65, 252-53; Sewell, Ballots for Freedom, 160; Winks, The Blacks in Canada, 204-08, 254-55, 396-97; Fred Landon, "Henry Bibb, A Colonizer," JNH, 5:437-47 (October 1920).

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