James Redpath

Born in Berwick-on-Tweed, Scotland, James Redpath (1833-91) emigrated with his family to the United States about 1850 and soon found work as a reporter for Horace Greeley's New York Daily Tribune. In the mid-1850s he traveled through the South, reporting on the institution of slavery and calling for its immediate abolition. By the late 1850s Redpath had moved to Kansas, where he edited the Doniphan Crusader of Freedom and supported the fight to make the territory a non-slaveholding state. Redpath befriended John Brown in Kansas and after the latter's execution, became his first biographer, writing The Public Life of Captain John Brown (Boston, 1860). In 1859 and 1860, Redpath toured Haiti as a reporter and returned to the United States as the official Haitian lobbyist for diplomatic recognition, a status he secured within two years. During the Civil War he was a front-line correspondent with the Union army commanded by William Tecumseh Sherman. In 1865, when South Carolina was under federal military occupation, Sherman appointed Redpath superintendent of public schools in that state. Returning North, Redpath in 1868 organized the first professional lecturing bureau, which included Frederick Douglass among its clients. During the 1880s he returned to his earlier career as a journalist-activist by editing newspapers and writing books and pamphlets on behalf of Irish nationalism, woman suffrage, and socialism. Douglass to James Redpath, 10 April 1869, Miscellaneous Mss., ICIU; Charles F. Horner, The Life of James Redpath and the Development of the Modern Lyceum (New York, 1926); Willis D. Boyd, "James Redpath and American Negro Colonization in Haiti, 1860-1862," The Americas, 12:169-82 (October 1955); DAB, 15:443-44.

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