Black Ancestors : Augustus Washington

Discussion in 'Honoring Black Ancestors' started by cherryblossom, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Augustus Washington (1820 - 1875)

    AFRICAN AMERICAN DAGUERREOTYPIST

    By Mary Muller - Connecticut Historical Society
    Published: Feb 03, 2012

    Augustus Washington was one of the most talented and successful photographers in mid-1800s Connecticut. He was also an African American. Washington lived in Hartford from 1844 until 1853 and was actively involved in the Abolitionist Movement and the life of Hartford’s free black community. Though his work depicts people of different classes and cultures, ironically, no portraits of African Americans survive from his years in Hartford.

    Augustus Washington was born free in Trenton New Jersey in 1820, the son of former slaves. Determined to get an education, and working against the odds of poverty and racial prejudice, he attended schools in New Jersey, New York and New Hampshire.

    Although he was ultimately admitted to Dartmouth College in the fall of 1843, he was forced to leave after one year for financial reasons.

    In addition to working at a variety of other jobs, Washington learned the skill of “daguerreotypy” in order to make money to pay for his education. The daguerreotype, named for Jacques-Louis Daguerre, who invented the process in 1839, was the earliest form of photograph to become widely available. Its precise mirror-like images seemed miraculous to a public that previously had known only artist’s renderings.

    Washingtoncame to Hartford in the fall of 1844 to run Talcott Street Congregational Church’s North African School, one of two schools in Hartford for black students. Under the leadership of the Reverend James W. C. Pennington, this church was a hub of regional anti-slavery activity.

    In 1846, Washington left teaching, and opened his daguerreotype studio on Main Street, one of twenty such studios that opened in Hartford between 1840 and 1855. Although many of these businesses quickly failed, Washington established a reputation for quality, and prospered for more than six years.

    A newspaper advertisement at the time read “Washington is at home, and daily executing beautiful and correct Miniatures, equal to any in this country, at his uncommonly cheap prices.”

    Believing that African Americans could not “develop [their] moral and intellectual capacities as a distinct people” in the United States, Washington and his family left Hartford for Africa in 1853. .He became a prominent citizen of Liberia, a West African colony founded in 1820 for freed American slaves and others of African descent.

    A substantial collection of his portrait photographs is housed in The Connecticut Historical Society, One Elizabeth Street, Hartford, CT 06105. For more information, go to www.chs.org.

    http://www.yourpublicmedia.org/content/connecticut-historical-society/augustus-washington-1820-1875
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    African Colonization--By a Man of Color


    Augustus Washington
    July 3, 1851



    To the Editors of The Tribune:
    As the infant Republic of Liberia is now attracting the attention of the enlightened nations, and the press of both England and America, I may hope that a communication in regard to that country, and the Afric-Americans in this, may not be deemed a subject intrusive nor foreign to the public interest. And I am encouraged by the just and liberal course you have taken in favor of the proposed line of Steamers to the Western Coast of Africa, and also the boldness with which you have lately urged the propriety and interest of some of the colored people, emigrating from our crowded cities to less populous parts of this country, as the great West, or to Africa or any other place where they may secure an equality of rights and liberty, with a mind unfettered and space to rise. Besides, as your paper is generally read by the progressive and more liberal portion of white Americans and some of the most intelligent of the colored, I may also hope to be confirmed in my present sentiments and measures or driven to new and better convictions. I do not wish to be thought extravagant, when I affirm what I believe to be true, that I have seen no act in your public career as an editor, statesman and philanthropist, more noble and praiseworthy than that of turning your pen and influence to African Colonization and civilization, after finding that you could not secure for the black man in America those inalienable rights to which he with other oppressed nations, is entitled and for which you have heretofore labored. Though the colored people may not appreciate your kind efforts, and those of many other good and true men who pursue your course, we trust you will not on account of present opposition be weary in well doing. Though dark the day, and fearful as is the tide, oppression is rolling over us, we are certain that it is but the presage of a more glorious morrow....

    COMPLETE LETTER HERE: http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=621
     
  3. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Augustus Washington (1820/21 1875) is one of the few African American daguerreotypists whose work has been identified
    and whose career has been documented. The son of a former slave, Washington was born in Trenton, New Jersey. As a youth, he embraced the abolitionist movement.....


    ...He left Dartmouth in 1844, moving to Hartford, Connecticut, where he taught in a school for black students. Two years later, he opened one of Hartford's first daguerrean galleries. Offering portraits ranging in price from $.50 to $10, Washington attracted a broad clientele, and by the early 1850s was regarded as one of the city's foremost daguerreotypists. But despite his success, Washington worried about the future. Convinced that emancipation alone would not remove the barriers that American society imposed upon its black citizens, he came to regard resettlement in the West African nation of Liberia as the best course of action. Accompanied by his wife and two small children, Washington sailed for Africa in November 1853.

    Once in Liberia, Washington opened a daguerrean studio and prospered.

    He later enlarged the scope of his business by traveling to Sierra Leone, the Gambia, and Senegal, operating temporary studios in each. ....

    COMPLETE HERE: http://www.npg.si.edu/exh/awash/awintro.htm

     
  4. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    ....another of your professional predecessors, Bro. jamesfrmphilly.
     
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