William Wells Brown Biography

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William Wells Brown was born near Lexington, Kentucky, in 1814. His father was George Higgins, a white plantation owner, but his mother was a black slave. "My mother's name was Elizabeth. She had seven children, Solomon, Leander, Benjamin, Joseph, Millford, Elizabeth, and myself. No two of us were children of the same father." As a house slave he was better treated than the field workers: "I was a house servant - a situation preferable to that of a field hand, as I was better fed, better clothed, and not obliged to rise at the ringing of the bell, but about half an hour after." When he was a child his master moved to Saint Charles, Missouri. "My master owned about forty slaves, twenty-five of whom were field hands... in addition to his practice…show more content…
He later recalled in his autobiography, Narrative of William W. Brown, A Fugitive Slave (1847): "He was a devoted friend of the slave; but was very old, and not in the enjoyment of good health. After being by the fire awhile, I found that my feet had been very much frozen. I was seized with a fever, which threatened to confine me to my bed. But my friends soon raised me, treating me as kindly as if I had been one of their own children. I remained with them twelve or fifteen days, during which time they made me some clothing, and the old gentleman purchased me a pair of boots... Before leaving this good Quaker friend, he inquired what my name was besides William. I told him that I had no other name." He replied "Since thee has got out of slavery, thee has become a man, and men always have two names." William therefore decided to adopt the name of the man who saved…show more content…
Brown, A Fugitive Slave, in 1847. He obtained a living lecturing on slavery andtemperance reform in America and Europe. This inspired his book, Three Years in Europe (1852). In 1853 Brown published Clotel, a story about Thomas Jefferson's relationship with a slave mistress Sally Hemings. The book is believed to be the first novel to be published by an African-American. Brown also wrote a play, The Escape (1858) and several historical works including The Black Man (1863), The Negro in the American Revolution (1867), The Rising Son (1873) and another volume of autobiography, My Southern Home
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