The Westside Gazette Newspaper is honored to feature these editorial contributions made by local students.
By Layla Davidson
Henry Highland Garnet was an African American abolitionist, minister, educator, and orator.
Born into slavery, he and his family successfully escaped to New York. He is best known for giving his famous speech “Call to Rebellion” in 1843, which influenced slaves to free themselves by rising up against their owners.
Henry Highland Garnet was officially declared an abolitionist in the 1840s. After he gave his “Call to Rebellion” speech, he was seen as radical and became a controversial figure within the abolitionist movement.
In 1864, Garnet moved to Washington D.C. to serve as a pastor for the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church. On February 12, 1865, while in D.C., Garnet was chosen by President Abraham Lincoln to give a sermon (a speech given by a preacher who talks about religion and beliefs) before the House of Representatives, which made Garnet the first Black speaker to perform this task.
In 1881, President James A. Garfield appointed Garnet as the United States Minister and Consul General ( a position equivalent to what we call an ambassador today) in Liberia. This allowed Garnet to fulfill his lifelong dream to travel to Africa.