Bibb, Henry Walton
Bibb, Henry Walton
May 10, 1815
Henry Walton Bibb, an author, editor, and emigrationist, was born a slave on a Kentucky plantation. He was the oldest son of a slave, Milldred Jackson. Like many slaves, he never knew his father and was even unsure of his father's identity; he was told, however, that he was the son of James Bibb, a Kentucky state senator. His six brothers, all slaves, were sold one by one, until the entire family was scattered. In 1833, he met and married a mulatto slave named Malinda, with whom he had one daughter, Mary Frances. Bibb's fierce desire to obtain his freedom and reclaim his wife and daughter motivated his repeated attempts to escape from slavery. In 1842 he successfully fled to Detroit, where he began work as an abolitionist. He continued to search for Malinda and his daughter, but after learning that Malinda had been sold as the mistress of a white slave owner, Bibb gave up his longtime dream and resolved to advance the antislavery cause.
In 1850 Bibb published his autobiography, Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave. One of the best-known slave narratives, the book contains an extensive, personal account of Bibb's life as a slave and runaway. Soon after it appeared, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which gave slave owners the right to reclaim runaways—and obligated northerners to help them to do so. Bibb, like many others, openly stated that he preferred death to re-enslavement, and he fled with his second wife, Mary Miles Bibb of Boston, to Canada. In Ontario, the Bibbs soon became leaders of the large African-Canadian community.
In 1851 Bibb established the Voice of the Fugitive, the first black newspaper in Canada. Through the Voice, he expressed his essential ideas as an emigrationist by urging slaves and free blacks to move to Canada. The newspaper became a central tool of emigration advocates. In addition to the Voice, Bibb's civic and political accomplishments in the Ontario communities were substantial.
Two years before his death, and as a direct result of his work as a writer and orator, Bibb was reunited with three of his brothers, who had also escaped from bondage and emigrated to Canada. He interviewed them and published their stories in the Voice of the Fugitive. Bibb died in the summer of 1854, at the age of thirty-nine.
Bibb, Henry. The Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, An American Slave. Introduction by Charles J. Heglar. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2001. Originally published in 1849 as Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave, Written by Himself.
Blassingame, John W. "Henry Walton Bibb." In Dictionary of American Negro Biography, edited by Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston. New York: Norton, 1982.
jeffrey l. klein (1996)
"Bibb, Henry Walton." Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bibb-henry-walton
"Bibb, Henry Walton." Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. . Retrieved October 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bibb-henry-walton
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.