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“D” is for Delany, Martin Robinson (1812-1885)

“D” is for Delany, Martin Robinson (1812-1885). Soldier, army officer, Freedman’s Bureau official. Born in Virginia, the child of a free woman of color, Delany was reared in Pennsylvania. As a newspaperman, he called for the creation of separate Black institutions and advocated Black migration beyond the borders of the United States. Following the Emancipation Proclamation, he began recruiting Black Union troops. In 1865 he became the first Black major in the U.S. Army. Stationed in South Carolina, he remained there after the Civil War, became a Freedman’s Bureau official and a Republican office holder.. In 1874 he became a leader in the state’s Independent Republican Party, which appealed mainly to White Democrats. In 1876, he supported the election of Wade Hampton. Martin Robinson Delany supported a failed scheme to send Black colonists to Liberia.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.