How the North Profited from Slavery in America: Tiffany’s, Brown University, and Lehman Brothers


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Charles Lewis Tiffany (February 15, 1812 – February 18, 1902) was an American businessman and jeweller who founded New York City's Tiffany & Co. in 1837. Known for his jewelry expertise, Tiffany created the country's first retail catalog and introduced the English standard of sterling silver in imported jewelry in 1851.

Henry Lehman (born Hayum Lehmann; September 29, 1822 – November 17, 1855)[1] was a German-born American businessman and the founder of Lehman Brothers, which grew from a cotton and fabrics shop during his life to become a large finance firm under his brothers' descendents.

Lehman was born under the name of Hayum Lehmann to a Jewish family,[2] the son of Abraham Lehmann, a cattle merchant in the small Franconian town of Rimpar near Würzburg, Lehman emigrated to the United States in 1844, where he changed his name to Henry Lehman.[3] He settled in Montgomery, Alabama, and opened a dry goods store named, "H. Lehman".[4] In 1847, following the arrival of his younger brother Emanuel Lehman, the firm became, "H. Lehman and Bro." With the 1850 arrival of Mayer Lehman, the youngest brother, the firm became "Lehman Brothers".

In those years, cotton was the most important crop of the Southern United States. Capitalizing on cotton's extremely high market value around the world, the Lehman brothers became cotton factors, accepting cotton bales from customers as payment for their merchandise. They eventually began a second business as traders in cotton.[4] Within a few years, this became the major part of their firm.

In 1855, Henry Lehman died from yellow fever while travelling in New Orleans. Later, his brothers moved the company's headquarters to New York City, eventually building it into an important American investment bank, which was in operation for over 150 years until its September 15, 2008, collapse.

The exact date of the first African slaves in Connecticut is unknown, but the narrative of Venture Smith provides some information about the life of northern slavery in Connecticut. Another early confirmed account of slavery in the English colony came in 1638 when several native prisoners were taken during the Pequot War were exchanged in the West Indies for African slaves. Such exchanges become common in subsequent conflicts.

Bunce Island (also spelled "Bence," "Bense," or "Bance" at different periods) is an island in the Sierra Leone River. It is situated in Freetown Harbour, the estuary of the Rokel River and Port Loko Creek, about 20 miles (32 kilometres) upriver from Sierra Leone's capital city Freetown. The island measures about 1,650 feet (502.9 metres) by 350 feet (106.7 metres) and houses a castle that was built by the Royal Africa Company in c.1670. Tens of thousands of Africans were shipped from here to the North American colonies of South Carolina and Georgia to be forced into slavery, and are the ancestors of many African Americans of the United States.

Although the island is small, its strategic position at the limit of navigation for ocean-going ships in Africa's largest natural harbour made it an ideal base for European slave traders.[1][2] To mark the 2007–2008 bicentennial of Britain's abolition of the slave trade, a team at James Madison University created a three-dimensional animation of the castle as it was in 1805, and an exhibit on the site that was displayed to museums all across the U.S. which is now held by the Sierra Leone National Museum.[3]

Wanderer was the penultimate documented ship to bring an illegal cargo of people from Africa to the United States, landing at Jekyll Island, Georgia on November 28, 1858. It was the last to carry a large cargo, arriving with some 400 people. Clotilda, which transported 110 people from Dahomey in 1860, is the last known ship to bring enslaved people from Africa to the US.

Originally built in New York as a pleasure schooner, The Wanderer was purchased by Southern businessman Charles Augustus Lafayette Lamar and an investment group, and used in a conspiracy to import kidnapped people illegally. The Atlantic slave trade had been prohibited under US law since 1808. An estimated 409 enslaved people survived the voyage from the Kingdom of Kongo to Georgia. Reports of the smuggling outraged the North. The federal government prosecuted Lamar and other investors, the captain and crew in 1860, but failed to win a conviction.

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