Star-Spangled Banner author helped free slaves; Some Early Black American Leaders; & John Randolph who gave land to freed slaves – American Minute with Bill Federer


On SEPTEMBER 13, 1814, just weeks after they burned the U.S. Capitol, British forces attacked Baltimore, Maryland — the third largest city in America.

Britain had the largest global empire in world history, controlling 13 million square miles — almost a quarter of the Earth’s land — and nearly half billion people — one-fifth of the world’s population at that time.
Out of nearly 200 countries in the world, only 22 were never controlled or invaded by Britain.

As the War of 1812 progressed, British soldiers marched toward Baltimore.
On their way, they captured an elderly physician of Upper Marlboro, Dr. William Beanes.
The town feared Dr. Beanes would be hanged so they asked attorney Francis Scott Key to sail with Colonel John Skinner under a flag of truce to the British flagship Tonnant in order to arrange a prisoner exchange.
Concerned their plans of attacking Baltimore would be discovered, the British placed Francis Scott Key and Colonel Skinner under armed guard aboard the H.M.S. Surprise.
They were transferred to a sloop where they watched 19 British ships fire continuously for 25 hours over 1,800 cannon balls, rockets and mortar shells at the earthen Fort McHenry.
An American soldier who helped defend Baltimore was John McHenry, whose father was Secretary of War James McHenry, the signer of the Declaration of Independence for whom Fort McHenry was named.
President James Madison, known as the “Chief Architect of the Constitution,” had declared a National Day of Prayer, July 9, 1812, stating:
“I do therefore recommend … rendering the Sovereign of the Universe … public homage … acknowledging the transgressions which might justly provoke His divine displeasure … seeking His merciful forgiveness …
and with a reverence for the unerring precept of our holy religion, to do to others as they would require that others should do to them.”
On July 23, 1813, Madison issued another Day of Prayer, referring to: “religion, that gift of Heaven for the good of man.”
During the Battle of Fort McHenry, the citizens of Baltimore extinguished every light in every window so that the British would not be able to use them to get their aim.
A thunderstorm providentially blew in and rained so hard the ground was softened, allowing most of the cannon balls to sink in the mud.
With the stormy darkness broken by slashes of lightning and the exploding cannon balls, Francis Scott Key saw the dramatic scene of “bombs bursting in air.”
On the morning of September 14, 1814, “through the dawn’s early light,” Key saw the flag still flying.
The first verse is well-known, but the fourth verse had an even more enduring affect, as it contained a phrase which became the United States’ National Motto:
O thus be it ever when free men shall stand,
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation;
Blest with victory and peace, may the Heaven-rescued land,
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just;
And this be our motto ‘IN GOD IS OUR TRUST’!
And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave,
Over the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Americans honor the flag, as it is the symbol of the “republic for which it stands.”
A “republic” is where THE PEOPLE are KING, ruling through their representatives — their public servants.
Instead of a king dictating to us, pledging allegiance to the flag is basically pledging allegiance to us being in charge of ourselves.
When someone dishonors the flag, what they are saying is they no longer want to be king, they are protesting this system where people rule themselves.
Francis Scott Key’s song, “The Defense of Ft. McHenry,” was printed shortly after the Battle of Fort McHenry in the Analectic Magazine (Vol. 4, 1814).
The song’s name was later changed to “The Star-Spangled Banner” and it became the United States National Anthem.
Francis Scott Key had actually written a similar song to the same tune nine years earlier in 1805, titled “When the Warrior Returns from Battle Afar,” to celebrate America’s victory over Muslim Barbary pirates:
In the conflict resistless, each toil they endured,
Till their foes shrunk dismay’d from the war’s desolation,
And pale beam’d the Crescent, its splendour obscured
By the light of the Star-Spangled flag of our nation.
Where, each radiant star gleam’d a meteor of war,
And the turban’d heads bow’d to the terrible glare;
Then mix’d with the olive the laurel did wave,
And form’d a bright wreath for the brows of the brave.
 Sharia Muslim pirates had enslaved an estimated 180 million Africans and over a million Europeans.
Many African slaves brought to America had been purchased from Islamic slave markets.
In a twist of irony, those intent on removing symbols and reminders of past groups which participated in enslaving Africans should, to be consistent, remove Islamic symbols as their slaves markets sold Africans.
After the Battle of Fort McHenry, President James Madison proclaimed, November 16, 1814:
“The National Legislature having by a Joint Resolution expressed their desire that in the present time of public calamity and war
a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of public humiliation and fasting and of prayer to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, His blessing on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace …
I … recommend … offering … humble adoration to the Great Sovereign of the Universe, of confessing their sins and transgressions, and of strengthening their vows of repentance …
that He would be graciously pleased to pardon all their offenses against Him … that He would in a special manner preside over the nation … giving success to its arms.”
Remembering American history is necessary to counteract the socialist/communist tactic of deconstruction, or “cancel culture,” which is:
  • say negative things about a country’s founders so students emotionally detach from them;
  • then move students into a neutral position where they no longer remember where they came from;

then brainwashed them into a socialist/communist future.

Francis Scott Key fought legal battles to end slavery!
In 1820, a U.S. revenue cutter captured the slave ship Antelope off the coast of Florida with nearly 300 African slaves.
Francis Scott Key was defense attorney trying to free the Africans, many of whom were just young teenagers.
Spending his own money, Key fought to free them in an expensive legal battle which dragged on for seven years.
Arguing the before the Supreme Court in 1825, Henry S. Foote recorded that Key:
“… greatly surpassed the expectations of his most admiring friends … Key closed with … an electrifying picture of the horrors connected with the African slave trade.”
Jonathan M. Bryant wrote in Dark Places of the Earth: The Voyage of the Slave Ship Antelope (2015):
“Most startling of all, Key argued … that all men were created equal …
If the United States had captured a ship full of white captives, Key asked, would not our courts assume them to be free? How could it be any different simply because the captives were black? …
Slavery was a dangerously hot subject, but Francis Scott Key stepped deliberately into the fire.”
Bryant continued:
“Key had unleashed all of his rhetorical weapons … This was a case he believed in and had worked personally to bring before the Supreme Court.
The Antelope was a Spanish slave ship that had been captured by privateers and then seized by a United States Revenue Marine cutter off the coast of Florida …”
Bryant added:
“Using clear precedent, poetic language, and appeals to morality, Francis Scott Key argued that the hundreds of African captives found aboard the Antelope should be returned to Africa and freedom.
United States law demanded it, he said. The law of nations demanded it, he said. Even the law of nature demanded it.
Key looked into the eyes of the six justices sitting for the case, four of whom were slave owners, and announced that ‘by the law of nature, all men are free.'”
The Supreme Court, in one of its many shameful decisions, chose to define slaves as property.
Only a portion of the slaves were returned to their homes in Africa, where they founded the colony of New Georgia in Liberia.
Key raised $11,000 to help them.
The movement to help freed slaves return to Africa was pioneered by a successful black ship owner, Paul Cuffee (1759–1817).
He was a Quaker Christian and activist in Boston.
His father was of the Ashanti tribe of Ghana, Africa, and his mother was of the Wampanoag Indian tribe of Massachusetts.
Cuffee advocated freeing American slaves and helping them return to their homeland.
The plan to settle them in the British colony of Sierra Leone initially gained support of free black leaders as well as the British government and members of Congress.
In 1815, Cuffee financed a trip himself. The following year, he took 38 American blacks to Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Before he died in 1817, he laid the groundwork for the American Colonization Society.
Lott Cary, who was born a slave in 1780 near Richmond, Virginia.
He heard the Gospel and gave his life to Christ at the age of 27.
Joining the First Baptist Church of Richmond, he listened to sermons from the church balcony and was stirred to preach to his own people.
He taught himself to read and study the Bible, then was licensed to preach.
Working as a craftsman, he saved up enough money to purchase his families’ freedom in 1813.
Two years later, at a time of “growing interest in world missions,” Cary, with the help of William Crane, founded the Richmond African Missionary Society, working together with the American Baptist Union.
Lott Cary was joined by Colin Teague, also a slave who had purchased his freedom.
Teague had become an assistant minister at Richmond’s First African Baptist Church.
On January 16, 1821, Lott Cary and Colin Teague set sail on the ship Nautilus from Norfolk, Virginia, to Liberia, West Africa.
They are considered the first black missionaries from the United States to Africa.
Lott Cary established the first Baptist church in Liberia – Providence Baptist Church of Monrovia.
He set up schools and founded the Monrovia Baptist Missionary Society to evangelize local tribes, and served as Liberia’s governor in 1828.
Another notable black leader was George Liele, born in Virginia, 1750, and taken to Georgia in 1752.
When he was 23, he heard Baptist preacher Rev. Matthew Moore and converted.
Liele later wrote that he “… saw my condemnation in my own heart, and I found no way wherein I could escape the damnation of hell, only through the merits of my dying Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
George Liele attended the Buckhead Creek Baptist Church, with his master, Henry Sharp, who was a deacon.
Sharp encouraged George’s preaching and freed him.
Liele gained a following and organized them into the congregation of Silver Bluff Baptist Church in Beach Island, South Carolina, 1773, which is considered one of the first black congregations in America.
When the Revolutionary War threatened, George Liele and members of his congregation moved to Savannah, Georgia, where they met in Jonathan Bryan’s barn.
One of Jonathan Bryan’s slaves, Andrew Bryan, converted, was freed, and became the pastor of the congregation –– First Bryan Baptist Church –– one of the first black Baptist churches in North America.
In 1782, George Liele and his family went as missionaries to Jamaica, being considered the first foreign missionaries sent out from America.
Through Liele’s efforts, by 1832, there were 20,000 believers in Jamaica, which contributed to the country eradicating slavery by July 31, 1838.
One of George Liele’s converts in South Carolina was David George.
In 1778, when the British captured the city of Savannah during the Revolution, David George went with the British to Nova Scotia, where he founded a black Baptist church.
In 1792, David George went with the British to Freetown, Sierra Leon, and started another black Baptist church.
 Francis Scott Key became a board member of the American Sunday School Union and the American Bible Society.
He told the Washington Society of Alexandria, March 22, 1814:
“The patriot who feels himself in the service of God, who acknowledges Him in all his ways, has the promise of Almighty direction, and will find His Word in his greatest darkness, ‘a lantern to his feet and a lamp unto his paths’ …
He will therefore seek to establish for his country in the eyes of the world, such a character as shall make her not unworthy of the name of a Christian nation.”
 Key, in 1841, two years before his death, helped former President John Quincy Adams to win the Amistad case which freed 53 African slaves.
 Key wrote a detailed account of the Battle of Fort McHenry to Thomas Jefferson’s cousin, John Randolph, October 5, 1814.
 John Randolph was a U.S. Congressman from Virginia who went on to become a U.S. Senator, 1825-1828.
 President Andrew Jackson appointed John Randolph as U.S. Minister to Russia, 1830.
 Key wrote to John Randolph:
“May I always hear that you are following the guidance of that blessed Spirit that will ‘lead you into all truth,’ leaning on that Almighty arm that has been extended to deliver you, trusting only in the only Savior, and ‘going on’ in your way to Him ‘rejoicing.'”
 Rep. John Randolph wrote to Francis Scott Key, September 7, 1818 (Hugh A. Garland, The Life of John Randolph of Roanoke, New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1853, Vol. II, p. 99):
“I am at last reconciled to my God and have assurance of His pardon through faith in Christ, against which the very gates of hell cannot prevail. Fear hath been driven out by perfect love.”
In 1817, John Randolph was one of the founders of the “The Society for the Colonization of Free People of Color of America” which helped found the country of Liberia, West Africa, in 1821-1822.
John Randolph wrote to Francis Scott Key, May 3, 1819, (Hugh A. Garland, The Life of John Randolph of Roanoke, New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1853, Vol. II, p. 106):
“I still cling to the cross of my Redeemer, and with God’s aid firmly resolve to lead a life less unworthy of one who calls himself the humble follower of Jesus Christ.”
 Rep. John Randolph made Francis Scott Key the executor of his Will.
In his Will of 1819, John Randolph arranged for all his slaves to be freed after his death, writing:
“I give and bequeath to all my slaves their freedom, heartily regretting that I have ever been the owner of one.”
James Forten (1766–1842) grew up attending the African School run by Quaker Anthony Benezet.
Benezet founded the first ant-slavery society in America, of which Ben Franklin served as its president.
During the Revolution, at age 15, James Forten joined the Continental navy, sailing with Stephen Decatur, Sr., father of the War of 1812 hero.
Forten was a crewman on the ship Royal Lewis, which was captured by the British.
 He was imprisoned on a British starving ship. After the war, Forten apprenticeship as a sailmaker in Philadelphia.
He began his own company, invented a sail-making device and made a fortune. Employing both black and white workers, his worth was estimated at over $100,000 by the 1830s, equivalent to over $2.5 million today.
Forten helped enlist 2,500 black volunteers to defend Philadelphia during the War of 1812.
He refused to do business with any vessels involved with the slave trade.
He became a prominent advocate for abolishing of slavery, serving as vice-president of the American Anti-Slavery Society.
Forten at first supported Paul Cuffee’s vision to colonize Africa, but after meeting with Rev. Richard Allen, he supported freed blacks staying in America.
Rev. Allen stated:
“This land, which we have watered with our tears and our blood, is now our mother country, and we are well satisfied to stay where wisdom abounds and Gospel is free.”
As the movement to colonize Africa waned, John Randolph supported giving land to help freed slaves stay in America.
In his Will of 1822, Randolph also provided money for the purchase of land for his freed slaves to settle in the free State of Ohio, as well as funds for supplies and transportation.
Each slave above the age of 40 was to receive 10 acres of land.
Randolph’s Will was challenged in court but after a lengthy battle it was upheld.
The 383 former “Randolph Slaves” arrived in Cincinnati in 1846.
They overcame many difficulties and local prejudices, and eventually settled Rossville, Ohio, near the town of Piqua.
 In Rossville and Piqua, they established Cyrene African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1853, Second Baptist Church in 1857, an African Baptist Church in 1869, and a Jackson African Cemetery in 1866.
In their Jackson African Cemetery, founded in 1866, one of the gravestones has engraved on it:
“Born A Slave — Died Free.”
 From this settlement came some of the first African Americans to serve in the U.S. military during the Civil War.
During this time lived Free Frank McWorter (1777–1854).
He bought his freedom and started a saltpeter production operation – necessary for making gunpowder – which helped during the War of 1812.
His financial success enabled him to buy freedom for 16 family members, and after his death, his inheritance was used to free more.
Free Frank McWorter was the first black American to found a town – New Philadelphia, Illinois, in 1836.
 Rep. John Randolph wrote to John Brockenbrough, August 25, 1818 (Collected Letters of John Randolph of Roanoke to Dr. John Brockenbrough, Kenneth Shorey, editor, New Brunswick: Transaction Books, 1988, p. 17):
“I have thrown myself, reeking with sin, on the mercy of God, through Jesus Christ His blessed Son and our (yes, my friend, our) precious Redeemer; and I have assurances as strong as that I now owe nothing to your rank that the debt is paid and now I love God – and with reason.
I once hated him – and with reason, too, for I knew not Christ. The only cause why I should love God is His goodness and mercy to me through Christ.”
(The above article was reposted with permission from American Minute