Former Slave Who Lived Near USMA


May 3, 2011
William Henry Singleton was a former slave who escaped, met Lincoln, raised 1000 soldiers and fought in the Civil War. He used to live across the river in Peekskill. His autobiography is a good read.

" I feel that I am greatly indebted to the government and to the American people for what they have done for me and for my race. I can not find words to express properly what I feel. But my heart is overflowing with gratitude, when I think of my situation and the situation of the people of my race now, and think of all the blessings we enjoy, compared with our former situation. I feel that as long as I live an honest life, do my work and conduct myself properly, I have the respect and the good wishes of the community. And this is true, I believe, not only of myself but of every man of my race. As long as we are honest and obey the law, seek to educate ourselves and to show ourselves worthy of freedom, we will have the respect of the American people and fair treatment from them.

It is a great thing to have lived to see this day come. It is great to feel that the people of my race understand something of the debt they owe this great country and are showing their appreciation by trying to be good citizens.

God has been very good to me. I have preached His Gospel. I can read His book. America has been very good to me. I am one of its citizens. There is no stain on the Flag now. I once fought under its banner. The Great Emancipator is loved by the world now. He once shook hands with me.

Truly I can say with the psalmist, "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage."

Recollections of My Slavery Days:
Electronic Edition.
Singleton, William Henry, 1835-1938

William Henry Singleton


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