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*The birth of Shields Green is celebrated on this date c 1836. He was a Black escaped slave and abolitionist.
Green referred to himself as "'Emperor"' and was from Charleston, South Carolina. After his escape, he had lived for a time in the house of Frederick Douglass, in Rochester, New York. It was there that Douglass introduced him to John Brown.
Green participated in the raid on Harpers Ferry. Although Green survived the raid un-wounded, like Brown himself and the five other captured participants, Green was quickly tried, convicted, and executed by hanging, in his case on December 16, 1859. All the trials and executions took place in Charles Town, West Virginia, Jefferson County. At John Brown's execution two weeks prior, very few spectators were permitted, for security reasons. Now at the others, there were 1,600 spectators. At the time, legal as well as illegal hangings were entertainment.
In an article on courageous Negroes who revolted he is mentioned alongside Douglass himself and Haitian hero Jean-Jacques Dessalines. In Silas X. Floyd's Floyd's Flowers or Duty and Beauty for Colored Children, Green is a black hero like Crispus Attucks, Toussaint l'Ouverture, or Benjamin Banneker. Floyd calls him a martyr. Green was the only one from the raid on Harpers Ferry that Frederick Douglass mentioned alongside iconic rebels Nat Turner and Denmark Vesey; Douglass "eulogized [him] with rare sadness".