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James Madison Bell, BOMA Minute

On this date April 3, 1826 James Madison Bell was born in Gallipolis Ohio. For more than 40 years as an African American Poet and Author, he performed public readings in verse. As a zealous abolitionist he would recite his poetry to all within hearing and on one occasion he spoke his mind in rhyme to the 21st president, Chester A. Arthur.

It is reported that he used his spoken-word abilities to raise funds for John Brown and his raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859. His poems addressed the issues of emancipation and the abolishment of slavery. He was also active in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and was said to be an active conductor on the Underground Railroad. As a purveyor of the spoken word myself, I am especially proud of Mr. James Madison Bell…This has been another Breath of My Ancestors Minute brought to you by the Institute of Radical Reconciliation… #WeMustNeverForget


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