The Real Django

As we are still in the never-ending fight for Freedom, I wanted to recognize a former slave. This story is still relevant as we are still fighting for freedom. This touched me because it is so hard to trace black people’s ancestry due to slavery so it is awesome when you can and discover your lineage. A childhood friend of mine, @lbrust, recently learned that his great great great grandfather is Dangerfield Newby. You will know him as DJANGO as depicted in the Quinton Tarantino movie starring Jamie Foxx as the title character.  This was incredible news to me as I cosplay this character. Dangerfield was born a slave in 1815 in Fauquier County, Virginia to a slave, Elsa Newby and a Scottish white slave master Henry Newby. Newby is my friend’s mother’s maiden name. Dangerfield, his mother and siblings were freed by his father and made a living as a blacksmith but his wife Harriet remained enslaved along with their seven children on a plantation in Warrenton, Virginia. Dangerfield had agreed upon a price with his wife’s slave master to free his wife and children. The price was $1500 which he saved for and after the slave master raised the price and was unable to secure his family’s freedom. He knew he could only free his family by force. Dangerfield was one of five black raiders to participate in John Brown’s raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia on October 17, 1859. This armed rebellion was meant to take over the arsenal in an effort to initiate a slave revolt in the Southern States.  During the raid Dangerfield was killed by a man who ran out of ammunition and inserted 6” spikes into his rifle and shot him in the throat. After being killed his body was stabbed repeatedly by multiple men and all of his limbs were amputated. His body was then left in an alley to be eaten by hogs. A letter from his wife was found on his body. Harriet’s letter proved instrumental in advancing the abolitionist cause. The raid on Harper Ferry is also called the dress rehearsal for the Civil War. His family was sold to white slave owners in Louisiana after the raid. Dangerfield Newby’s descendants are still alive today. I am proud to know some of them. 

Great work researching all of this and uncovering this history.  Imagine the history that most blacks can’t trace their lineage to due to our ancestors being enslaved.  I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have been asked where I am from and my answer is always America but what they really mean is where in Africa. 

This is the letter that was found on his body from his wife:

BRENTVILLE, August 16, 1859.
Dear Husband.
I want you to buy me as soon as possible for if you do not get me somebody else will. The servants are very disagreeable. They do all that they can to set my mistress against me. Dear Husband you are not the trouble I see these last two years. It has been like a troubled dream to me. It is said that the Master is in want of monney. If so I know not what time he may sell me. Then all my bright hopes of the future are blasted. For there has been one bright hope to cheer me in all my troubles, that is to be with you. For if I thought I should never see you on this earth, life would have no charm for me. Do all you can for me which I have no doubt you will. I want to see you so much. The children are all well. The baby cannot walk yet. The baby can step around any thing by holding on to it, very much like Agnes. I must bring my letter to close as I have no news to write. You must write soon and say when you think you can come

Your affectionate Wife

If this didn’t make you at least tear up I don’t know what to say.