The village of Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, in southern Jefferson County, is on the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a National Historic Landmark District of the Underground Railroad. It was a primary stop on the Underground Railroad. The first abolitionist newspaper in the U.S., the Philanthropist, was published there.
It was the site of Ohio’s first abolitionist convention. It was the home to Moses Fleetwood Walker, the first African American to play major league professional baseball. The first 12 years of my education were at Mt. Pleasant public school and while the school no longer stands the historic significance of Mt. Pleasant lives on even though in my youth I gave this little thought. The town was established in 1803 and was home to many Quakers who came there to escape the slavery controversy.
The local residents built a school for free black children, and established a Free Labor Store in 1857. The store sold no products that were produced by slave labor.
By 1820, the village was a center for pork packing and shipping and for the milling industry. It also boasted the largest wheat market in the state. Every Sunday morning we pass this store on our way to church and beside it a plaque honoring Moses Fleetwood Walker. Walker was born Oct. 7, 1857, in Mt. Pleasant. His mother Caroline, and father, Moses W., were both of mixed race. The boy everyone would come to call “Fleet” was their fifth child.
During Fleet’s childhood the family moved from the peaceful village of Mt. Pleasant to the bustling city of Steubenville, where the elder Walker took up the practice of medicine. The Walker children were educated in black schools until Steubenville’s school system integrated. After that, Fleet and his brother Weldy attended Steubenville High. Their father later became a minister, and was one of the wealthiest and most highly regarded black professionals in the state.
Walker enrolled in Oberlin College in 1878, a school nationally recognized for its admission policy regarding women and blacks. His freshman year featured solid academics, budding romance and a growing interest in baseball. By his sophomore year, girls and baseball were taking up most of his time, a fact reflected in his grades. In the spring of 1881,
Oberlin fielded a baseball squad, its first intercollegiate team of any kind. The catcher played so well that he was recruited to attend the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor the following year. He accepted and being a persuasive orator decided to study law at Michigan.
Moses Fleetwood Walker would endure great prejudice and hardship through his baseball career and in 1908 the embittered Walker would publish a book, Our Home Colony, which called for black emigration back to Africa as the only alternative racial prejudice. Fleet would end up back in Cadiz, Ohio, where he and his wife Ednah would run the Cadiz Opera House. In July 1820, Walker, drawing on his mechanical engineering roots from Oberlin, was able to patent and sell his reel changing device which would speed up the process of reel changing in movie theaters.
Walker died May 11, 1924, in Cleveland.
Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers claims. USDA and FSA remind Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who allege discrimination by USDA in past decades that there are 45 days remaining in the filing period which closes March 25. The process offers a voluntary alternative to litigation for each Hispanic or female farmer and rancher who can prove that USDA denied his or her application for loan or loan servicing assistance for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000.
Claimants may register for a claims package by calling the telephone number below Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. eastern time or by downloading the forms from the website at www.farmerclaims.gov or call 888-508-4429.
As always you can call your local FSA office for more information.
That’s all for now,