Downtown African American Heritage Signage Program

Alfred Russell-
From Slavery to Liberation

Sign # 10 535 W. Second Street

Alfred Francis Russell (1817 - 1884) was the 10th President of Liberia. He lived with his mother Milly Crawford in Glendower where they were enslaved. With a legal maneuver and a court case with the Todd family (including Abraham Lincoln), Polly Todd Russell Wickliffe emancipated Milly and fourteen-year-old Alfred in 1833.

Glendower

Through Wickliffe's donations to the American Colonization Society, Milly and Alfred eventually sailed to the west coast of Africa (formerly Bassa country). Despite illness, hardship, and limited resources, the young Alfred Russell soon became a teacher, farmer and Episcopalian minister in the new Republic. The Reverend Alfred Russell wrote to slaveowner Robert Wickliffe in 1855 saying he was sad to hear of the death of "Mrs. Polly," and that he was proud to be of those "who chose Africa and became seekers of Liberty." Elected vice president in 1881, he then served as president from 1883 to 1884.

Alfred Russell

See Sign #11 545 N. Limestone Street

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