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William Apess
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    (1798-1839)
    Born in Colrain, Massachusetts
    Mixed-race Pequot Indian
    Native-American writer, activist, and religious leader
    Ordained as a Methodist minister in 1829
    Organizer of the historic Mashpee Revolt of 1833-34, arguably the first and only successful Indian rebellion against Colonial rule in American history
    Best known for his autobiography, 'A Son of the Forest: The Experience of William Apes, A Native of the Forest, Comprising a Notice of the Pequod Tribe of Indians, Written by Himself' (1829)
    Also wrote 'Indian Looking Glass for the White Man,' 'The Indian Nullification,' 'The Increase of the Kingdom of Christ,' and 'Eulogy on King Philip'
    Widely believed to have been the most successful activist on behalf of Native American rights in the antebellum United States
    Died in poverty, at the age of 41, likely of a stroke, while living in New York City with his second wife and their children (1839)
    Little is known about his later years.
    He struggled with alcoholism his entire life.
    He generally signed his name with only one '-s' at the end ('Apes'), only adding a second one near the end of his career.
    For years, he claimed to be descended from King Philip, or Chief Metacomet, when he wasn't.
    This was mainly evident because he regularly identified Metacomet as a Pequot, when he was actually a Wampanoag.
    He couldn't decide whether he wanted to be an Episcopalian or a Methodist preacher.
    Some of his writings have been described as sarcastic to the point of sounding like Juvenalian satire.
    His career waned in the late 1830s, when he found himself alienated by both Euro-Americans and Indian tribes (he disappeared from New England soon after, never to be heard from again).
    His life and work was appropriated (or a better word might be 'commandeered') by radical revisionist educator, Howard Zinn.
    His mother was allegedly of African ancestry.
    When his parents separated, he was left in the care of his alcoholic grandparents, who abused him (his sister almost starved to death).
    The law eventually stepped in to relocate him with an adoptive family, but they abused him, too.
    His attempts to run away failed, and resulted in his being sold off as a slave to a string of harsh masters.
    He served in the War of 1812 (and, predictably, encountered white racism on his return from service).
    He was credited with fostering American opposition to President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal policies.
    He physically fought a landowner he worked for after he refused to pay him for services rendered because he was an Indian.
    He came the closest to being an American Indian counterpart to Frederick Douglass (literate, well-spoken, and unafraid to challenge the established order).
    He authored the first major autobiography by an American Indian (and possibly one of the first wholly written American books, of any genre).
    He leant a human face to the displaced state of the Pequot nation, crippled by decades of poverty and white hostility.
    His literary skills were clever in that he was able to condemn Euro-American racism but disguising it as praise.
    He advanced the, then radical, notion as a preacher that Christ had died for all humanity regardless of 'age, sect, color, country, or situation.'
    He led the Mashpee Revolt to help the tribes assert their land rights, and was jailed for several months, attraction national attention to the cause (their demands were eventually met, largely due to him).
    His belated King Philip Eulogy delivered in Boston, which lionized Metacomet as a George Washington-type and condemned the Chief's assassination and the ethnic cleansing which followed, unsurprisingly resulted in his being driven out of all polite circles of New England society.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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