JAMES MADISON BELL (1826 - 1902)
was a poet, orator, and activist who was born in Ohio.
Bell was a talented plasterer; he worked in the plastering trade for 40 years. In 1851, he and his brother-in-law, George Knight, who taught him the trade, was awarded the contract to plaster the Hamilton County public buildings in their hometown of Gallipolis.
During this time, Bell wrote, published, and gave public readings of his orations in verse. He also lectured nationwide for abolitionism and Black educational and legal rights.
In 1854, he moved with his family to Ontario, Canada, where he became involved with Underground Railroad activities. He soon became known for his poems and speeches against the ills of slavery.
Bell traveled extensively in Canada, and around the United States giving anti-slavery speaking engagements until 1890, when he settled down again, this time in Toledo, Ohio.
In 1901, he published a number of his poems in a book he titled, "The Poetical Works of James Madison Bell. He died a year later and was buried in Toledo.
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