Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett (1833-1908)
Bassett became one of the city’s leading voices for the liberation of millions of black slaves. In spite of the controversy, Ebenezer Bassett opened the doors of ICY to become a locale in the city for recruiting black soldiers. He hastened to invite in many of the national civil rights leaders that now had become his close contacts. Just days after the Battle of Gettysburg, Bassett and other black leaders organized a recruiting drive for black soldiers. Bassett had the honor of being the second speaker of the night, presenting a resolution and making his speech immediately preceding Frederick Douglass...
"...Men of Color, to Arms! Now or Never! This is our golden moment. The Government of the United States calls for every able-bodied colored man to enter the army for the three years' service, and join in fighting the battles of liberty and the Union. A new era is open to us. For generations we have suffered under the horrors of slavery, outrage, and wrong; our manhood has been denied, our citizenship blotted out, our souls seared and burned, our spirits cowed and crushed, and the hopes of the future of our race involved in doubts and darkness. But how the whole aspect of our relations to the white race is changed! Now, therefore, is our most precious moment. Let us rush to arms! Fail now, and our race is doomed on this soil of our birth...."
As Ambassador to Haiti, Bassett is credited with saving the life of a man who would later become the elected president of Haiti: General Pierre Theoma Boisrond Canal (shown right).
Bassett was a distinguished teacher in Connecticut before becoming principal of the Philadelphia Institute for C no-repeat center center fixed; -webkit-background-size: cover; -moz-background-size: cover; -o-background-size: cover; background-size: cover; olored Youth (ICY), which later became Cheyney University, the oldest of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Cheyney was founded in 1837 by Richard Humphreys, from on the British Virgin Island of Tortola. Bassett's successor as princip00000al of Cheyney was Fanny Jackson Coppin, the first African American woman to head a school. Bassett served as the University's second president from (1858-1869). He died December 9, 1908.