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Garrison, William Lloyd

William Lloyd Garrison (December 10, 1805 – May 24, 1879) – Abolitionist and Editor of The Liberator   “I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation.… I am in earnest—I will not equivocate—I will not excuse—I…

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Hamilton, Elizabeth Schuyler

Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton by Jenny L. Presnell Introduction: Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton (9 Aug. 1757-9 Nov. 1854), statesman’s wife and charity worker, was born in Albany, New York, the second daughter of Philip Schuyler, a revolutionary war general, and Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler. Schooled at home, her early years were typical of most young women of colonial, aristocratic…

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Kelley, Abby

Abigail (Abby) Kelley was an influential Quaker anti-slavery reformer and a women rights activist who provided inspiration and courage to the women who organized the 1848 Seneca Falls Woman’s Rights Convention. Her activism in Seneca Falls led to the formation of the Wesleyan Methodist Congregation with their public anti-slavery stance and free speech commitment.

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Brown, John

John Brown was a controversial figure who played a major role in leading the United States to civil war. He was a devout Christian and lifelong abolitionist who tried to eradicate slavery from the United States through increasingly radical means. Unlike most abolitionists, Brown was not a pacifist and he came to believe that violence was necessary to dislodge slavery. He engaged in violent battles with pro-slavery citizens in Kansas and Missouri, and led a raid on the federal munitions depot at Harper’s Ferry.

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No Compromise with the Evil of Slavery: A Speech by Wm. Garrison

In 1854, William Lloyd Garrison gave a speech in which he opened with: “I am a believer in that portion of the Declaration of American Independence in which it is set forth, as among self-evident truths, “that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Hence, I am an abolitionist. Hence, I cannot but regard oppression in every form-and most of all, that which turns a man into a thing–with indignation and abhorrence. Not to cherish these feelings would be recreancy to principle. They who desire me to be dumb on the subject of slavery, unless I will open my mouth in its defense, ask me to give the lie to my professions, to degrade my manhood, and to stain my soul. I will not be a liar, a poltroon, or a hypocrite, to accommodate any party, to gratify any sect, to escape any odium or peril, to save any interest, to preserve any institution, or to promote any object. Convince me that one man may rightfully make another man his slave, and I will no longer subscribe to the Declaration of Independence.”

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American Colonization Society (1816-1919*)

This Society was formed at Washington, near the last of December, 1816. Though the objects proposed by the Society had, for a considerable time previous to its origin, occupied the thoughts of several enlightened and benevolent individuals, still the Institution owes its origin mostly to the philanthropic efforts of Rev. Dr. Finley of New Jersey, aided by Rev. Samuel J. Mills, and a few others of a kindred spirit. The object to which the attention of the Society is exclusively directed, is to colonize, with their own consent, on the Coast of Africa, or such other place as Congress shall deem expedient, the people of colour in our country, already free–and those others, who may hereafter be liberated by the humanity of individuals, or the laws of the States.

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Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves 1807

The ten sections of the 1807 act were designed to eliminate all American participation in the trade. Section 1 set the tone. After January 1, 1808, it would “not be lawful to import or bring into the United States or the territories thereof from any foreign kingdom, place, or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, with intent to hold, sell, or dispose of such [person] … as a slave, to be held to service or labour.” The act provided an enormous penalty — up to $20,000 — for anyone building a ship for the trade or fitting out an existing ship to be used in the trade.

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Wright, Frances (1795-1852)

Frances Wright was the first woman in America to act publicly against slavery: in 1825 she bought a tract of land twenty miles outside a little Mississippi River trading post named Memphis, and there she established a commune she called Nashoba. Its purpose was to discover and then to demonstrate how slaves could be responsibly educated and then freed without undue cost to their owners. (To impose a disproportionate burden on one part of the nation when the institution of slavery plagued and disgraced us all seemed to Fanny Wright both unfair and politically unwise. Her political sense, such as it was, deserted her, however, when she published an article about Nashoba claiming that sexual passion was “the strongest and…the noblest of the human passions,” the basis of “the best joys of our existence,” and “the best source of human happiness.” This at a time when allowing an ankle to show in public doomed a woman’s reputation.)

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Twilight, Alexander (1795 – 1857)

For the next twelve years he learned reading, writing and math skills while performing various farming duties. He was able to save enough (probably with some assistance from the farmer for whom he labored) to enroll in Randolph’s Orange County Grammar School in 1815 at the age of 20. During the next six years (1815-1821) he completed not only the secondary school courses but also the first two years of a college level curriculum. Following his graduation from Randolph he was accepted at Middlebury College, entering as a junior in August of 1821. Two years later he received his bachelor’s degree. Middlebury College claims him to be the first African-American to earn a baccalaureate degree from an American college or university.

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