Standard 12 AM History Project
By: Rachel Smith
Promoting the Abolition of Slavery welcomed Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush, who helped write the Society's new constitution, into their society. PAS's strategy of litigation on behalf of free blacks became more aggressive, and attempted to work more closely with the Free African Society in a wide range of social, political and educational activity.
William Lloyd Garrison started an abolitionist paper called The Liberator, which was the most influential work on antislavery in that time. After publishing his paper, he realized that the abolitionist movement needed to be organized better, so he helped form the New England Antislavery Society in 1832, later he founded the American Antislavery Society. These societies were national organizations dedicated to achieving abolition.
Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born into slavery, but when he was only 20 years old he made the riskiest journey of his life. With Frederick's new freedom he changed his name to Frederick Douglass. He was invited into the abolitionist movement in 1841 by William Coffin so Frederick could share his story at an antislavery convention in Massachusetts. Throughout his life, Frederick Douglass gave African Americans a chance to be accepted into society. He was one of the three black men accepted into Harvard Medical School, but the white students made a petition to have them removed which was successful. Realizing that his kind would never have an equal opportunity in the white society, he became an ardent nationalist. Later on he decided to help fight the civil war, towards the end of the war he became the first black officer on general's staff in the history of the U.S. Army.
Isabella Baumfree was also born a slave in New York, but she escaped with her infant daughter in 1826. In 1842 Isabella changed her name to Sojourner Truth. When she discovered her five year old son had been illegally sold to a man in Alabama, she took the issue to court. She was one of the first black women to successfully challenge a white man in court and win. In 1844 she joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry in Northampton, Massachusetts. During her stay in Massachusetts, she met a number of leading abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, and David Ruggles. Truth then traveled with abolitionist George Thompson, giving speeches to large crowds on the subjects of slavery and human rights.
Sarah and Angelina Grimké became leading activists for the abolitionist cause in the 1830s. The Grimke's sisters names were spread widely for their writings and they attracted attention for their speaking engagements.
Henry David Thoreau was a dedicated abolitionist. He's remembered for his philosophical a naturalist writings. After he finished college at Harvard he befriended writer and fellow Concord resident Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson exposed Thoreau to Transcendentalism, a school of thought that emphasizes the importance of empirical thinking and of spiritual matters over the physical world. Emerson became Thoreau's mentor and supported him in many ways. Throughout Thoreau's life, he wrote many pieces of work, but he is remembered for his writings on government.
Charles Sumner was a avowed abolitionist and was deeply committed in the cause of civil rights, he also later emerged as an antislavery leader in the late 1840s. Sumner was a Harvard-educated lawyer who had previously engaged in disarmament efforts and prison and school reforms. In 1849, Sumner argued for integrated public schools in Massachusetts. He also became active in political protests against Texas's annexation and the Mexican War. In 1848 he joined with the Whigs and Democrats to form the Free-Soil party, which was against slavery spreading throughout the U.S.
Uncle Tom's Cabin illustrated the effect of slavery on families and helped readers empathize with enslaved characters. It also contributed to the outbreak of war by personalizing the political and economic arguments about slavery.
Harriet Tubman was enslaved for 30 years until she escaped with the help of her white abolitionist neighbors, who gave her a slip of paper with a route to a safe house. After Harriet was freed, she returned to slave-holding states many times to free other slaves. She would safely lead them to free states in the north and to Canada.