Antislavery Autobiographies and the Unfinished Work of Emancipation
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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As everyone who has undertaken a major research and writing project knows, the completed book would never have been possible without sup-port and critical feedback from colleagues, friends, librarians, family mem-bers, students, and, in my case, unnamed readers for the University of North Carolina Press. I wish to thank all those who helped to make the ...
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...1869 Samuel J. May, Some Recollections of Our Antislavery ConflictJohn Quincy Adams, Narrative of the Life of John Quincy Adams, 1873 William Webb, The History of William Webb, Composed by Himself1875 Centennial Anniversary of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in ...
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In 1874, John Greenleaf Whittier, one of the poets of the abolitionist move-ment, contributed an article to the Atlantic Monthly in which he recalled the founding of the American Anti-Slavery Society (aas) forty-one years earlier. The small group forming this organization, one of the most important bod-ies committed to eliminating American slavery, realized that it was prob-...
RITUAL REMEMBRANCES I: The Dissolution of the Antislavery Societies
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In 1865, only weeks after the Civil War’s end, reform, religious, and be-nevolent organizations held their annual meetings in New York City. Long one of the high points of the benevolent and reform calendar, Anniversary Week, as it was called, had traditionally drawn throngs of outsiders to the city. Conversations and debates with old and new acquaintances, the trans-...
CHAPTER 1 The First Recollections
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...debate within the American Anti-Slavery Society over the question of dis-bandment, he saw the success of those wishing to continue the Society as “a victory of sentiment” by a group that was out of touch with reality. What Wendell Phillips, Frederick Douglass, Samuel J. May, and the new Executive Board of the aas “seemed to forget,” Curtis affirmed, was “that the whole ...
CHAPTER 2 Fugitives as Part of Abolitionist History
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In 1870 and 1871, Harper’s Weekly featured an advertisement for plaster statuary suitable for display in genteel parlors. The piece pictured, created by the popular sculptor John Rogers, was called “The Fugitive’s Story” and featured a female fugitive slave recounting her adventures to several well-known abolitionists, including John G. Whittier and William ...
RITUAL REMEMBRANCES II: Reunions
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Soon after the antislavery societies disbanded, abolitionists began to gather to commemorate their long years in the antislavery struggle, to regain the sense of camaraderie that reform commitments had once provided, and to ensure that their memories lived on in the hearts and minds of a new gener-ation. In 1874, western abolitionists held what they hoped would be the first ...
CHAPTER 3 “Nigger Thieves”: Whites and the Underground Railroad
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...he received a letter inquiring whether his book would include accounts of Underground Railroad activities in Illinois and Missouri, stories the writer believed were among the most “thrilling” fugitive tales.1 Still was in no posi-tion to provide information on the workings of the midwestern network so far from his own base in Philadelphia and had “deemed it best . . . to confine ...
CHAPTER 4 Defending the Past: The 1880s
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In 1887, a story titled “Mrs. Stowe’s ‘Uncle Tom’ at Home in Ken-tucky” appeared in Century magazine. An illustration showing a slave owner reaching into his pocket for coins for three black boys captured the spirit of the piece. The author, James Lane Allen, had grown up in Kentucky and suffered through the years of war and Reconstruction. Now he looked ...
RITUAL REMEMBRANCES III: The Last Gatherings
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December held a special place in the prewar antislavery calendar. It was during this month in 1833 that the American Anti-Slavery Society (aas) was founded, a milestone event in the movement for immediate emancipation. December was also the month during which the Philadelphia and Boston female antislavery societies hosted their great annual fairs. These festive ...
CHAPTER 5 The Remembrance Is Like a Dream: Reminiscences of the 1890s
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Surviving abolitionists who had hoped to eliminate both slavery and racial prejudice and also to provide free blacks with civil rights must have found the 1890s a depressing decade.1 Even the words that once signi-fied deep moral and racial commitments were losing old meanings. Cen-tury’s editor hailed civil service reformers as modern abolitionists who had ...
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Mary Grew had never undertaken to write the story of her life. But she did compose the history of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society and participate in the process of collective reminiscences when she attended antislavery reunions. At the age of seventy-nine, she was still appearing and speaking in public. She told her old friend Elizabeth Gay in 1893 that she ...
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Page Count: 352
Illustrations: 11 illus.
Publication Year: 2008