Civil War Library

Original Union and Confederate Books, Manuscripts and Photographs

Updated February 11, 2018

Abolitionists and Anti-Slavery Activists by Profession


 

Clerics and Clergy

 

Note: List in progress.

 

CORNISH, Reverend Samuel E., 1795-1858, free African American, New York City and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, abolitionist leader, clergyman, publisher, editor, journalist. Published The Colonization Scheme Considered and its Rejection by Colored People and A Remonstrance Against the Abuse of Blacks, 1826.  Co-editor, Freedom’s Journal, first African American newspaper.  Editor, The Colored American, 1837-1839.  Leader and founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society.  In 1840, joined the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society.

GARNET, Henry Highland, 1815-1882, abolitionist leader, clergyman, diplomat, member Liberty Party, African American, former fugitive slave, published The Past and Present Condition and Destiny of the Colored Race, 1848.

MAY, Reverend Samuel Joseph, 1797-1871, Connecticut, reformer, Unitarian minister.  Vice president and founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society, December 1833.  Agent of the New England Anti-Slavery Society.  Active in Underground Railroad in Syracuse, New York.  Early supporter of William Lloyd Garrison.

PHELPS, Reverend Amos Augustus, 1805-1847, Boston, Massachusetts, clergyman. Manager and founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society, December 1833.  Editor, Emancipation. Husband of abolitionist Charlotte Phelps.

WELD, Theodore Dwight, 1803-1895, Cincinnati, Ohio, reformer, anti-slavery lobbyist.  Co-founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society in December 1833.  Published American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses (1839).  Also wrote The Bible Against Slavery (1839) and Slavery and the Internal Slave Trace in the United States (London, 1841).  Married to abolitionist Angelina Grimké.)

WILSON, Hiram V., abolitionist, cleric, agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, Ohio.  Helped set up schools and aid Blacks who escaped to Canada.  Founded British-American Manual Labor Institute of the Colored Settlements of Upper Canada.


 

Lawyers, Attorneys

 

Note: List in progress.

 

CHILD, David Lee, 1794-1874, Boston, Massachusetts, author, journalist.  Leader, manager and founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society, December 1833.  Published The Despotism of Freedom—or The Tyranny and Cruelty of American Republican Slaveholders.  Co-editor with his wife, Lydia, of The Anti-Slavery Standard.

GIDDINGS, Joshua Reed, 1795-1865, lawyer, statesman, U.S. Congressman, Whig from Ohio, elected in 1838. First abolitionist elected to House of Representatives. Worked to eliminate “gag rule,” which prohibited anti-slavery petitions. Served until 1859.  Leader and founder of the Republican Party. Argued that slavery in territories and District of Columbia was unlawful.  Active in Underground Railroad.  Was censured by the House of Representatives for his opposition to slavery.  Opposed Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and against further expansion of slavery into the new territories acquired during the Mexican War of 1846.

LORING, Ellis Gray, 1803-1858, Boston, Massachusetts, lawyer.  Manager and founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society, December 1833. Husband to abolitionist Louisa Loring of the BFASS.

PHILLIPS, Wendell, 1811-1884, lawyer, orator, reformer, abolitionist leader, Native American advocate.  Member of the American Anti-Slavery Society.  Called “abolition’s golden trumpet.”  Member of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.  Advocate of Free Produce movement.


 

Merchants

 

Note: List in progress.

 

JACKSON, Francis, Boston, Massachusetts, merchant, Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society (BFASS)

MOTT, James, 1778-1868, philanthropist, merchant, Society of Friends, Quaker, abolitionist, American Anti-Slavery Society, Free Produce Society of Pennsylvania, Association for Advocating the Cause of the Slave, husband of Lucretia Mott.

TAPPAN, Arthur, 1786-1865, New York City, merchant, radical abolitionist leader, educator.  Co-founder and president of the American Anti-Slavery Society, December 1833.

TAPPAN, Lewis, 1788-1873, New York, merchant, radical abolitionist leader.  Co-founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society, December 1833.  Leader of the Philadelphia Free Produce Association.  Wrote Life.


 

Large Landowners

 

Note: List in progress.

 

CLAY, Cassius Marcellus, 1810-1903, Madison County, Kentucky, emancipationist, large landowner, statesman, lawyer, diplomat, soldier, newspaper publisher. Prominent anti-slavery activist with Kentucky State legislature and member of the Republican Party.  Published anti-slavery paper, True American, in Lexington, Kentucky.

SMITH, Gerrit, 1797-1874, New York, large landowner, reformer, philanthropist, radical abolitionist, supporter of the American Colonization Society, Anti-Slavery Society, active in the Underground Railroad, member Liberty Party, Pennsylvania Free Produce Association, secretly supported radical abolitionist John Brown


 

Newspaper Publishers and Editors

 

Note: List in progress.

 

ALLEN, William G., free Black abolitionist, publisher and editor. Manager and founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society in December 1833.  Publisher with Henry Highland Garnet of The National Watchman, Troy, New York, founded 1842.

BAILEY, William S., newspaper editor of the Newport News in Newport, Kentucky.  In the 1850s, his newspaper office was wrecked and his home burned down by angry mobs.  Opposed slavery and said, “The system of slavery enslaves all who labor for an honest living.”

BELL, Philip Alexander, 1808-1889, African American abolitionist, editor, journalist, civic leader.  Member of the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS).  Subscription Agent for abolitionist newspaper, Liberator.  Active in Underground Railroad.  Editor, “Weekly Advocate” and later assisted with “Colored American” early Black newspapers.  Founded “National Council of Colored People,” one of the first African American civil rights organizations.

BIRNEY, James Gillespie, 1792-1857, statesman, orator, writer, attorney, newspaper publisher and editor, the Philanthropist, founded 1836.  On two occasions, mobs in Cincinnati attacked and wrecked his newspaper office.  Founder and president of the Liberty Party in 1848.  Third party presidential candidate, 1840, 1844.  Founder University of Alabama.  Native American rights advocate.  Member of the American Colonization Society.  Executive director of the American Anti-Slavery Society.  His writings include: “Ten Letters on Slavery and Colonization,” (1832-1833), “Addresses and Speeches,” (1835), “Vindication of the Abolitionists,” (1835), “The Philanthropist,” a weekly newspaper (1836-1837), “Address of Slaveholders,” (1836), “Argument on Fugitive Slave Case,” (1837), “Political Obligations of Abolitionists,” (1839), “American Churches the Bulwarks of American Slavery,” (1840), and “Speeches in England,” (1840).

CLAY, Cassius Marcellus, 1810-1903, Madison County, Kentucky, emancipationist, large landowner, statesman, lawyer, diplomat, soldier, newspaper publisher. Prominent anti-slavery activist with Kentucky State legislature and member of the Republican Party.  Published anti-slavery paper, True American, in Lexington, Kentucky.

CORNISH, Reverend Samuel E., 1795-1858, free African American, New York City and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, abolitionist leader, clergyman, publisher, editor, journalist. Published The Colonization Scheme Considered and its Rejection by Colored People and A Remonstrance Against the Abuse of Blacks, 1826.  Co-editor, Freedom’s Journal, first African American newspaper.  Editor, The Colored American, 1837-1839.  Leader and founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society.  In 1840, joined the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society.

DELANY, Martin Robinson, 1812-1885, free African American, publisher, editor, journalist, writer, physician, soldier. Publisher of abolitionist newspaper, North Star in Rochester, New York, with Fredrick Douglass. Published The Condition, Elevation, Emigration and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States, 1852. Published The Ram’s Horn in New York.  Supported colonization of African Americans in 1854. Led National Emigration Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1854.  Recruited thousands of African Americans for service in the Civil War.  First African American major in the U.S. Army.

DOUGLASS, Frederick, 1817-1895, escaped slave, author, diplomat, orator, newspaper publisher, radical abolitionist leader.  Published The North Star abolitionist newspaper with Martin Delany.  Wrote Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas: An American Slave, in 1845.  Also wrote My Bondage, My Freedom, 1855.

GARNET, Henry Highland, 1815-1882, African American, abolitionist leader, clergyman, diplomat, publisher.  Member Liberty Party.  Former fugitive slave.  Published The Past and Present Condition and Destiny of the Colored Race, 1848.  Publisher with William G. Allen of The National Watchman, Troy, New York, founded 1842.

GARRISON, William Lloyd, 1805-1879, journalist, printer, abolitionist leader.  Founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society, December 1833.  Founder, editor, Liberator, weekly newspaper founded in 1831, published through December 1865.

GREELEY, Horace, 1811-1872, journalist, newspaper publisher, The New York Tribune. American Anti-Slavery Society. Major opponent of slavery. Co-founder, Liberal Republican Party in 1854.  Supporter of the Union.

LOVEJOY, Elijah Parrish, 1802-1837, newspaper publisher, editor, abolitionist leader, founded Illinois Anti-Slavery Society.  Murdered by anti-abolitionists.

LUNDY, Benjamin, 1789-1839, philanthropist, Society of Friends, Quaker, radical abolitionist leader, anti-slavery author and editor, American Anti-Slavery Society, organized Union Humane Society, St. Clairsville, Ohio, in 1815, New Jersey, newspaper publisher, Genius of Universal Emancipation.

MYERS, Stephen, 1800-?, African American, newspaper editor and publisher, abolitionist freed from slavery in his youth.  Chairman of the Vigilance Committee of Albany, New York, which aided fugitive slaves.  His home was a station on the Underground Railroad.  Worked with leading African American abolitionist, Frederick Douglass.  Community leader in Albany, New York.  Publisher of the newspaper, The Elevator.  Also published The Northern Star and Freeman’s Advocate.

PHELPS, Reverend Amos Augustus, 1805-1847, Boston, Massachusetts, clergyman, editor. Manager and founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society, December 1833.  Editor, Emancipation and The National Era. Husband of abolitionist Charlotte Phelps.

RUGGLES, David, 1810-1849, New York, journalist, publisher, editor, anti-slavery activist and abolitionist leader, free African American.  Founded Mirror of Liberty, first Black magazine.  Active in the New York Committee of Vigilance and the Underground Railroad, which aided fugitive slaves.  Advocate of Free Produce movement.  Wrote pamphlet, “The Extinguisher.”  Contributed articles to abolitionist newspapers, The Emancipator and The Liberator.

RUSSWURM, John Brown, 1799-1851, anti-slavery newspaper editor.  Editor of Freedom’s Journal and, later, Rights of All.

WHITTIER, John Greenleaf, 1807-1892, Haverhill, Massachusetts, poet, journalist, newspaper publisher and editor, Society of Friends, Quaker, radical abolitionist.  Publisher and editor of the Pennsylvania Freeman.  Founding member and secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society.  Leader and active with the Liberty Party.  Member, Free Soil Party.  Called for immediate abolition of slavery in the United States.


 

Printers

 

Note: List in progress.

 

GARRISON, William Lloyd, 1805-1879, journalist, printer, abolitionist leader.  Founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society, December 1833.  Founder, editor, Liberator, weekly newspaper founded in 1831, published through December 1865.

JOHNSON, Oliver, 1809-1889, anti-slavery leader, newspaper editor, printer, reformer.  An early supporter of William Lloyd Garrison.  Occasionally helped Garrison in the editing of The Liberator.  In 1832, co-founded the New England Anti-Slavery Society.  Lectured extensively against slavery.  Johnson edited various anti-slavery newspapers, including the National Anti-Slavery Standard, the Pennsylvania Freeman, and the Anti-Slavery Bugle.

KNAPP, Isaac, Boston, Massachusetts, printer.  Manager and founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society, December 1833.  African American, abolitionist


 

Industrial Entrepreneurs

 

Note: List in progress.

 

ATKINSON, Edward, 1827-1905, industrial entrepreneur, abolitionist, activist.  Opposed slavery as a supporter of the Free Soil Party.  Also a member of the Boston Vigilance Committee, which aided fugitive slaves.  Atkinson also supported John Brown’s efforts by supplying him rifles and ammunition for his raid on the US arsenal at Harpers Ferry in 1859.  Opposed Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt’s imperialist ambitions in the Philippines and in Cuba.  After 1898, became a full-time supporter of the American Anti-imperialist League.

FORBES, John Murray, 1813-1898, industrial entrepreneur, abolitionist, philanthropist, American railroad magnate.  President of the Michigan Central Railroad and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad.  Opposed the introduction of slavery into Kansas and supplied money and weapons to the cause.  Forbes was an elector for Abraham Lincoln in 1860.


 

Poets

 

Note: List in progress.

 

BRYANT, William Cullen, 1794-1874, author, poet, editor.  Wrote antislavery poetry.

EMERSON, Ralph Waldo, 1803-1882, author, poet, abolitionist. Wrote antislavery poetry.

HARPER, Frances Ellen Watkins, 1825-1911, African American, poet, writer, abolitionist, political activist. Wrote antislavery poetry.

LONGFELLOW, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882, poet. Wrote antislavery poetry.

LOWELL, James Russell, 1819-1891, poet, essayist, journalist, anti-slavery activist. Wrote antislavery poetry.

THOREAU, Henry David, 1817-1862, poet, author of Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854), reformer and anti-slavery activist.  Wrote antislavery poetry.  Gave lectures and wrote on slavery’s immorality.  Wrote anti-slavery essay, “Reform and the Reformers” and “Herald of Freedom.”  Advocate of passive resistance to civil government.  Active participant in Underground Railroad.  Supporter of radical abolitionist John Brown.

WHITMAN, Walt, poet. Wrote antislavery poetry.

WHITTIER, John Greenleaf, 1807-1892, Haverhill, Massachusetts, poet, journalist, newspaper publisher and editor, Society of Friends, Quaker, radical abolitionist.  Wrote antislavery poetry.  Publisher and editor of the Pennsylvania Freeman.  Founding member and secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society.  Leader and active with the Liberty Party.  Member, Free Soil Party.  Called for immediate abolition of slavery in the United States.