AFRICAN AMERICANS AND THE ABOLITION MOVEMENT

     Before the American Revolution, only 40 of the 1,394 African Americans living in Monmouth County were free with 97% enslaved.  In the mid-1700s, however, religious groups such as the Quakers began to push for the end of slavery in New Jersey.  Finally in 1804, the New Jersey legislature passed a law that gradually abolished slavery in the state over the next twenty years.
Click here to read some of the Slavery Debates in Colonial New Jersey.
     Freedom was often difficult and dangerous for enslaved African Americans to obtain before the end of the Civil War.  Unless they were fortunate to be freed upon their masters' death, slaves had no choice but to run away and try and find a route to freedom in the North.  Free black and sympathetic whites began to organize escape routes for slaves up North as far as Canada. Sadly, only a few thousand of the millions of slaves living in the South were successful in escaping. 

     These escape attempts north became known as the “Underground Railroad.” It was, in fact,  neither a railroad, nor underground, but rather an organization of a series of safe houses in which blacks could seek refuge on their way north.  Two key figures in organizing the “Underground Railroad” were, escaped slaves themselves, Harriet Tubman and Josiah Henson.

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Click Thumbnail to See Routes of Underground Railroad

BLACK LEADERS OF THE ANTI-SLAVERY MOVEMENT

    

Harriett Tubman escaped from slavery and returned South 19 times to lead 300 slaves to freedom Isabella Baumfree worked as a free domestic servant until she was 46 years old and heard a call from God to help end slavery.  She chose a new name, Sojourner Truth, "because I was to travel up and down the land [and] because I was to declare the truth to the people."  In her journies across the United States, she was a powerful speaker against slavery and was a good friend of Frederick Douglass.

THE FATHER OF THE ANTI-SLAVERY MOVEMENT, FREDERICK DOUGLASS  

     A brilliant writer and speaker, Frederick Douglass was the leader of the African American movement against slavery.  His persuasive manner and inspirational writings and speeches led many white Americans to call for the end of slavery before the Civil War.

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DARING SLAVE ESCAPES

Click On Thumbnails to See Escapes


WHITE LEADERS OF THE ANTI-SLAVERY MOVEMENT, 1820s-1850s    

William Lloyd Garrison: Author of The Liberator

The masthead of William Lloyd Garrison's anti-slavery newspaper was as uncompromising as the editor himself. "I come to break the bonds of the oppressor," it proclaimed, with Jesus as the figurehead.  Aboloitionists liked to portray the free north as heaven and the slave owning south as hell, but the comparison made tempers flare on both sides.

  Picture of  Masthead The Liberator

Potrait of Garrison

The Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society, 1851

Picture of Philadelpia Anti-Slavery Society

Author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Add for Stowe's Book

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Portrait of Stowe

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