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They answered Garrison's anti-slavery call

From my story in the Newburyport Daily News Oct 7 2014 They answered Garrison's anti slavery call



Pioneer abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison attracted a legion of revolutionaries who pressed total reform to “break the yoke of oppression.” Garrisonian satellite groups rose all over, crusading for social equality. The opposing public filled the editorial pages, calling Garrisonians “a farce,” not short of “Bedlam let loose,” subscribing to “hot headed ravings of an insane man.”


Andover Theology School and Phillips Academy ordered Abolition Society (A.S.) meetings to cease “as they did not wish to identify with Garrison’s imprudence.”


On the issue of slavery, the order was “not to pray about it publicly.” Nevertheless, over 50 of the firebrand fellows joined an A.S. off campus and were expelled. Two of the Andover “defiers,” Richard Rust and Gilbert Pillsbury, enrolled in the progressive Noyes Academy in N.H.



Both men would play an instrumental role in the abolitionist movement. Rust helped set up Wilberforce University, the first college to be owned and operated by African Americans.

He established Rust College, offering teacher training for freed slaves, and went on to organize 14 others. Pillsbury was elected commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau of South Carolina.


His wife, Ann Francis Ray, opened a school for black students that included the Grimké brothers. The Pillsbury family also sponsored them, sending Archibald to Harvard and Francis to Princeton. Both became co-founders of the NAACP.


Francis and Archibald Grimké From The Earnest Protest of Francis Grimké


Charles Lenox. Remond, a black lawyer from Salem, won the favor of those “generally dark on the issue of slavery and prejudice” with his compelling speeches. He was a global reformer, and society ladies from Bangor to Newport financed his travels. On one mission, Redmond brought back 60,000 signatures endorsed by the lord mayor of Dublin encouraging Irishmen in America to oppose slavery and “insist on liberty for all regardless of color, creed, or country.”


Charles Lenox Remond (February 1, 1810 – December 22, 1873) was an American orator, activist and abolitionist based in Massachusetts.


During the Civil War, Remond recruited soldiers for the black regiments while Garrison and his associates raised funds to support them.


His sister, Sarah Parker Remond, a brilliant orator and gutsy woman, challenged discrimination on all levels.


Sarah Parker Remond (1826-1894) From ‘Bury Me Not in a Land of Slaves’: Unsung Legacy of Frances Harper & Sara Remond


In 1853, Sarah Remond made national headlines when she filed suit against Boston Howard Athenaeum. The opera house forcibly evicted her when she declined her seat in the segregated area. She won and was awarded $500.


While overseas, Sarah Remond sparred with the American Embassy in London when denied a passport to France due to her color. She remedied the matter by contacting the press. When the buzz circulated, the British foreign secretary approved her visa. She got her medical degree and established a successful practice in Italy.



Charles C. Burleigh (photo from Library of congress) met Mary Moody Emerson at a lecture and aroused her with Garrison’s valiant deeds, and by the end of the evening she declared: “he out be canonized!” Some sources suggest Burleigh’s long flowing beard and sandy ringlets may have sealed the deal.

Mary Emerson rallied her Concord friends like Lousia Alcott and Lidian Emerson to raise a handsome sum to aid fugitive slaves.


The Anthony Burns case, where a fugitive slave was recaptured in Boston, tried and sent back to slavery, fueled anti-slavery sentiment and Garrison publicly burned a copy of the Fugitive Slave Act.


Amos A. Lawrence was one of the many who redeemed his “old fashioned, Whig conservative” ways and “woke up a stark mad Abolitionist.” J. B. Swasey was “a new convert and a very zealous one” (Charlotte Forten Grimke). Many noted he lit up the Port during his speeches.


Caleb Cushing’s “zeal and ability” to defend the abolitionist cause was not above board, as he “failed to remember the pledges” he promised. Cushing’s attempt to suppress his antislavery record and gain power with the Whig party was quickly diminished by John Greenleaf Whittier, who reprinted a telling letter from Cushing with a witty preface, sinking his ambitions.


The petition to boot Judge Edward G. Loring from the bench over the Anthony Burns tragedy put Cushing back in the arena. The newspapers printed his performance, praising him as he brought down the house with his attacks on Garrison, “a half insane colored man,” and a few “possessed with monomania” as representative of the true commonwealth. Cushing was wrong, as Loring was disrobed and had lost the confidence of the people.


In the first edition of The Liberator Garrison wrote: I WILL BE HEARD! He was heard and so were his soul sparkers. They spoke “in a slumbering nation’s ear,” and “the fetter’s link” was broken!


PHOTO: Abolitionist group at Lucy Stone's house, undated. Picture includes: Samuel May, William Lloyd Garrison, Elizabeth B. Chase, Francis Garrison, Sarah Stone, Samuel E. Sewall, George T. Garrison, Zilpha H. Spooner, Wendell P. Garrison, Henry B. Blackwell and Theodore D. Weld. By Notman Photograph Company, Boston, Massachusetts. Photograph courtesy of the Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts. Author's note: The reference to William Lloyd Garrison in this citation is probably to his son William Lloyd Garrison Jr. From Commonplace Journal of American Experience



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