1-10 of 10 results  for:

  • 1775–1800: The American Revolution and Early Republic x
  • Literature and Journalism x
  • Antislavery Activist x
Clear all

Article

Christopher Campbell

London‐born poet, printer, visionary, and ‘prophet against empire’. Over the course of his lifetime Blake confronted the horrors of slavery through his literary and pictorial art. He was able both to counter pro‐slavery propaganda and to complicate typical abolitionist verse and sentiment with a profound and unique exploration of the effects of enslavement and the varied processes of empire.

Blake's poem ‘The Little Black Boy’ from Songs of Innocence (1789 examines the mind forg d manacles of racial constructions in the minds of individuals both in the poem itself in the form of the black child and his white counterpart and also in the minds of those involved in the political dispute over abolition Seeming to explain a desire for racial acceptance and spiritual purity through assimilation into white British society and seeming also to be endorsing conventional assumptions of white racial superiority the poem ...

Article

Janice L. Greene

antislavery memoirist and lecturer, Civil War veteran, and first black elected to the Common Council of Cambridge, Massachusetts, was one of ten children born into slavery in Madison County, Kentucky, on the plantation of his maternal grandfather Samuel Campbell. One of Milton's older brothers was the noted abolitionist Lewis G. Clarke. Also known as J. Milton Clark(e) and John M. Clark, Milton was the eighth child of Campbell's biracial daughter Letitia and her husband Daniel or Donal a Scotch Irish widower who immigrated to America to fight the British for this country s freedom The father s tales of battles at Bunker Hill and Valley Forge during the American Revolution were an inspiration for his sons persistent struggle against slavery and for the education and uplift of their brethren That struggle led them to escape slavery regardless of their sometimes privileged status and lighter skin ...

Article

David Dabydeen

Englishpoet who wrote and lectured against slavery. Coleridge's first major poem was a Greek ode against the slave trade, which won him the Browne Gold Medal at Cambridge University. He was to write, ‘my Greek ode is, I think, my chef d’œuvre in poetical composition'. Coleridge was inspired by the anti‐slavery writings of Thomas Clarkson, and in the 1790s, along with his friend and fellow poet Robert Southey, began campaigning against the slave trade. During this period Coleridge actively lectured around England, particularly in the West Country and in Bristol, where he received his first audience. When Coleridge and Southey lived at Upper College Street, Bristol, in 1795 they were surrounded by neighbours who had either had significant seafaring careers or had been captains of slave ships One of them for instance was the captain of a ship that was bound for the Jamaican sugar ...

Article

David Dabydeen

Englishpoet who lent his pen to the anti‐slavery cause. Cowper was a supporter of international commerce, which he saw, idealistically, as the means by which mankind could share in God's bounty. In his poem Charity (1782), trade is described as ‘the golden girdle of the globe’, and Cowper writes of the ‘genial intercourse’ between nations effected by 18th‐century mercantile activity. The slave trader, however, betrays the principle of mutuality underpinning international commerce and brings shame to a Christian nation such as Great Britain (‘Canst thou, and honour'd with a Christian name | Buy what is woman‐born, and feel no shame?’). Religion apart, the slave trader also betrays the spirit of the age, its growing championing of liberty. To Cowper, the existence of slavery calls into question the very nature of humanity:

Then what is man? And what man, seeing this

And having human feelings does not blush ...

Article

John Gilmore

English writer born at Lichfield in Staffordshire. After an unsettled and somewhat aimless youth, which included a period of just over a year (1728–9) at the University of Oxford, he made his home in London in 1737. In the capital he slowly established himself as a man of letters, and the appearance in 1755 of his Dictionary of the English Language gave him widespread recognition. This, and the astonishing variety of literary work that he continued to produce until his death, made him probably the best‐known British writer of the later 18th century.

Unlike many of his contemporaries—and unlike his rather younger friend and biographer James Boswell (1740–95)—Johnson was a staunch opponent of slavery and the slave trade. Johnson had taken this stance long before it became fashionable; for example, his review of his friend James Grainger'sThe Sugar‐Cane: A Poem (1764 complained ...

Article

John Gilmore

Writer and anti‐slavery campaigner. Hannah More first became widely known as a dramatist, with her play Percy proving a great success in 1777. She later turned to writing on social and religious topics, and had a particular interest in the education of women. She was a long‐term resident of Bristol, and the extensive acquaintance that her literary work brought her included John Newton, Beilby Porteus, and William Wilberforce. In 1788 she published Slavery, a Poem, which, while including traditional Eurocentric assumptions about Africans, insisted on their humanity and right to freedom:

Tho' dark and savage, ignorant and blind,

They claim the common privilege of kind;

Let Malice strip them of each other plea,

They still are men, and men shou'd still be free.

The slave trader was denounced as a White Savage and More called on Britain to free her slaves O let the ...

Article

Eric Gardner

activist, author, and educator, was born in Boston to the minister Thomas Paul and the teacher Catherine Waterhouse. Her father, whose brothers Nathaniel and Benjamin were also activist clergymen, was the pastor of Boston's first black church (on Belknap Street), and his religious and abolitionist fervor sent him as far as Haiti to advance these causes. It also linked him with both prominent blacks such as David Walker and Maria Stewart and important white abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison. Her mother, Catherine Waterhouse Paul, became the director of Boston's African School Number 2 (later Boston Primary School Number 6) in 1824 and was a force both in and for black education.

Given her parents' positions of leadership in the community, the Paul family was solidly middle class. That changed abruptly when Thomas Paul died of tuberculosis in 1831 For the rest of Paul ...

Article

Karen O'Brien

Abolitionist poet. Rushton lived most of his life in Liverpool, but gained first‐hand experience of the slave trade and of Jamaica when he worked as a ship's mate in the 1770s. A slave friend, Quamina, whom he had taught to read, died rescuing him when his boat capsized. During this time he contracted ophthalmia, which left him blind for most of his life. On his return, he bore witness to the brutality of slavery in his West‐Indian Eclogues (1787), a series of four poems written in the voices of fictional slaves and presenting them as dignified and seething with righteous anger. The poems, which attracted wide public notice, including that of Thomas Clarkson and William Roscoe, deal explicitly with the sexual abuse and sadistic punishments inflicted on slaves, and their right to violent resistance. The notes to the Eclogues make a more conservative case for ...

Article

David Dabydeen

BritishPoet Laureate (appointed in 1813) whose radical literary output included poems against the slave trade. Southey, born in the slave port of Bristol, was moved by the egalitarian principles of the French Revolution (1789), and co‐wrote with Samuel Taylor Coleridge a play celebrating revolutionary social change, The Fall of Robespierre (1794). With Coleridge and other friends he planned to set up a ‘Pantisocracy’ in New England—a communal utopian settlement of fraternity and harmony.

His poem ‘To the Genius of Africa’ (1797 is a passionate and revolutionary call to Africans to take up arms against slave traders Avenging Power awake arise awake arise avenge It is a powerful denunciation of European involvement in what Southey deems to be criminal activity It pulls no punches in exposing Afric s wrongs and Europe s guilt Southey writing of black bodies whipped and wounded until ...

Article

Eric Gardner

abolitionist leader and journalist, sometimes listed as James H. Townsend and sometimes as J. Holland Townsend, was probably born in New York or Pennsylvania. Nothing is known of his youth or parentage, although by the early 1840s he had established himself in the black community in Albany, New York. He participated in black conventions in Buffalo and Rochester in 1843 and supported Henry Highland Garnet's radical “Address to the Slaves,” which called on enslaved African Americans to rebel against their owners. Between 1845 and 1848 Townsend attended Waterville College (later Colby College), but contrary to most accounts, he did not receive a degree.

He instead returned to New York, where in 1849 he began publication of the short-lived journal Hyperion, which Frederick Douglass favorably reviewed in the 3 August 1849North Star. A correspondent for Frederick Douglass's Paper described him during this period in a 31 ...