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Darshell Silva

a Quaker, was born a slave near Rancocas, New Jersey, and was sometimes known as William Bowen or “Heston.” His owner treated him well, and Boen was allowed to learn to read and write. As a boy, Boen was afraid of dying during an Indian attack because of all of the stories circulating among the neighbors about others that were killed by Indians. Whenever he worked in the woods alone, he was on constant guard for Indian arrows. He felt he was not yet ready to die until he accepted what was within him that made him do good and reject evil, as the Quakers he was growing up around had done. The Society of Friends is a Christian sect founded by George Fox in 1660 that rejects formal sacraments a formal creed priesthood and violence They are also known as Quakers and are recognized by their plain speech ...

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Penny Anne Welbourne

Born a slave in Rancocas, New Jersey, William Boen belonged to a Quaker master. As a young man he met and became friends with John Woolman, the Quaker minister known for his continuing efforts to end slavery. It was most likely Woolman who encouraged Boen to attend worship at the Mount Holly Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends. Anecdotes and Memoirs of William Boen, a Coloured Man, Who Lived and Died Near Mount Holly, New Jersey. To which is Added, The Testimony of Friends of Mount Holly Monthly Meeting Concerning Him was a memorial written by Quakers from Mount Holly for Boen, who was a member of the Society of Friends from 1814 until his death in 1824 The authors of the memorial stated that although they rarely felt called upon to record the virtues of any of this afflicted race of people they thought Boen ...

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Evan Haefeli

Born and raised in Northampton, New Jersey, John Woolman early on developed a strict sense of piety that was linked to social and economic justice. The decisive moment in his life came when he was a twenty-three-year-old apprentice to a local merchant. His employer asked him to draw up a bill of sale for a slave, a routine matter at the time. Woolman, however, felt a pang of conscience about it. Because the transaction involved respectable Quakers, and the merchant for whom he worked had commanded him to do it, he went through with it. But he announced his belief that holding slaves was unchristian and resolved never to draw up a bill of sale for a slave again. He stuck to his resolution.

As Woolman matured he realized how closely his everyday life was connected to the injustice he saw all around him He came to believe that ...