The Black Abolitionist Papers - Vol. 1

By C. Peter Ripley | Go to book overview

46.
William Wells Brown to Editor, London Morning Advertiser 15 May 1852

Black lecturers educated British audiences about the mechanics of institutional racism in the United States and its impact on northern free blacks. A key component was their indictment of the moderate stance of American churches on the issue of slavery. Even more than Frederick Douglass, who earlier criticized the policies of the Scottish Free Church and the Evangelical Alliance, Brown demonstrated the implications of the American church's failure to indict the practice of slaveholding. Brown's 15 May 1852 letter to the London Morning Advertiser criticized the American Sunday School Union's unwillingness to offend southern slaveholders. ASB, 2 March 1850; BT, 13 April 1850; FDP, 31 July 1851.

22 Cecil Street

Strand

[ London, England]

May 15, [1852]

Sir:

As a fugitive from American slavery, I have watched with no little degree of interest the discussion carried on for some days past in your paper, relative to the appearance of the Rev. Dr. Dyer1 on the platform of Exeter Hall, at the anniversary of the Sunday-school Union. 2 The letters have nearly all been good, your own strictures admirable, and I, for one, feel thankful that you have brought the subject before the public. If American pro-slavery divines and others are allowed to come with impunity before a British assembly and speak with approbation, it enables them to spread with much greater facility their opinions in favour of slavery when they are in private circles. Although Dr. Dyer and myself come from the same country, I am not acquainted with either him or his views on the subject of slavery.

But I do know something of the institution which he represents. In the year 1832, the American Sunday School Union3 published a series of small books, containing an account of some of the most interesting persons and principle events mentioned in the Old Testament. These books were written in a style adapted to the comprehension of children, and well calculated to impress the young mind with a knowledge of the history of the Israelites, from Abraham to the birth of the Saviour. One

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