While the poor black is treated so contemptuously in, what are called, the free states…it is not to be wondered that the cause of negro-emancipation moves so slowly.
—James G. Birney, White abolitionist, 1835
The abolitionists were torn between a genuine concern for the welfare and uplift of the Negro and a paternalism which was too often merely the patronizing of a superior class.
—William H. Pease and Jane H. Pease, Historians 1965
The central icon of abolitionism, the figure of a black kneeling, hands folded and eyes cast upward, carried a clear message. It made emancipation conditional—on condition of conversion, on condition of docility and meekness, on condition of being on ones knees.
—Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Cultural historian 1992