Witness for Freedom: African American Voices on Race, Slavery, and Emancipation

By C. Peter Ripley; Roy E. Finkenbine et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 2
African Americans and the Antislavery Movement

BLACKS AS ADVOCATES

African Americans were the antislavery movement's most effective advocates. Their speeches and published writings infused the antislavery crusade with a message that was authentic, credible, and emotional. The personal testimony of former slaves repudiated lies about slave life; the public presence of such gifted and dignified men as Samuel Ringgold Ward and Frederick Douglass undermined notions of racial inferiority. Black abolitionists lectured throughout the northern states, Canada, and the British Isles. At times they received a celebrity's reception from enthusiastic audiences; in other instances they found public indifference; and occasionally they confronted angry mobs. Many used creative and dramatic methods to convey their message: they toured with pictorial exhibits of plantation life, reenacted their escape from slavery, debated proslavery apologists, and displayed whips and chains at the podium. By bringing the slavery question to the center of American life, black lecturers and writers played a principal role in the most ambitious reform movement in U.S. history.

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Witness for Freedom: African American Voices on Race, Slavery, and Emancipation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Editorial Statement xvii
  • Chronology xxi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Rise of Black Abolitionism 29
  • Chapter 2 - African Americans And the Antislavery Movement 69
  • Chapter 3 - Black Independence 121
  • Chapter 4 - Black Abolitionists and the National Crisis 170
  • Chapter 5 - Civil War 211
  • Glossary 263
  • Bibliographical Essay 279
  • Index 291
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