Frustrated by the antislavery schism and white reformers' apparent indifference to the problem of prejudice and discrimination, black abolitionists grew convinced of the need for independent initiatives. They recognized that independence fostered racial pride and identity, as well as gave them greater control over antislavery strategies and objectives. A white-directed antislavery movement did little to nurture a sense of self-worth and self-confidence in the African American community. By the 1840s, most black abolitionists had accepted the practical and symbolic value of racially separate efforts in the fight against slavery and prejudice. African Americans had served a "faithful apprenticeship," William J. Watkins concluded, but the time had come to "hang out our own shingle."
John W. Lewis, a lecture agent for the New Hampshire Anti-Slavery Society, used his letter of resignation to the society to express his weariness over white abolitionist infighting and his desire to continue antislavery work independently.
Concord, [ New Hampshire] Dec[ember] 28th, 1840
As I have concluded to resign to you my agency to your society, I