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Vocapedia > USA > Race relations > Slaves, Slavery


Abolitionists, Abolition, Emancipation


































13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

Abolition of Slavery    1865


Section 1.

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude,

except as a punishment for crime

whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,

shall exist within the United States,

or any place subject to their jurisdiction.


Section 2.

Congress shall have power

to enforce this article

by appropriate legislation.

















Abraham Lincoln > End to slavery    1862











Abraham Lincoln



























Library of Congress > Conflict of Abolition and Slavery


















abolition        UK










abolition movement



















story.php?storyId=17843552 - January 4, 2008








Black abolitionists












story.php?storyId=17843552 - January 4, 2008












story.php?storyId=17843552 - January 4, 2008


















Timeline of Key Dates in African-American History










Frederick Douglass    1818-1895










The Frederick Douglass Papers

at the Library of Congress        1841 to 1964










Nat Turner's rebellion    1831












Dred Scott vs. John F. A. Sandford    1846       














Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery story


Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly        1851










Time Line of African American History    1852-1880
































on January 1st, 1808,

the U.S. officially banned

the importation of slaves.


story.php?storyId=17988106 - January 10, 2008








Abolition of the Slave Trade Act    1807












Saviours of the slaves:

the stories behind six stamps

that celebrate abolitionists


Published: 23 March 2007

The Independent


Olaudah Equiano 1745-1797, Former slave

Equiano's Life of Gustavus Vassa was the first autobiography of life as a slave, and became a bestseller in late 18th-century Britain. At the age of 11, he was captured from Igboland in Nigeria by the British and carried to Barbados. His account of the "loathsomeness of the stench" and "brutal cruelty" on his passage brought the plight of kidnapped Africans to public attention. Equiano bought his freedom for 40 through his success as a businessman, and travelled to England. His autobiography describes his work for the English government helping impoverished Africans living in London resettle in Sierra Leone, a job in which he felt he was unsuccessful. He died at the age of 52, and is buried in Cambridgeshire. A decade after his death, Britain abolished slavery.


William Wilberforce 1759-1833, Abolitionist MP

Wilberforce became a Tory MP in 1780, aged 21. His conversion to Christianity in 1785 influenced his approach to politics and Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger suggested he become the parliamentary leader of the Abolitionist campaign. The evidence collected by Thomas Clarkson persuaded him of the justice of the Abolitionist cause, which became his life's work. His 1789 speech, delivered to the House of Commons, was reported to have been one of the most eloquent heard in the House. His bill to abolish the slave trade was finally passed in 1807. He continued to campaign for the freedom of all slaves in British colonies until he retired in 1825. He died in 1833, three days after slavery was abolished throughout all British colonies.


Granville Sharp 1735-1813, First chairman of the Abolitionist Movement

The son of an archdeacon, Sharp was the first Chairman of the Abolitionist movement. His belief in the movement stemmed from a meeting in 1765. Sharp's brother William was a doctor who gave free treatment to the poor in London. One man queuing to see his brother was William Strong, who had been beaten almost to death with the butt of a pistol, by his "master" David Lisle. The Sharps cared for Strong for two years, but the injuries he had sustained led to his death at the age of 25. Sharp spent the rest of his life campaigning through his writings and the courts to have slavery made illegal in the UK. He sought the prosecution of the captain of the slave ship Zong, where ill and dying slaves were thrown overboard. He also published the first major anti-slavery work in English.


Ignatius Sancho 1729-1780, Writer and former slave

Sancho was born on a slave ship sailing across the Atlantic from Africa. He was brought to England, and his earliest memories were of working as a child slave in domestic service. While living in the household of the Duke of Montagu, working as their butler, he gained a passion for the arts, and composed and published volumes of songs and music. He was the first African person recorded to have voted in British elections, and his performances on stage to literary London helped to gain his reputation as "the extraordinary Negro". He became the first African writer to be published in Britain, although his book, The Letters of Ignatius Sancho, an African, was not published until after his death. It was to play a crucial part in bringing the evil of slavery to a wider public.


Hannah More 1745-1833, Writer

Widely regarded as the most influential female member of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the African Slave Trade, Hannah More, who was educated in the slave trading port of Bristol, started publishing her writings when she was a teenager. Her first play, The Inflexible Captive, was performed in Bath in the mid-1770s. She turned to religious writings in her late thirties, and became a close friend of William Wilberforce in the 1780s. She helped to run the Abolition Society, and her 1788 poem Slavery, a Poem was an important work from the abolition period. More's ill health led her to take a less active role in the cause by the time of the 1807 Abolition Bill, though she continued a correspondence with Wilberforce. She continued to write until her death in 1833.


Thomas Clarkson 1760-1846, Collected evidence for anti-slavery movement

Clarkson researched slavery while studying at Cambridge, as part of an essay that won the 1785 Cambridge University prize. Written in Latin, he addressed the question: Is it lawful to make slaves of others against their will? It was published in English in 1786 and circulated widely, bringing him into contact with Granville Sharp and other campaigners against slavery. In May 1787, Clarkson was one of the 12 men who formed the Committee for Abolition of the African Slave Trade. He travelled the country collecting evidence on the inhumane conditions suffered by slaves. His evidence was presented to parliament by William Wilberforce. In 1794, he suffered a breakdown from overwork and retired from the movement. In 1803, he returned and continued writing pamphlets into the 1840s.

Saviours of the slaves:

the stories behind six stamps that celebrate abolitionists,






October 6, 1862


Emancipation proclaimed by Lincoln


From the Guardian archive


Monday October 6, 1862



Liverpool, Sunday. The royal mail steamship Australasian, which sailed from New York on the 24th and called off Cape Race on the 27th September, arrived in the Mersey about eleven o'clock this morning. The Australasian called at Queenstown yesterday, and a summary of her news was telegraphed from thence.

President Lincoln had issued the following most important proclamation respecting the emancipation of the slaves:- September 22, 1862. I, Abraham Lincoln President of the United States of America, and commander in chief of the army and navy thereof, do hereby proclaim and declare that hereafter, as heretofore, the war will be prosecuted for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation between the United States and the people thereof in which states that relation is, or may be, suspended or disturbed; that it is my purpose upon the next meeting of Congress, to again recommend the adoption of a practical measure tendering pecuniary aid to the free acceptance or rejection of all the slave states, so called, the people whereof may not then be in rebellion against the United States, and which states may then have voluntarily adopted or thereafter may voluntarily adopt the immediate or gradual abolishment of slavery within their respective limits; and that the efforts to colonise persons of African descent, with their consent, upon the continent or elsewhere, with the previously obtained consent of the governments existing there will be continued.

That, on the 1st day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any state, or any designated part of a state, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then thenceforward and for ever free, and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognise and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom ...

That attention is called to an act of Congress, entitled, An act to make an additional article of war, approved March 13, 1862:- ... All officers, or persons in the military or naval service of the United States are prohibited from employing any of the forces under their commands for the purpose of returning fugitives from service or labour who may have escaped ... and any officer who shall be found guilty, by a court-martial, of violating this article, shall be dismissed from the service.

From the Guardian archive > October 6, 1862 >
Emancipation proclaimed by Lincoln, G,
Republished 6.10.2006,






August 2, 1834


Negro emancipation


From The Guardian archive


Saturday August 2, 1834

Guardian Unlimited


Throughout the British dominions the sun no longer rises on a slave. Yesterday was the day from which the emancipation of all our slave population commences; and we trust the great change by which they are elevated to the rank of freemen will be found to have passed into effect in the manner most accordant with the benevolent spirit in which it was decreed, most consistent with the interests of those for whose benefit it was primarily intended, and most calculated to put an end to the apprehensions under which it was hardly to be expected that the planters could fail to labour as the moment of its consummation approaches. We shall await anxiously the arrivals from the West Indies that will bring advices to a date subsequent to the present time.

From The Guardian archive > August 2, 1834 > Negro emancipation, G,






HM's ships liberate

1,876 slaves in Africa

August 10, 1822


From the Guardian archive


Saturday August 10, 1822



On Wednesday morning we were surprised with the novel circumstance of the arrival of a French brig, of 240 tons, called the Vigilante, as a prize.

She [was] captured, with several others, in the act of slave trading (having 343 on board), on 15th of April last, in the river Bonny (northward of the line), by the boats of his Majesty's ships Iphigenia and Myrmidon, manned with about 150 seamen, and commanded by Lieutenant G. Wm. St John Mildmay, after a most severe contest, in which two seamen were killed and seven were wounded.

It is not known how many of the slaves suffered in this vessel as they jumped overboard, and were destroyed by the sharks; and the crew mixing with the slaves in the hold, after our seamen were in the possession of the upper deck, several slaves were also killed.

One poor girl, about 10 years of age, had both her legs amputated, and was doing well.

This vessel, with six others, formed a little slave-trading squadron, which was discovered by boats dispatched to reconnoitre the river Bonny, moored across the stream of the river, with springs on their cables, all armed, with apparently about 400 men on board, and perfectly prepared to resist the approach of boarders.

Lieut. Mildmay pushed on with his boats, and as they got within range of the slavers, they all opened a heavy fire of canister and grapeshot and musketry; but as nothing could withstand the coolness and undaunted courage of our seamen, all the vessels were soon in their possession.

The state of the unhappy slaves on board these vessels it is impossible to describe; some were linked in shackles by the leg; some of them were bound in chords [sic]: and many of them had their arms so lacerated that the flesh was completely eaten through!

The crew of one of the captured vessels, which the slavers deserted, placed a lighted match in the magazine in the hope that, so soon as our men had boarded, the vessel would blow up with them, and the 300 slaves chained together in the hold.

Providentially one of the men discovered it, very coolly put his hat under it, and carried it safely on deck.

We regret very much to state, that on the passage of the prizes from the Bonny river to Sierra Leone, the fine schooner Yeatam (drawing 17 feet water), with 500 slaves on board, and 23 seamen, upset in a tornado, and all on her perished except eight seamen.

The number of slaves liberated by the capture of these vessels was 1,876, about 200 of whom died on the passage to Sierra Leone.

From the Guardian archive,
August 10, 1822,
HM's ships liberate 1,876 slaves in Africa,
Republished 10.8.2006,






How we saw the issues in 1791


From The Observer Archive

The Observer

William Wilberforce, born in 1759 and an MP at 21,

became leader of the anti-slavery movement in 1787.

The trade was abolished in the British colonies in 1807,

slavery itself in 1833, the year he died.

This is how The Observer supported his campaign,

in an editorial published on Christmas Day 1791.


With every argument in support of humanity, with every argument in support of trade and commerce; with every argument in support of national honour; of abstract improvement; and of individual advantage; Mr Wilberforce brings forward his religious, moral, and politic Bill for the abolition of the odious slave trade, early in the ensuing session of Parliament. That just, that merciful, that benignant great Being, whose creatures of every colour, and of every nation, are equally dear, will surely support this true patriot in a measure of so sublime a nature; will, surely, inspire him with zeal, and eloquence, to prostrate the opinions and sophistry of men, who, slaves themselves to temporary interest, would persecute, torment, and entail perpetual slavery on others. Should the divine Power, for the purpose of trying the virtue of a favoured nation, suffer the intentions of this illustrious senator, to be delayed, can there be a doubt, but associations will form in every part, and a great majority unite in abstaining from the use of rum and sugar, until the object is accomplished.

From The Observer Archive,
How we saw the issues in 1791,
Republished 26.11.2006,










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