Amazing Grace - Preface

Amazing Grace (Illustration) Biographies Civil Rights Famous Historical Events Famous People Film Law and Politics Philosophy Social Studies World History Slaves and Slave Owners Music

Portrait of William Wilberforce by Karl Anton Hickel in 1794 maintained by Hull Museums (Wilberforce House Museum) Collections at Kingston-upon-Hull, U.K.  Image online courtesy, Wikimedia Commons.


Having heard all of this
you may choose to look the other way
but you can never again say
that you did not know.

William Wilberforce
Speech to Parliament
May 12, 1789

William Wilberforce had the evidence. His friend, Thomas Clarkson, had scoured the British countryside, looking for proof:
  • He had talked with sailors who crewed on the ships.
  • He had interviewed witnesses who spoke of the crimes.

Wilberforce had the evidence, but he faced a very difficult problem. Britain's slave trade was legal, so the crimes weren't crimes and the wrongs weren't punishable.

As one hundred thousand Africans were wrenched from their homes every year - to become "owned" by foreigners - people in the slave-trading business could ignore their plight because Parliament allowed it.

With extraordinary dedication, however, the Cambridge University essayist (Clarkson) and Parliament's youngest member (Wilberforce) staked out a new path.

Their journey, to illegalize Britain's slave trade, would take twenty years.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Nov 04, 2016

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