FORMER SLAVES BECOME ABOLITIONISTS (Illustration) American History Biographies African American History Civil Rights Famous Historical Events Law and Politics Tragedies and Triumphs Social Studies Slaves and Slave Owners

On the 29th of October, 1864, Sojourner Truth visited the White House. While there, she met with President Lincoln. The Library of Congress tells us about this image:  “A. Lincoln showing Sojourner Truth the Bible presented by colored people of Baltimore, Executive Mansion, Washington, D.C., Oct. 29, 1864.” The image is online, courtesy Library of Congress. Click on it for a better view.  PD


Activists in the North believed there was only one way to deal with American slavery:  Get rid of it. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin for that purpose.

Years later—after her book (which was inspired by the memiors of Rev. Josiah Henson, the "real" Uncle Tom) had been turned into a playStowe met President Lincoln. He reportedly said:

So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.

Former slaves were at the forefront of the abolitionist charge. In fact, their memoirs of actual treatment prepared a Northern audience for Stowe's novel:

  • Born Isabella Baumfree, the great Sojourner Truth, was a slave until she was an adult. She was freed in 1827, when New York passed the Gradual Abolition Act. Her first language was Dutch. In 1843, she believed God called her to sojourn (travel) around the country, preaching the truth of His word. In recognition of her calling, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth. Her book, the Narrative of Sojourner Truth, published in 1850, is available on-line.
  • Harriet Tubman was called "The Moses of Her People" because she led so many to safety. After escaping herself, she returned to the South nineteen times. More than 300 former slaves, including her own parents, owed their freedom to her. In her biography of Tubman, Sarah H. Bradford notes:

Harriet was now left alone...She turned her face towards the north, and fixing her eye on the guiding star, and committing her way unto the Lord, she started again upon her long, lonely journey. She believed that there were one or two things she had a right to, liberty or death.

  • Frederick Douglass not only was a leading abolitionist, he became a statesman in the summer of 1889 when he was appointed Ambassador to Haiti. Not to be missed is an on-line video play, starring Fred Morsell, based on Douglass' speeches and autobiography. His autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, is also available on-line.
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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5186stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jun 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Mar 01, 2015

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"FORMER SLAVES BECOME ABOLITIONISTS" AwesomeStories.com. Jun 01, 2002. Jun 20, 2019.
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