The Woman's Role in the Abolitionist Movement

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The abolitionist movement was meant to help free black slaves. You hear about many men who participated in the movement but you probably haven't heard about the contributions women, both black and white, made toward the abolitionist movement. Women, across racial and class lines, had participated in organized abolition since 1817, when Black women and men met in Philadelphia to lodge a formal, public protest against the white-led colonization movement, which proposed to send Blacks "back" to Africa. Black women abolitionists and black men shared the view that abolition meant more than simply eliminating the institution of slavery but required obtaining political, social, and economic equality as well. But men had more power than woman which made it difficult for them to help. But they still found their ways. Abolitionist women formed both formal and informal networks that sometimes crossed gender, race, and class boundaries. The most well-known female abolitionist was Harriet Tubman. Tubman was an escaped slave from a Maryland plantation who returned to the South at least nineteen times to rescue approximately three hundred slaves. Another female abolitionist, Sarah Douglass devoted forty years to Black education. Early in her teaching career, she operated a school for Black children and adults through PFASS, from which she derived both spiritual and financial support. Although she eventually ran her school independently of the organization, she built and maintained important personal and professional ties with the women of the Philadelphia abolitionist community. Her mother, Grace Bustill Douglass, helped organize the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society (PFASS). These females were special not only because they were women but also because they were black. Female abolitionists also worked with male colleagues. Lucretia and James Mott, for instance, were active in antislavery organizations and helped lead the Free Produce Movement, which boycotted...
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