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Heading for The Liberator Newspaper, November 4, 1859

Civil Rights - Heading of the Liberator for November 4, 1859
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_3653
Document Description
Heading of "The Liberator", an abolitionist newspaper, November 4, 1859.
What do you notice about this picture?
The two sides of the picture show opposites. What is an opposite?
How are the two communities shown in this picture different?
Which community would be considered the Northern states?
The right side of the picture depicts African Americans living without the bonds of slavery. What hardships did African Americans face other than slavery?
Was society ready for equality between races?
In recent history, who led the continued fight for civil equality?
What issues do minorities face today?
Historical Challenges
The articles in this newspaper are about the raid on Harpers Ferry. What was it? Who started it? What was the significance of it?
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Based on this picture, write a definition of the words liberator and oppressed.
Thomas, Velma Maia. No Man Can Hinder Me: the Journey from Slavery to Emancipation Through Songs. Crown Publishing Group, September 2001. ISBN: 0609607197.
Silverman, Jerry. Songs and Stories from the Civil War. Lerner Publishing Co., April 2002. ISBN:0761323058
Fritz, Jean. Brady. Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, August 2001. ISBN:0698119371.
McKissick, Pat and Frederick McKissick. Sojourner Truth: A Voice of Freedom. Enslow Publishers, Incorporated, June 2002. ISBN: 0766016935
Adler, David. A Picture Book of Frederick Douglass. Holiday House, Inc., February 1997. ISBN:0823412059.


Kinton, Gena. North Star to Freedom: A Story of the Underground Railroad. Random House Children's Books, December 1999. ISBN: 0385326076.
Bial, Raymond. The Underground Railroad. Houghton Mifflin Company, September 1999. ISBN: 0395979153
Thomas, Carol Joyce. I Have Heard of a Land. HarperCollins Children's Books, May 1998. ISBN: 0060234784


About this Activity


Lesson Topic:


Historical Context
The abolitionist movement during the nineteenth century demanded the immediate emancipation of all slaves in America. This goal was slightly different than the issue of slavery in the new western territories, which heated the slavery debate prior to the Civil War. Nonetheless, both crusades had the same basic desire to end American slavery, in whole or in part.

During the 1820s, America experienced what was called the Second Great Awakening, a period of religious zeal and revival. Slavery was condemned as a sin by Quakers, Methodists, and Baptists, and the abolitionist movement  increased its support through these times. One religious man, William Lloyd Garrison, fervently campaigned for immediate emancipation. In 1831, Garrison published a anti-slavery paper, The Liberator, in Boston. The paper was widely supported by free African Americans living in the North. In 1833, Garrison and sixty other delegates from the North formed the Anti-Slavery Association.  By 1835, there were several branches throughout the North that promoted speakers, agents, literature distribution, and petitions that were sent to Congress.
Being a public and active member of the abolitionist movement was dangerous, however. In 1837, a Reverend Lovejoy was murdered in North Carolina. Violent pro-slavery gangs would burn mailbags containing anti-slavery propaganda. Congress even initiated a “gag rule." Under the gag rule, Congress would accept no more petitions concerning the abolition of slavery.  Famous speakers such as Fredrick Douglass, Wendell Philips, and Lucy Stone continued to speak out against slavery. During this period, there were many autobiographies of slaves and books of poetry published denouncing slavery.
During the 1840s, higher education in the North also became available to African Americans. Oberlin College in Ohio was the first racially integrated co-education institution. The Oneida Institute graduated impressive African American leaders, and Illinois’ Knox College was the western center for African American higher education.  

After the passing of the Fugitive Slave Law, the abolitionist movement gained even more ground. While some white men and women campaigned to outlaw segregation, improve education for African Americans, and aid runaway slaves, the Underground Railroad was conducted and managed mostly by African Americans. During the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, women gathered in what would become the first independent women’s movement to speak out against slavery.
The slavery debate ripped through the nation in the 1850s with events like the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Dred Scott Decision, and John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry throwing the country into deeper moral turmoil. Most abolitionists supported the newly formed Republican Party and supported the Union during the Civil War. After the Emancipation Proclamation, the end of the war, and the subsequent Thirteenth Amendment, abolitionists saw their dream come true. The Anti-Slavery Association continued to campaign for voting rights, land rights, and education for African Americans until 1870, when the Fifteenth Amendment finally secured voting rights for African Americans. Although the association disbanded, it was the inspiration for the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

Essential Question
How do individual attempt to achieve social justice in a society?
Check for Understanding
Identify three key elements of the drawing and explain the overall message being conveyed.