AMESBURY, MA - William Lloyd Garrison biographer Horace Seldon will present “One And One Make A Thousand: William Lloyd Garrison, one young Abolitionist, from Newburyport, and John Greenleaf Whittier, one young Abolitionist, from Amesbury make Thousands of Abolitionists, from the Whole Nation” at the Friends Meetinghouse at 2:00 p.m., on Sat., February 23.
Presented by The Whittier Home Association, historian, Horace Seldon is a recently retired National Park Ranger from the Boston African American National Historic Site.
Seldon wrote he had an “epiphany” that changed his life in 1968, with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. “In that moment I dedicated whatever was left of my life to work against historic racism, as it has been created, accumulated, and empowered in the heads, hearts, and institutional structures controlled by white people.”
Seldon writes of what he terms a “remarkable opportunity” for employment at the Boston African American National Historic Site in Boston to do historical interpretation on the Black Heritage Trail on the North slope of Beacon Hill in the 18th and 19th century.
“It was in the context of studying the history of that black community developed on the North slope,” Seldon wrote. “I became convinced of the central importance of William Lloyd Garrison, a white man, not of the community, (of Newburyport and central character in the current PBS series ‘The Abolitionists’) but closely identified with it and clearly working against the forces of racism which inhibited it. His life is a ‘Portrait of Purpose’ clearly defined as the elimination of slavery.”
“In their fiery writings, including ‘The Liberator’ by Garrison and Whittier’s poems like ‘Touissaint l’Overture,’ they never missed an opportunity to expose the hypocrisy of clerics and churches that refused to recognize the humanity of slaves and inequality in general.”
The rewards for their continued outspokenness and writings against slavery were being mobbed by protestors at various speaking engagements, and being met with rocks, rotten eggs, jail, and near hanging. They suffered health as well as economic hardships.
They were both leaders of the American Anti-Slavery Society attending the First Anti Slavery Convention in newly dedicated Pennsylvania Hall in 1838. Pro-slavers put a torch to the hall where speakers like Garrison, Whittier and Angelina Grimke were featured.
All are welcome to bring the current television series “The Abolitionists” to the forefront with in depth study and discussion of two national heroes, who sparked the cause of anti-slavery from our local villages of Newburyport and Amesbury.
A donation of $5.00 will be asked to continue the educational mission of the Whittier Museum, to promote the life and history of John Greenleaf Whittier, “the forgotten Abolitionist, and maintain the National Historic Site. Free parking is available around the site and possibly at the Jutras Funeral Home is not in use at that time. For more information contact the museum, 978-388-1337, www.whittierhome.org.