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Food and Fun

February 14, 2013

Program on Abolitionists

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.

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