Some Northern whites fought against slavery and the spread of this labor system. One
man from Boston, named William Lloyd Garrison wrote an anti-slavery newspaper and was
almost hung by a mob for his writings. Two well-known abolitionists were southerners who had
grown up on a plantation. Sisters Sarah and Angelica Grimke believed that slavery was morally
wrong. The sisters moved north and joined an anti-slavery society. These were groups that sent
out live speakers as well as printed messages to spread the abolition ideas.
The two most famous abolition speakers were Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth.
These two individuals were eyewitnesses to slavery, having each been born into slavery. At a
young age, Douglass’ owner took a risk and taught him how to read. For about five more years
he worked in the fields, until his escape. Douglass snuck onto a train and headed North; to avoid
being captured he changed his name.
His courage and public speaking skills earned him a career as a speaker for an anti-
slavery society. Some people thought that he was too good of a speaker to have been a slave. He
wrote very detailed descriptions of his time as a slave and brought those experiences alive when
he spoke to crowds of people. Douglass eventually published an anti-slavery newspaper.
Sojourner Truth also began her life as a slave. Born in New York (when slavery was legal
there), she ran away from her owner and was taken in by a peaceful religious group known as
Quakers. Truth would give audience members very detailed descriptions of her life as a slave;
many times people were horrified and tearful at hearing about her experiences. One such
example was a story she would tell about being beaten for no reason by her master. The owner
took her into a barn, ripped the shirt off of her back and whipped her with a bundle of sticks until
her back bled.
Venn Diagram for the Abolitionists
William Lloyd Garrison & Frederick Douglass &
The Grimke Sisters Similarities Sojourner Truth
What was the most important similarity between the two groups of abolitionists?
What was the most important difference between the two groups?