Similarly, most Americans are unaware that American colonies passed anti-slavery laws before the American Revolution, but that those laws were vetoed by Great Britain, who insisted on the continuance of slavery in America. In fact, several Founders who owned slaves while British citizens freed them once America declared her independence. Sadly, we have been taught to identify Founding Fathers who owned slaves but are unaware of the greater number who opposed slavery or worked with anti-slavery societies.
WallBuilders owns numerous documents showing these positive aspects of Black History, including of praiseworthy efforts to end oppression of African Americans.
For example, the 1774 letter on the right is from Quaker John Townsend, who wrote to inquire after an African slave he had earlier sold. He wanted to reacquire that slave in order to "have the opportunity to set her free." (The Quakers, like several colonial denominations, firmly opposed slavery and pushed their members to do all possible to end the evil.)
In this 1782 document, Christopher Johnson, a soldier in the American Revolution, declares that he is "fully persuaded that freedom is the natural rights of all mankind & that it is my duty to do unto others as I would desire to be done by in the like situation." Having fought a war to win his own political freedom, and invoking the Golden Rule delivered by Jesus in Matthew 7:12, he freed (that is, manumitted) his slaves.
In this 1837 document, Dorcas, a Black American who is "a free woman of color," petitions the court to recognize the legality of two slaves that were freed. According to the Tennessee Act of 1831
, freed slaves were required to move out of the state, but the subsequent act of 1833
permitted slaves to remain in the state if they had received their freedom prior to 1831. In her letter, Dorcas affirms that "the said two slaves, Warner and Nancy" had received "their freedom long before the passage of the act of 1831" and asks the court to take appropriate action for ensuring their freedom.
On our website, there are many more such documents. and also many inspiring stories
, illustrating a side of Black History of which few Americans are told today.
Want to know more about African American history?
Check out a video clip of Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White! This video provides an unique view of the religious and moral heritage of black Americans, with an emphasis on the untold yet significant stories from our rich political history. The material presented is ground-breaking and revolutionary, leaving viewers amazed and inspired.
 Harper’s Encyclopaedia of United States History
, Benson Lossing, editor (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1974), s. v. “Slavery”; W. O. Blake, The History of Slavery and the Slave Trade
(Columbus: J. & H. Miller, 1858), p. 98.
Blake, The History of Slavery and the Slave Trade
, pp. 370-371; see also Thomas R.R. Cobb, An Inquiry into the Law of Negro Slavery
(Philadelphia: T. & J. W. Johnson & Co., 1858), Vol. I, pp. cxlvii-cxlviii; see also W. E. Burghardt DuBois, The Suppression of the AfricanSlave-Trade to the United States of America
(New York: Social Science Press, 1954), p. 30.