Quakers and Slavery


The Religious Society of Friends was the first corporate body in Britain and North America to fully condemn slavery as both ethically and religiously wrong in all circumstances. It is in Quaker records that we have some of the earliest manifestations of anti-slavery sentiment, dating from the 1600s. After the 1750s, some Quakers actively engaged in attempting to sway public opinion in Britain and America against the slave trade and slavery in general. At the same time, some Quakers became actively involved in the economic, educational and political well being of the formerly enslaved.

 Quakers and Slavery was a consortial project of Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections and Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. Funding was provided by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, through a program stipulated by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). This program is administered in Pennsylvania through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries for assisting libraries in providing all users access to information, developing partnerships, and increasing information access for persons who have difficulty gaining it.

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Lucretia Mott letter
Letter to Robert Pleasants, 1781-03-17
Letter to John Smith, 1758-02-25
Letter to George Washington Taylor, 1846-09-29
Lucretia Mott letter to Martha Coffin Wright
Lucretia Mott letter to Martha Coffin Wright
Letter to Eastern Pennsylvania Antislavery Society
Letter to George Dillwyn, 1783-07
Elizabeth Neall Letter to Elizabeth H. Whittier
History of Western District Colored School
Letter to Moses Brown, 1774-05-09
Lucretia Mott letter to Martha Coffin Wright
Letter to John Smith, 1760-02-08
Philadelphia Monthly Meeting Minutes, 1844-08-06 [extracts]
Letter to Robert Pleasants, 1773-04-08
The Slave's Friend
Constitution of the Free Produce Society of Pennsylvania
Letter to Joseph Talcot, 1830-05-01
Letter from a freedman