AfriGeneas Schools, Organizations, Churches and Institutions Forum
The nation's first abolition society, formed by Philadelphia Quakers in 1775, initially called itself the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage. In 1787, it was reorganized as the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage, and for Improving the Condition of the African Race.
One of the initial goals of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society was the promotion of like-minded organizations, and these groups followed its naming pattern. In 1789, for example, the Maryland Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and for the Relief of Free Negroes and Others Held Unlawfully in Bondage was formed. The Delaware Society for Gradual Abolition, founded in 1788, reorganized in 1800 as the Delaware Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief and Protection of Free Blacks and People of Color Unlawfully Held in Bondage or Otherwise Oppressed.
“The Appeal of the American Convention of Abolition Societies to Anti-Slavery Groups.” Journal of Negro History 6 (April 1921), 200-240.
“Reports of the American Convention of Abolition Societies on Negroes and Slavery, Their Appeals to Congress, and Their Addresses to the Citizens of the United States.” Journal of Negro History 6 (July 1921), 310-374.
Wilson, Carol. “'The Legitimate Offspring of Slavery': Kidnapping of Free Blacks and Abolitionists' Response.” Mid-America 74 (April/July 1992), 105-124.
Zilversmit, Arthur. The First Emancipation: The Abolition of Slavery in the North. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967.