ABOLITIONISTS, THEN and NOW

Medallion created as part of anti-slavery campaign by Josiah Wedgwood, 1787

It is our duty to proceed from what is near to what is distant, from what is known to that which is less known… in order to make our work help anyone who seeks truth and loves wisdom.
~ Abū Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Bīrūnī (ابوریحان محمد بن احمد بیرونی‎), Persian Scholar and polymath (973 – 1050)

The Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, was a British abolitionist group, formed in 1787, when twelve men gathered together at a printing shop in London. Little could they have suspected that their fledgling efforts would revolutionize matters of law, religion, ethics, politics, and indeed change the culture of an entire world for whom slavery had always been as natural and accepted  as the changing of the seasons.

Throughout history, enormous shifts in perception have begun with a small band of  committed citizens.  The struggle for freedom is an ancient and noble cause. The abolitionist movement has a long and storied history. As we shall see, there are similarities and parallels between old struggles and current conditions.

We do not arrive at our present place uninformed by what has gone before. We are the inheritors of a tradition forged by men and women of great courage and conviction, many of whom gave their lives to further the promise of “liberty and justice for all”. To help put our current efforts in some historical context, we wish to present just a sketch of some of the the events and personages who made major contributions to the abolitionist cause.

Related:

Was Abolitionism a Failure? Jon Grinspan, New York Times, February 1, 2015

How Our Modern Way of Life Is Built on a Long Legacy of SlaveryBy Greg Grandin, introduction by Adam Hochschild, Alternet, February 23, 2014: How banking, insurance, medicine and many other aspects of modern life have their roots in the slave trade.

For information in greater depth on the history of the  American abolitionist movement: American Abolitionism

For a complete synopsis of the history of slavery in the world, see: TheFullWiki/History of Slavery

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To join us in action and discussion, please visit
Meetup.com/Fight-Slavery-Now

TO REPORT AN INSTANCE OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING, DIAL 1-888-3737-888
OR CALL YOUR LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT/DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE!

3 Responses to “ABOLITIONISTS, THEN and NOW”

  1. Haley Says:

    21 March 2011
    Dear Sir or Ma’am,
    Hello! I am currently an eighth-grade student in attendance at Creekside Middle School of Indiana. Currently, our team of nearly 400 eighth-grade students has been assigned a “global” project in which we are to discover ways to end slavery today. Ultimately, our goal is to attempt to “change the world,” as our teacher has repeated numerous times. Our school will be hosting a “museum” in the presence of several local and state leaders on the date of May 4th, 2011. As one of the leaders of the group, I have been asked to contact several sites and non-profit organizations campaigning to halt the growing utilization of human trafficking and of slave labor.
    I recognize that your site or the site you are currently under the employment of is a great advocate of the end to all slavery. It is manifest that your site has also participated in numerous fundraisers and protests. As a student working on a similar project (on a much smaller level), I would like to ask for some assistance or advice.
    Firstly, what, in your opinion, are the most imperative aspects of a movement such as this? What advice do you have for a group of only 400 eighth-grade students? What techniques are best for utilization and will benefit our group well? Also, could you or the site offer any vague form of assistance in our movement? Most imperatively, however, what information about slavery can you provide us with?
    I appreciate your assistance; any we can acquire is much appreciated. I hope you can consider these questions, and I would like to further thank you for your time. Good luck with your work!
    Sincerely,
    An Eighth-Grade Abolitionist
    Contactable At: eighthgradeabolitionist1996@gmail.com

  2. fightslaverynow Says:

    Dear Haley,
    You are very fortunate to be attending one of the most highly regarded schools in your area. This is a fantastic project and I thank you for writing. I am encouraged that young people are exploring this subject and looking for ways to take action. As I’m sure you are discovering, there is much to learn and much more to be done, but every single person can make a difference in helping to eradicate modern-day slavery in your generation.

    In my small group in New York City, most of our members knew little about this subject before joining. Like most people, I thought slavery was largely a thing of the past, and that if it still existed, it was rare and confined to places far away. I was saddened and shocked by what I’ve learned about the many faces of slavery and its prevalence everywhere including right in my own home city.

    As a relatively new group, we have come together with the primary aim of raising awareness about all forms human trafficking, including both sex trafficking and labor trafficking (which often gets less attention in the media), as well as related issues. We have spent a couple of years putting together our web site FightSlaveryNow.Org, in order to compile a comprehensive resource for citizens like yourself and your fellow students. Additionally, the Files section of our Meetup site is a trove of documents and all kinds of information about aspects of this issue.

    What, in your opinion, are the most imperative aspects of a movement such as this? The most startling fact about modern-day slavery is its prevalence almost everywhere in the world. 27 million men, women and children living in some form of bondage. Modern-day slavery is a crossroad for many other social justice issues such as poverty, equality for women, racism, globalization of trade, labor rights and much more. It is promising that opposition to slavery cuts across all the many lines that too often divide people of good will, be they political, ethnic, religious, gender or race.
    What advice do you have for a group of only 400 eighth-grade students? Think positive! 400 is a HUGE number of people, IF each one takes some small action. Read. Both online and in print. Find out all you can. Share. Raise awareness, spread the word, make ripples to create waves. Act. Support Fair Trade. Start a club to support one another, brainstorm and keep up momentum. Write to your representatives. Scrutinize the procurement policies of your school, your place of worship, your local government.
    What techniques are best for utilization and will benefit our group well? Find out about a charity or non-profit organization in or near your hometown that assists victims of this abuse. Then plan awareness raising fundraisers by screening a film, having a bake sale, clothing drive or raffle event. The SLAVERY MAP is a hugely helpful tool for illustrating how close to everyone’s home modern-day slavery is.
    Could you or the site offer any vague form of assistance in our movement? The best pages on our website to reference are “The Ethical Consumer”, and “What You Can Do”. Because of your age group, your peers might be especially interested in “Street Children” and also in the issue of slavery in the production of chocolate, especially the complicity of companies like Hershey’s and Nestle’s.
    What information about slavery can you provide us with? Our website is fairly comprehensive, but there is a page on our Meetup site, the first listing on the Message Board: INFO & LINKS that will provide further information including book reviews, useful quotations, and links to many other organizations around the world.

    On behalf of all our members, I wish to extend my appreciation to you and your fellow students for delving into this difficult subject. We wish you the best of luck!

    Peace, Justice and Freedom…
    Avra Cohen
    Co-organizer, Fight Slavery Now!
    FightSlaveryNow.Org

  3. Aisha Sial Says:

    Peace be with you,
    Thank you.
    Your website supports my thirst for understanding and guidance as an organizer of a women’s interfaith meeting to honor the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) Seeratun-Nabi The Seal of the Prophets.
    We plan to focus on how the teachings of Islam provide answers to this horrific contemporary issue. By remembering the way he built relationships with the slaves we can better focus on our daily choices in the market, “What is the true cost of human suffering?” And with every message we send, “Am i spreading words of peaceful empowerment to those in the grip of cruel human masters?”
    Any advice? Our audience most likely will include a somewhat diverse gathering of women and children..
    May Allah grant you the best rewards possible in this world and the next.
    Aisha Sial

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