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G. David Houston
John Woolman's Efforts in Behalf of Freedom. From the Journal of Negro History 2, no. 2 (April 1917), 126-138
Lancaster, Pa; Washington, D. C.: The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Inc., 1917.


In this short article written for the Journal of Negro History in 1917, Houston offers a short biography of John Woolman (1720-1777), Quaker, shopkeeper, and early abolitionist. At the age of twenty-six, Woolman traveled in Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina with his friend Isaac Andrews. It was on this trip, according to Houston, that Woolman was first exposed to "the miseries of slavery" (129). He was especially disturbed by fellow Quakers who owned slaves, and he spent much of his life working for the abolition of slavery within the Society of Friends. Houston recognizes him as a diminished but important figure: "Although...his name does not command a conspicuous place on the pages of anthologies, the true lovers of freedom and the sincere exponents of the Christian religion will always remember with reverence the wonderful service of John Woolman, the pious Quaker of New Jersey" (138).

Brent Kinser

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