The Color of Abolition: How a Printer, a Prophet, and a Contessa Moved a Nation

Linda R. Hirshman. Mariner, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-1-328-90024-1
Historian and former labor lawyer Hirshman (Reckoning) focuses this informative look at the 19th-century antislavery movement on the relationship between Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison. Publisher of the abolitionist newspaper the Liberator and founder of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, Garrison and his followers called for immediate freedom for enslaved people and refused to work with any political or religious institution that didn’t reject slavery. Douglass was one of the most sought-after speakers and writers associated with Garrison’s network of antislavery societies until 1853, when he broke with the group to join the more politically focused American Anti-Slavery Society. Hirshman traces the roots of the fallout to Maria Weston Chapman, a wealthy activist who organized fund-raising bazaars and petition campaigns for Garrison and ran the Liberator in his absences. According to Hirshman, it was Weston Chapman’s “casual racism” and attempts to micromanage Douglass, coupled with his doubts about the effectiveness of Garrison’s policy of “nonpolitical nonresistance,” that led to the break, a realignment of the antislavery movement that Hirshman contends was crucial to electing Abraham Lincoln in 1860. By lucidly untangling the abolitionist movement’s complex web of alliances, Hirshman sheds light on the antebellum period and the dynamics of social movements in general. American history buffs will be engrossed. Illus. Agent: David Kuhn, Aevitas Creative Management. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/10/2021
Release date: 02/08/2022
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-358-65449-0
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