Looking for new sources to use in teaching about abolition? The Historical Society of Pennsylvania has the records of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, which shed light on not only the lives of enslaved peoples but also the free black population of Philadelphia.
Growing out of egalitarian concerns of members of the Society of Friends, the Pennsylvania Abolition Society (PAS), as it is now known, was founded in 1775 as the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage. The Revolution caused its early Quaker members to suspend operations until 1784, when it reorganized with a broader base. From the beginning, the Abolition Society's programs were devoted not only to the abolition of slavery, but to the social and economic improvement of Black Americans as well.
Antebellum Philadelphia was home to the largest free black community in Philadelphia. The free black community in Philadelphia was one of the largest groups of African Americans living in an urban area in the 18th and 19th centuries. These lessons explore the ways in which the PAS worked with and for that community, providing education and employment assistance in the years following abolition in Pennsylvania and before the Civil War. T