Ohio Anti-Slavery Society

Gamaliel Bailey

Gamaliel Bailey

The Ohio Anti-Slavery Society was founded in 1835 by abolitionists.  Notable founding members included Asa Mahan, John Rankin, Theodore Dwight Weld, and Charles Finney. 

Ohio River Valley Anti-Slavery activists were not integrationists.  Many members believe African Americans should not be involved in activities.  The Ohio Anti-Slavery Society did not see the abolishment of slavery necessary because of racial inequality but as a political necessity.  African Americans should not “be put into possession of all political privilege any more than . . . native citizens not qualified to vote. . .”  Leading members of the Indiana Quaker Anti-Slavery Committee wanted the county racially divided to prevent amalgamation.[1]

Several conferences held throughout Ohio by Anti-Slavery Society members discussed strategies for ending slavery.  Conferees proclaimed African American participation as unimportant and unnecessary.  The Ohio Anti-Slavery Society affirmed itself the dominate leader in the fight to abolish slavery.  Whites organized themselves into the Underground Railroad asserting themselves as the only support for fugitive slaves.  The terms “conductors”, “stations”, and “passengers” coined by abolitionists during this time, ignored frontline operations and African American involvement.[2] 

Smaller Anti-slavery socities formed in Ohio. The most popular in Ripley, Ohio.  A major stopping point on the Underground Railroad, the Ripley Anit-slavery society had over 300 members including several Congressmen.  
 

With the help of John Rankin and Gamaliel Bailey, the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society slowly accepted African American involvement.  Rankin declared racial prejudice criminal and a violation of the “law of love.”  Editor The Philanthropist exasperated by the still present prejudice urged members to put themselves in the shoes of blacks and imagine being “ . . .thrust out from honorable employment, and doomed to see our offspring growing up under the curse of caste, listless, hopeless and idle. . .”[3] 


[1] Griffler, Keith P. Front line of Freedom: African Americans and the forging of the Underground Railroad in the Ohio Valley. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2004), 78.

[2] (Griffler 2004) 75-76.

[3] Griffler, Keith P. Front line of Freedom: African Americans and the forging of the Underground Railroad in the Ohio Valley. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2004), 77-78

 

 

Anti-Slavery Society
Ohio Anti-Slavery Society