Quakers played a major role in the abolition movement against slavery. The Quakers were the first whites to denounce slavery in the American colonies and Europe. Quakers began denouncing slavery as early as 1688, when four German Quakers started protesting near Pennsylvania. John Woolman and Anthony Benezet protested against slavery, and demanded that the Quaker society cut ties with the slave trade. These two individuals led the abolitionist movement in Pennsylvania. It was their belief that if the slave trade was stopped, then the institution of slavery would soon follow.

The Pennsylvania Abolition Society consisted primarily of Quakers. In fact, seven of the ten original white members were Quakers, and 17 of the 24 who attended the four meetings held by the Pennsylvania Abolition Society were Quakers. Quakers were also prominently involved with the Underground Railroad. For example, Levi Coffin started helping runaway slaves as a child in North Carolina. Later in his life, Coffin moved to the Ohio-Indiana area, where he became known as the President of the Underground Railroad.

Many families assisted slaves in their travels through the Underground Railroad. Belmont to Salem, Ohio.

Many Quakers were persecuted by slave owners because of their opposition to slavery. Unfortunately, many Quakers were forced west in an attempt to avoid persecution.


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