Guide to the Record Book of the New Jersey State Anti-Slavery Society 1839-1845 MG 134
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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The New Jersey Historical Society, Publisher
Inventory prepared by Stephen Yautz as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Finding aid encoded by Danielle Kovacs. February 2004. Production of the EAD 2002 version of this finding aid was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Finding aid written in English.
The New Jersey State Anti-Slavery Society was formed in 1839 as a state-level chapter of the American Anti-Slavery Society, which was formed in 1833 under the leadership of William Lloyd Garrison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The purpose of the organization was to achieve “the immediate abolition of slavery from our whole land.” The activities of the group ultimately focused on lobbying state politicians to pass legislation that would abolish slavery, and to keep the institution of slavery from spreading to new states entering the Union. The New Jersey State Anti-Slavery Society’s main objective was achieved, at least legally, in 1846, when the state of New Jersey enacted its second abolition law. It was a hollow victory, since the law only formally outlawed slavery in New Jersey. It made the remaining slaves in the state apprentices for life, which, in practice, allowed slavery to exist in an altered fashion throughout New Jersey.
Although it is not known when the New Jersey State Anti-Slavery Society ceased to exist, the American Anti-Slavery Society was formally dissolved in 1870, after the Civil War and the emancipation of slaves nationwide.
This collection consists of a record book belonging to the New Jersey State Anti-Slavery Society covering the years 1839 to 1845. Included in the record book are the constitution, bylaws, membership lists, and minutes of the meetings of the society. Amongst the members listed are Samuel Aaron, Ellison Congar, John A. King, Joshua Leavitt, and Abraham Miller.
In keeping with the society’s mission to abolish slavery and speak out against the racism associated with it, they resolved “that the following Resolution passed by the general committee of the Methodist Episcopal Church in May 1840 is outrageously unjust,” since the committee had resolved that it is unjustifiable for any preacher to allow “colored persons” testify against white persons. Consequently, the society decided to lobby their legislators to remedy this inequality.
The last entry, dated May 13, 1845, indicates the topic of discussion was the admission of Texas into the Union as a state in which slavery could exist; the society vehemently opposed the introduction of legalized slavery into Texas. The minutes from the meeting held on that date completes the volume.
There are no access restrictions on this collection.
Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff.
Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.
The New Jersey Historical Society complies with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code), which governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials.
For related collections pertaining to New Jersey persons and organizations involved in the abolitionist movement, see:
For related collections pertaining to New Jersey State Anti-Slavery Society member Samuel Aaron, see:
This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 134, The New Jersey State Anti-Slavery Society Record Book, The New Jersey Historical Society
This collection is the gift of Mrs. John H.N. Condict, 1925.