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Tue, 11.09.1802

Elijah Lovejoy, Minister, and Abolitionist born

Elijah LoveJoy

Elijah Parish Lovejoy was born on this date in 1802. He was a white-American abolitionist.

He was born in Albion, ME, the son of a Congregational minister and brother of Owen Lovejoy. After graduating from Waterville College in 1826, Lovejoy moved to St. Louis, where he worked as an editor of an anti-Jacksonian newspaper and ran a school.  Five years later, influenced by the Revivalist movement, he became a preacher, attending the Princeton Theological Seminary.

In 1834, Lovejoy became the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in St. Louis. He started a religious newspaper, the St. Louis Observer, where he advocated the abolition of slavery. In 1836, Lovejoy published a full account of the lynching of a Black in St. Louis and the subsequent trial that acquitted the mob leaders.

This critical report angered some local whites, and a white mob destroyed his press. Unable to publish his newspaper in St. Louis, Lovejoy moved to Alton, IL, where he became an active member of the local Anti-Slavery Society.  He also began editing the Alton Observer and continued to advocate the end of slavery.  "We distinctly avow it to be our settled purpose, never, while life lasts, to yield to this new system of attempting to destroy, by means of mob violence, the right of conscience, the freedom of opinion, and of the press."  White mobs seized Lovejoy's printing press three times and were thrown into the Mississippi River. Lovejoy wrote in his paper:

On November 7, 1837, Lovejoy received another press from the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society. When local slave owners heard about the arrival of the new machine, they decided to destroy it. A group of his friends attempted to protect it, but during the attack, Lovejoy was killed.


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