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Tue, 11.09.1802

Elijah Lovejoy, minister and abolitionist publisher, killed for his views

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 worked as an editor of an anti-Jacksonian newspaper and ran a school. Five years later, influenced by the Revivalist movement, he decided to become 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 an African-American in St. Louis and the subsequent trial that acquitted the mob leaders.

This critical report angered some local people and his press was destroyed by a white mob. 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. Three times Lovejoy's printing press was seized by white mobs and thrown into the Mississippi River. Lovejoy wrote in his paper: "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."

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.

The World Book Encyclopedia.
Copyright 1996, World Book, Inc.
ISBN 0-7166-0096-X

The Anti-Slavery Society

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