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Fri, 07.25.1806

Maria Chapman, Abolitionist born

Maria W. Chapman

Maria Chapman was born on this date in 1806. She was a white-American abolitionist.

Maria Weston was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts.  When she was 24, she married Henry Grafton Chapman, a Boston merchant. Both became campaigners against slavery and in 1832, she joined 12 other women to form the New England Anti-Slavery Society.

Chapman worked closely with William Lloyd Garrison and helped him edit The Liberator Newspaper. In 1836, she compiled "Songs of the Free and Hymns of Christian Freedom." Three years later, she published "Right and Wrong in Massachusetts," a pamphlet that argued the divisions in the Anti-Slavery Society that were being created over the issue of woman's rights.  Chapman was editor of the anti-slavery journal, "Non-Resistant" (1839-1842). Other books written by Chapman included "Memorials of Harriet Martineau"(1877).

In 1839, Chapman and two other women, Lucretia Mott and Lydia Maria Child were elected to the executive committee of the Anti-Slavery Society. This upset some male members of society.  Lewis Tappan, the brother of Arthur Tappan, the society's president, argued, "To put a woman on the committee with men is contrary to the usages of civilized society."

Other leaders such as Garrison, Theodore Weld, Wendell Phillips, and Frederick Douglass were as committed to women's rights as they were to the abolition of slavery.  Others disagreed with this view, and in 1840, a group including Tappan, James Birney, and Gerrit Smith left the Anti-Slavery Society and formed a rival organization, the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society.

Maria Weston Chapman died on July 12th, 1885.


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