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Sat, 01.01.1831

The Liberator Newspaper Begins Circulation

Liberator News (copy)

*On the first day of January 1831 in Boston, William Lloyd Garrison published The Liberator newspaper, the official periodical of the antislavery movement.

This weekly newspaper ran for 34 years (until Dec. 29, 1865). It was the most influential antislavery publication in the pre-Civil War period of U.S. history. Although The Liberator, available in Boston, could claim a paid circulation of only 3,000, it reached a much wider readership with its uncompromising advocacy of immediate emancipation for the millions of Black Americans enslaved throughout the South. "The success of any great moral enterprise," Garrison once wrote, "does not depend upon numbers."

His message of morality challenged moderate reformers to apply the principles of the Declaration of Independence to all people, regardless of color. Nervous slaveholders in the South, assuming that The Liberator represented the majority opinion of Northerners, reacted militantly by defending slavery and by legislating ever more stringent measures to suppress all possible opposition to its "peculiar institution."

The Liberator further altered the course of the American antislavery movement by insisting that abolition, rather than African colonization, was the answer to the problem of slavery.

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The Anti-Slavery Society


The African American Atlas:
Black History & Culture an Illustrated Reference
by Molefi K. Asanta and Mark T. Mattson
Macmillan USA, Simon & Schuster, New York
ISBN 0-02-864984-2

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