Edited by Brycchan Carey and Geoffrey Plank, the goal of Quakers & Abolition is to show "the complexity and diversity of Quaker antislavery attitudes across three centuries." The introduction is an elegant analysis of the history and historiography of Quaker antislavery, and, in my opinion, a must read. Carey and Plank observe the central tension in Quaker antislavery: "The Quakers are celebrated as leaders in the campaign against slavery in the eighteenth century but they came to that position, only because, for generations, many of them were slaveholders" (1). Into the nineteenth century, this complex history shaped different Quaker perspectives on the abolitionist movement and racial equality. Despite the tendency to celebrate Quakers as an antislavery vanguard, the editors note that outside of specialist (mostly Friends) circles, "the Quakers' involvement in debates over slavery is underappreciated" (5). This interdisciplinary volume offers an essential correction to this public and professional slight, with Gary B. Nash's lively "The Hidden Story of Quakers and Slavery," examining portrayals (or lack thereof) in twentieth-century textbooks.
Some highlights from the Table of Contents, with essays of special interest to readers of this blog:
J. William Frost, "Why Quakers and Slavery? Why Not More Quakers?"
Thomas D. Hamm, "George F. White and Hicksite Opposition to the Abolitionist Movement"
Nancy A. Hewitt, "The Spiritual Journeys of an Abolitionist: Amy Kirby Post, 1802-1889"
Kristen Block, "Quaker Evangelization in Early Barbadoes, Forging a Path toward the Unknowable"
Christopher Densmore, "Aim for a Free State and Settle Among the Quakers: African American and Quaker Parallel Communities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey"
Andrew Diemer," The Quaker and the Colonist: Moses Sheppard, Samuel Ford McGill, and Transatlantic Antislavery across the Color Line"