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Henson, Josiah (1789–1883), escaped slave, slavery abolitionist, and Methodist minister, was born on 15 June 1789 in Charles county, Maryland, USA, one of six children of slave parents. He experienced the harsh realities of slavery early in life. He saw his father receive 100 lashes and then have his ear cut off as punishment for defending his mother from the plantation overseer. His father was then sold south and was never heard from again. ...

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William Knibb (1803–1845) by George Baxter, 1847 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Knibb, William (1803–1845), missionary and abolitionist, was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, on 7 September 1803; one of twins, he was the fifth of eight children of Thomas Knibb, a tailor who subsequently became bankrupt, and Mary, née Dexter. William attended the Kettering Free School...

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Levy, Moses Elias (1782–1854), Jewish reformer and slavery abolitionist, was born in Mogador, Morocco, on 10 July 1782, son of Eliahu Ha-Levi ibn Yuli (d. c.1800), a courtier and royal merchant, and his wife, Rachel, one of three wives in a plural marriage. The ...

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Massie, James William (1799–1869), missionary and abolitionist, born in Ireland, was taught by Dr David Bogue, presumably at the missionary college at Gosport, Hampshire, and began his independent ministry as a missionary to India, where he lived and worked from 1822 until 1839. His ...

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Waller, Horace (1833–1896), missionary and slavery abolitionist, was born in Tavistock Square, London, on 16 February 1833, the first son of six children of John Waller (c.1791–1865), stockbroker, and his wife, Mary Ann. He had three brothers and two sisters. From 1840 to May 1846 he attended ...

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Wilberforce, William (1759–1833), politician, philanthropist, and slavery abolitionist, was born on 24 August 1759 at the Wilberforce house in High Street, Hull, the third child and only son of Robert Wilberforce (1728–1768), merchant, and his wife, Elizabeth (d. 1798), daughter of Thomas Bird...

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William Wilberforce (1759–1833) by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1828 [unfinished] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Woolman, John (1720–1772), Quaker minister and anti-slavery campaigner, was born at Rancocas in Burlington county, New Jersey, on 19 October 1720. He was one of thirteen children of Samuel Woolman (1690–1750) and his wife, Elizabeth, née Burr (1695–1773). In 1678 his forebears settled in the Quaker colony of ...