The color of abolition How a printer, a prophet, and a contessa moved a nation

Linda Hirshman, 1944-

Book - 2022

"The story of the fascinating, fraught alliance among Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Maria Weston Chapman -- and how its breakup led to the success of America's most important social movement. In the crucial early years of the Abolition movement, the Boston branch of the cause seized upon the star power of the eloquent ex-slave Frederick Douglass to make its case for slaves' freedom. Journalist William Lloyd Garrison promoted emancipation while Garrison loyalist M...aria Weston Chapman, known as "the Contessa," raised money and managed Douglass's speaking tour from her Boston townhouse. Conventional histories have seen Douglass's departure for the New York wing of the Abolition party as a result of a rift between Douglass and Garrison. But, as acclaimed historian Linda Hirshman reveals, this completely misses the woman in power. Weston Chapman wrote cutting letters to Douglass, doubting his loyalty; the Bostonian abolitionists were shot through with racist prejudice, even aiming the N-word at Douglass among themselves. Through incisive, original analysis, Hirshman convinces that the inevitable breakup was in fact a successful failure. Eventually, as the most sought-after Black activist in America, Douglass was able to dangle the prize of his endorsement over the Republican Party's candidate for President, Abraham Lincoln. Two years later the abolition of slavery -- if not the abolition of racism -- became immutable law." --

Saved in:

2nd Floor New Shelf Show me where

973.7114/Hirshman
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor New Shelf 973.7114/Hirshman (NEW SHELF) Checked In
Subjects
Published
Boston ; New York : Mariner Books 2022.
Language
English
Physical Description
xviii, 330 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 279-314) and index.
ISBN
9781328900241
132890024X
Main Author
Linda Hirshman, 1944- (author)
  • Introduction: Meeting on Nantucket
  • Part I: Allies arise
  • Printer Garrison learns his trade
  • Manager Weston Chapman comes of age
  • Garrison will be heard
  • The enslaved write their history
  • Frederick Douglass's history in slavery
  • Frederick Douglass's escape
  • Part II: Abolition takes root
  • David Walker appeals and Garrison hears
  • Starting the black and white antislavery societies
  • A national movement emerges
  • The Liberator will be read
  • Maria Weston Chapman takes the reins
  • Antislavery on the march
  • Moral Garrison splits with the politicos
  • Part III: The Grand Alliance at work
  • Douglas joins Garrison
  • The Façade and the cracks in the Alliance
  • Political abolition pulls on Garrisonians
  • The cracks widen
  • Douglass writes and Garrison publishes
  • Frederick Douglass, international superstar and publisher
  • Part IV: Douglass to the political side
  • Slave power rises and abolition power rises
  • The private lives of public activists
  • Compromise makes conflict worse
  • Douglass recruits the Constitution
  • Part V: Douglass and Garrison divide
  • The political divorce
  • The personal divorce
  • Epilogue: Three meetings and a funeral.
Review by Library Journal Reviews

While the lives of Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison have been extensively covered in their own biographies, Hirshman (Reckoning; Sisters-in-Law) wanted to know more about their interracial alliance to end slavery and why it fell apart. What she discovered in her research for this book was a wealthy white woman at the center, Maria Weston Chapman, a largely forgotten figure in this story. Hirshman combed through the many thousands of letters abolitionists sent to and from Chapman, who supported and largely controlled Boston's American Anti-Slavery Society, which funded Douglass's and Garrison's speaking careers and The Liberator, Garrison's newspaper. Hirshman contends that Chapman drove a wedge between the two men by expressing her disdain to many members of the movement that Douglass dared to publish his memoir (to great acclaim) and strive for financial independence from his white benefactors. Douglass eventually left for Rochester, where he found refuge among abolitionists and started his own newspaper. The book includes black-and-white photographs of the central figures. VERDICT Hirshman brings much-needed attention to the little-known triangulation between Garrison, Douglass, and Chapman, opening a new realm of inquiry for readers of the history of slavery and abolition.—Kate Stewart Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Historian and former labor lawyer Hirshman (Reckoning) focuses this informative look at the 19th-century antislavery movement on the relationship between Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison. Publisher of the abolitionist newspaper the Liberator and founder of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, Garrison and his followers called for immediate freedom for enslaved people and refused to work with any political or religious institution that didn't reject slavery. Douglass was one of the most sought-after speakers and writers associated with Garrison's network of antislavery societies until 1853, when he broke with the group to join the more politically focused American Anti-Slavery Society. Hirshman traces the roots of the fallout to Maria Weston Chapman, a wealthy activist who organized fund-raising bazaars and petition campaigns for Garrison and ran the Liberator in his absences. According to Hirshman, it was Weston Chapman's "casual racism" and attempts to micromanage Douglass, coupled with his doubts about the effectiveness of Garrison's policy of "nonpolitical nonresistance," that led to the break, a realignment of the antislavery movement that Hirshman contends was crucial to electing Abraham Lincoln in 1860. By lucidly untangling the abolitionist movement's complex web of alliances, Hirshman sheds light on the antebellum period and the dynamics of social movements in general. American history buffs will be engrossed. Illus. Agent: David Kuhn, Aevitas Creative Management. (Feb.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Recounts the story of the fascinating, fraught relationship between Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Maria Weston Chapman, and how its breakup led to the success of America's most important social movement.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A journalist and New York Times best-selling author, through incisive, original analysis, recounts the story of the fascinating, fraught relationship between Frederick Douglas, William Lloyd Garrison and Maria Weston Chpman, and how its breakup led to the success of America’s most important social movement. 15,000 first printing. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The story of the fascinating, fraught alliance among Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Maria Weston Chapman—and how its breakup led to the success of America’s most important social movement.“Fresh, provocative and engrossing.” —New York TimesIn the crucial early years of the Abolition movement, the Boston branch of the cause seized upon the star power of the eloquent ex-slave Frederick Douglass to make its case for slaves’ freedom. Journalist William Lloyd Garrison promoted emancipation while Garrison loyalist Maria Weston Chapman, known as “the Contessa,” raised money and managed Douglass’s speaking tour from her Boston townhouse.Conventional histories have seen Douglass’s departure for the New York wing of the Abolition party as a result of a rift between Douglass and Garrison. But, as acclaimed historian Linda Hirshman reveals, this completely misses the woman in power. Weston Chapman wrote cutting letters to Douglass, doubting his loyalty; the Bostonian abolitionists were shot through with racist prejudice, even aiming the N-word at Douglass among themselves. Through incisive, original analysis, Hirshman convinces that the inevitable breakup was in fact a successful failure. Eventually, as the most sought-after Black activist in America, Douglass was able to dangle the prize of his endorsement over the Republican Party’s candidate for president, Abraham Lincoln. Two years later the abolition of slavery—if not the abolition of racism—became immutable law.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The story of the fascinating, fraught alliance among Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Maria Weston Chapman—and how its breakup led to the success of America's most important social movement     In the crucial early years of the Abolition movement, the Boston branch of the cause seized upon the star power of the eloquent ex-slave Frederick Douglass to make its case for slaves’ freedom. Journalist  William Lloyd Garrison promoted emancipation while Garrison loyalist Maria Weston Chapman, known as “the Contessa,” raised money and managed Douglass’s speaking tour from her Boston townhouse.    Conventional histories have seen Douglass’s departure for the New York wing of the Abolition party as a result of a rift between Douglass and Garrison. But, as acclaimed historian Linda Hirshman reveals, this completely misses the woman in power. Weston Chapman wrote cutting letters to Douglass, doubting his loyalty; the Bostonian abolitionists were shot through with racist prejudice, even aiming the N-word at Douglass among themselves. Through incisive, original analysis, Hirshman convinces that the inevitable breakup was in fact a successful failure.Eventually, as the most sought-after Black activist in America, Douglass was able to dangle the prize of his endorsement over the Republican Party’s candidate for President, Abraham Lincoln. Two years later the abolition of slavery—if not the abolition of racism—became immutable law.    

Review by Publisher Summary 5

The story of the fascinating, fraught alliance among Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Maria Weston Chapman—and how its breakup led to the success of America’s most important social movement