Frances Wright, 1881

Nashoba: Not So Interracial, Not So Utopian

In the 1820s, Frances Wright established a community whose major project was the emancipation of enslaved people. Why did it crash and burn?
John Brown

America, Lost and Found at Wounded Knee

Stephen Vincent Benét’s lost epic “John Brown’s Body” envisions a nation sutured together after the Civil War, but fails to reckon with the war’s causes.
Anthony Benezet

The Undercover Abolitionists of the 18th Century

Since many people considered them an off-putting radical sect, some Quaker abolitionists worked behind the scenes to eradicate slavery.
Portrait of William Blake, 1807

William Blake, Radical Abolitionist

Blake’s works offer an alternative to the failures of the Enlightenment, which couldn’t muster a consistent argument for abolition.
selling great britain to texas

The Plan to Sell Texas to Great Britain

Stephen Pearl Andrews, a lawyer, Houston socialite, and abolitionist, concocted a plan to free Texas' slaves—with a hint of treason.
Mark Twain

Was Mark Twain a Con Man?

A man named Samuel Clemens received funds from the radical abolitionist Boston Vigilance Committee in 1854. It may have been Mark Twain, pulling a prank.
portrait of abolitionist James Hinds, 1860s

The White Carpetbagger Who Died Trying to Protect African-Americans’ Civil Rights

James Hinds was assassinated for his beliefs, and today is largely forgotten. He stood up for African-American civil rights during the Reconstruction, provoking the KKK's ire.
Benjamin Lay portrait

Benjamin Lay: The Radical “Quaker Comet”

Benjamin Lay was a radical abolitionist who helped turn the Quakers from slave-holders to leaders of the anti-slavery movement.
Portrait of Frederick Douglass

Some Facts About Frederick Douglass

President Trump praised abolitionist Frederick Douglass in his first remarks on Black History Month.
Harpers Ferry illustration

John Brown: Feared Fanatic or Freedom Fighter?

Murderous terrorist fanatic or freedom fighter? No figure in American history raises that question more than John Brown.