Josephine Sophia White Griffing

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Activist in the Abolitionist and Women's Rights Movements

Image: Family of Slaves
Washington, DC, 1861

Josephine Sophia White Griffing was a social reform activist who campaigned for the abolition of slavery and women's rights. In 1864, she moved to our nation's capital to help the newly freed slaves who were streaming into the capital by the thousands. Griffing worked [Read More ...]

Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin

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Journalist and Founder of African American Women's Clubs

Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin was an African American leader, a publisher, journalist and editor of Women's Era, the first newspaper published by and for African American women. She was an abolitionist and suffragist, and she is perhaps best remembered for her role in establishing clubs for African American women.

Early Years
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Port Royal Experiment

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The U.S. Government and the Sea Island Slaves

Backstory
In August 1861, at Fortress Monroe in Virginia, Union General Benjamin Butler declared that the slaves who escaped and came into his lines for protection were contraband of war, a term commonly used thereafter to describe this new status of slaves, which meant that the Army would not return escaped [Read More ...]

Helen Benson Garrison

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Abolitionist and Wife of William Lloyd Garrison

While her husband got all the glory, Helen Benson Garrison was an abolitionist in her own right. She raised funds for the American Anti-Slavery Society in many ways, particularly as a manager of the annual Boston Anti-Slavery Bazaar.

Helen Benson was born on February 23, 1811 in Providence, Rhode Island to George and [Read More ...]

Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad

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The Savior of Hundreds of Slaves

Image: Harriet Tubman Leading The Way

After Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery, she returned to the South nineteen times and escorted hundreds of slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, a secret network of brave abolitionists and safe houses where runaway slaves could rest during their journey north to the free states or Canada.

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Elizabeth Packard

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Advocate for the Rights of Married Women

Elizabeth Packard was a social reformer whose experiences in a mental hospital began her quest for protective legislation for the insane and improved married women's rights. She wrote numerous books and lobbied legislatures literally from coast to coast, advocating more stringent commitment laws, protections for the rights of asylum patients, and laws to [Read More ...]