Abolitionist Children’s Alphabet

The Quakers were known for their outspokenness against slavery in the US during a time when it was legal throughout the land.   Hannah and Mary Townsend were sisters who lived in Pennsylvania.  They knew that young minds were being taught early on in their lives that racial prestige was important and that the slave was not a person of worth.  They decided that in order to break that chain of slavery and hatred, the younger generation needed to learn about the realities of slavery.  They needed to do something to help them see the humanity within the slaves. They wanted to show the slaves love and give them justice from their oppression.  They knew that children could also help teach adults of their wrong doing when they learned about such things.  The sisters decided to create this book called The Anti-Slavery Alphabet.  It was published and released in late 1846, 15 years before the Civil War broke out.  The Mississippi Department of Archives and History released the book for public viewing.

Read through the book for yourself and see how it can still tie in with modern-day slavery today in various ways.  Let us also teach our children of what is going on now so they can continue to fight for the oppressed today, making slavery and racism non-existent when they are grown.  The book is passionate and raw with its powerful honesty and imagery.  You’d think that this would possibly scare a child and cause them to cry for how another person was being treated.  This could cause them to have compassion to never approve of slavery and the mistreatment of people.

Let us know what you think about this alphabet. Which letter was your favorite to read?


  1. This is fascinating! It is hard to choose a “favorite” when it relates to such a sad topic (especially when I pause to remember that we are still fighting against this more than two centuries later), but I thought Y and Z were on the hopeful side, so I like them. Thanks for posting this. It is very thought provoking!


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