1775

Anthony Benezet and the Society for the Relief of Free Negros Unlawfully Held in Bondage

1775

The first American society dedicated to the sole mission of abolition was created on April 14, 1775 by Anthony Benezet. It was called the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage. Benezet was born in France in 1713. His family were French Protestants who left France to avoid religious persecution when he was only two years old. They went to London. When Benezet was 18 his family moved again to Philadelphia where he became a Quaker. It was Benezet who asked Quakers to give up their slaves and proved to them that owning other human beings was against the Quaker philosophy. After his death in 1784 his society was renamed the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage. In 1787 Benjamin Franklin became the president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery.