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Crusade Against Slavery

Edward Coles was a wealthy heir to a central Virginia plantation, an ardent emancipator, the second governor of Illinois, the loyal personal secretary to President James Madison, and a close antislavery associate of Thomas Jefferson. Yet never before has a full-length book detailed his remarkable life story and his role in the struggle to free all slaves. In Crusade Against Slavery, Kurt E. Leichtle and Bruce G. Carveth correct this oversight with the first modern and complete biography of a unique but little-known and quietly influential figure in American history.

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Rejecting slavery from a young age, Coles' early wishes to free his family's slaves initially were stymied by legal, practical and family barriers. Instead he went to Washington, D.C., where his work in the White House was a life-changing blend of social glitter, secretarial drudge, and distasteful political patronage.

Returning home, he researched places where he could live out his ideals. After considerable planning and preparation, he left his family's Virginia tobacco plantation in 1819 and started the long trip west to Edwardsville, Illinois, pausing along the Ohio River on an emotional April morning to free his slaves and offer each family 160 acres of Illinois land of their own.

Some continued to work for Coles, while others were left to find work for themselves. This book revisits the lives of the slaves Coles freed, including a noted preacher and contributor to the founding of what is now the second-oldest black Baptist organization in America.

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From Bruce Carveth's YouTube channel: Crusade Against Slavery - Edward Coles, Pioneer of Freedom:

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on November 7, 2018


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