What Have We, as Individuals, to Do with Slavery?
An 1855 tract by abolitionist Susan Cabot calling on individual citizens to assume responsibility for ending slavery; published by the American Anti-Slavery Society. Digitized by the Antislavery Literature Project.
Susan C. Cabot (1794-1861), from a leading
In this tract Cabot addresses those who find excuses to avoid confrontation with slavery, pleading other preoccupation with other causes or futility in such efforts. She responds that “our interest for the slave springs from the same source as our interest for the poor” (2) and that justice is not limited by race. Those sympathetic to the cause of the slave too often function under “a distinct idea that they must accomplish something” (2) in practical terms, Cole observes, but their real accomplishment comes in demonstrating solidarity and public sympathy with the slave. Cole argues that racial prejudice limits white solidarity with slaves and must be overcome: “But the poor negro whose dark skin we are unaccustomed to, whose chains are riveted by the hand of the white man, who degradation is compelled by the avarice of selfishness, must be pleased for, must be reasoned about, before we can penetrate the prejudice that hardens the heart against him…” (3) If these were three million white rather than black slaves, she comments, there would be great sympathy and less criticism of inadequate measures. Cole finds that the antislavery movement in
- Joe Lockard