The American Anti-Slavery Society has had a unique presence in the United States. Established in the mid 1800s, the Anti-Slavery Society was a committee of people committed to a common mission of ending the evils of slavery. William Lloyd Garrison was a proud member of the Anti-slavery Society. Many of these members have openly claimed and associated themselves with the Anti-Slavery Society movement. We must attempt to track down members of the Anti-Slavery Society that are stationed near or in Suffield, CT. These members would have most likely been aware of the Underground Railroad, if not been actively involved in the Underground Railroad.
To better understand the mission and function of the Anti-Slavery Society we must look back to their “Declaration of the National Anti-Slavery Convention.” The Anti-Slavery Society’s Declaration is packed with emotional and motivational words that helped inspire a new movement. For example:
“Therefore, we believe and affirm:
That there is no difference, in principle, between the African slave trade and American slavery.
That every American citizen who retains a human being in involuntary bondage as his property is (according to Scripture) a man stealer.
That the slaves ought instantly to be set free and brought under the protection of law.”
The Anti-Slavery Society also citied the Declaration of Independence and drew a connection between slavery and the Founding Fathers original ideals and failed execution. These words ran throughout the entire United States and rang harsh in the ears of those who supported Slavery and turned the heads of others. Through talks like these, the Anti-Slavery Society was able to enlist a large membership. Members of the Anti-Slaver Society lived by, and swore by the Declaration of the National Anti-Slavery Convention. The Anti-Slavery Society was formed based upon the primus that slavery was evil. Although there presence was faced with mass controversy, their membership soon flourished.
Suffield, CT was involved in the Anti-Slavery Society movement. And, in fact, had a church that was dedicated to the mission. It is also significant to note that, the first antislavery societies were formed in neighboring states, specifically, Amherst. Since its origin is not located that far from Suffield, it is reasonable to conclude that there was a significant amount of anti-slavery support in these areas. And where we find antislavery support, we often find Underground Railroad agents and stations. Suffield residence could have helped establish the Anti-Slavery Committee even if it was in an indirect way. By analyzing the mission statement of the Anti-Slavery Society, and understanding its local origin of establishment, I believe there is sufficient evidence that would connect Suffield to Underground Railroad enthusiasts. Perhaps, members of the Anti-slavery society convinced Suffield residence to join the Underground Railroad, but because of its nature of secrecy this would be extremely hard to prove or disprove.