Digital Collections -> Pathfinders -> Many Roads to Freedom -> Anti-Slavery Books, Speeches and Songs


In addition to slave narratives and biographies, there were a large number of other items published which related to slavery, the abolitionists and pre-war conditions. Visitors to the South told dramatic stories about what they saw. Heroes of the abolitionist movement were celebrated. Scholars debated the ethics of slavery. Abolitionists compiled books of quotations, letters, etc. and used the proceeds to fund abolitionist activities. Speeches were given by Rochester abolitionists both here and on the lecture circuit. And, last but not least, one local man, George Washington Clark, created books of anti-slavery songs, some of which he wrote himself and others which he adapted.

Most of the texts found here were either created by local persons or were published here in the Rochester area's flourishing printing industry.

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Anti-Slavery Books

Twelve years a slave: narrative of Solomon Northrup, a citizen of New York, kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River, in Louisiana [pdf, 22.7 MB] by Solomon Northup, 1853.

The man with the branded hand: An authentic sketch of the life and services of Capt. Jonathan Walker [pdf, 4.86 MB] by Frank Edward Kittredge, 1899.

Autographs for freedom, 2nd series [pdf, 11.6 MB] edited by Julia Griffiths, 1854.

The touchstone of truth, applied to modern abolition; or seven lectures in answer to the question, what do the scriptures teach on the subject of slavery [pdf, 6.14 MB] by Thomas Lounsbury, 1844.

Slavery unmasked: being a truthful narrative of a three years' residence and journeying in eleven southern states: to which is added the invasion of Kansas, including the last chapter of her wrongs [pdf, 23 MB] by Philo Tower, 1856.

Anti-Slavery Speeches

The claims of the negro, ethnologically considered: An address before the literary societies of Western Reserve College at commencement July 12, 1854 [pdf, 1.96 MB] by Frederick Douglass.

Address delivered before the Rochester Anti-Slavery Society on the 19th January, and again, by request of several citizens, at the court house, in Rochester, on the 5th February, 1837 [pdf, 1.31 MB] by Myron Holley.

The irrepressible conflict: A speech by William H. Seward delivered at Rochester, Monday, Oct.25, 1858  [pdf, 922 KB] by William H. Seward.

Two speeches by Frederick Douglass: one on West India emancipation, delivered at Canandaigua, Aug. 4th, and the other on the Dred Scott decision, delivered in New York, on the occasion of the anniversary of the American Abolition Society, May 1857 [pdf, 2.0 MB] by Frederick Douglass.

Anti-Slavery Songs

The liberty minstrel [pdf, 6.8 MB] by George Washington Clark, 1844.

The harp of freedom [pdf, 12.6 MB] by George Washington Clark, 1856.