January 13, 2009 Maurice Jackson To Discuss Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism, Feb. 26

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Robert Saladini (202) 707-2692

Anthony Benezet is recognized as the founder of the antislavery movement in America in the mid-1700s. Benezet believed the British ban on slavery should have been extended to the colonies, and worked to convince his Quaker brethren that slave-owning was not consistent with Christian doctrine. Benezet and his fight against slavery will be the topic of a lecture by Maurice Jackson, an assistant professor in the history department at Georgetown University. Jackson will discuss his recently published book “Let This Voice Be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism” at the Library of Congress at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26, in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. A book sale and signing will follow the lecture, which is sponsored by the Library’s John W. Kluge Center. The lecture is free and open to the public; tickets and reservations are not required. Benezet transformed Quaker anti-slavery sentiment into a broad-based transatlantic movement. According to Jackson, Benezet translated ideas from diverse sources – Enlightenment philosophy, African travel narratives, Quakerism, practical life and the Bible – into concrete action. He founded the African Free School in Philadelphia, where future abolitionist leaders Absalom Jones and James Forten studied. Jackson, a former Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress, teaches Atlantic and African-American history at Georgetown. He currently is at work on a social, political and cultural history of African Americans in Washington D.C. (1790 to the present). He is co-editor, with Jackie Bacon, of “African-Americans and the Haitian Revolution: Selected Essays and Historical Documents,” to be published in 2010. Jackson will be inducted into the Washington, D.C., Hall of Fame in April for his years of service to the people in the nation’s capital. Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit www.loc.gov/kluge/.


PR 09-05
ISSN 0731-3527