Images: The Early Movement

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Benezet Society

Print collection. > Slavery > Emancipation.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture / Photographs and Prints Division

ID# 1258308

Benezet Society

Anthony Benezet (1713-1784) was a French Quaker who immigrated with his family to Pennsylvania in 1731. He became a schoolteacher and opened a night school for enslaved children in 1750. Twenty years later, with the support of the Society of Friends, he also established the Negro School in Philadelphia. In 1775, he founded the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage, a mostly Quaker group; and in 1784 the Pennsylvania Abolition Society. Benezet was strongly opposed to the slave trade and slavery and his writings influenced Thomas Clarkson to become an abolitionist as well. Unlike many of his colleagues, Benezet forcefully challenged the myth of black inferiority.