Samuel Ringgold Ward: Prominent Anti-Slavery Speaker During the 1850s

Written by Jae Jones

was born into in 1817 on Maryland’s eastern shore but ran away as a young child with his parents in 1820 to New Jersey, and soon relocated to New York in 1826. After Ward graduated from school he worked as a teacher and developed a keen interest in abolition.

Ward became licensed to preach the gospel by the New York Congregational Association assembled in Poughkeepsie. He also was appointed as a traveling agent of the American Anti-slavery Society. In April of that year he accepted the unanimous invitation of the Congregational Church of South Butler, Wayne Co., New York, to be their pastor; and in September of that year was publicly ordained as its minister. Ward contracted a disease of the tonsils which impaired his ability to public speak. So, he stepped down from his pastoral duties of the church.

Ward’s beliefs in the fight to end slavery and his oratory skills led him to politics, where he joined the Liberty Party in 1840. As an orator and strong thinker, Ward, was vastly superior to others. Other abolitionists both white and were well aware of Ward’s oratory abilities and commended his brilliant efforts in the abolitionist movement. In Ward’s last years of working in the United States he became editor and part owner of two newspapers; the Farmer and Northern Star, and Boston’s Impartial Citizen. He later moved to Canada and founded the newspaper, The Provincial Freeman in 1853. On 7 June 1853 was able to deliver his major London anti-slavery speech, and had secured ‘Lord’ Shaftesbury to take the chair. Ward’s address had a successful impact,  almost immediately it led to the formation of a London Committee to seek financial support for the Anti-Slavery Society of Canada. Ward died in 1866 after spending the last eleven years of his life working in Jamaica as a farmer and minister.





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About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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