The Anti-Slavery Alphabet

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The Anti-Slavery Alphabet


A popular alphabet book published in 1846 to be sold at Anti-Slavery Fair organized by the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society (PFASS). Each illustrated letter corresponds to an aspect of abolition or a critique of slavery, promoting both literacy and an abolitionist education among children.

The book tells its young readers that they have a part to play in the struggle as well. The opening verses, titled "To Our Little Readers" states, "You are very young, 'tis true,/But there's much that you can do./Even you can plead with men'That they buy not slaves again,/[....]And you can refuse to take/Candy, sweetmeat, pie or cake,/Saying 'no'--unless 'tis free--/'The slave shall not work for me.'"

Several of these letters discuss topics such as the complicit merchant (M is the Merchant of the north,/Who buys what slaves produce--/So they are stolen, whippd and worked,/For his, and for our use), the boycott of sugar (S is the Sugar, that the slave/Is toiling hard to make,/To put into your pie and tea,/Your candy, and your cake.) and the violence of the cotton industry (C is the Cotton-field).

Full text available here.


Hannah and Mary Townsend


Printed for the Anti-Slavery Fair by Merrihew & Thompson, Printers





Hannah and Mary Townsend, “The Anti-Slavery Alphabet,” No Stain of Tears and Blood, accessed July 21, 2024,

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