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The Legacy Of Quaker Enslavement - Explored At UTC

Avis Wanda McClinton
Avis Wanda McClinton
Avis Wanda McClinton

Manumission is defined as the act of enslavers freeing the people they enslaved - and the legal document that records that act.

“The 339 Manumissions and Beyond Project: A reparative search for descendants of formerly enslaved Africans” began as a response to the release by Haverford College in Pennsylvania of newly-digitized manumission papers for 339 African-Americans enslaved by Quakers in and near the Philadelphia area in the 1700’s.

Manumission paper from the Quarterly Meeting of Philadelphia, 1786.
Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Manumission paper from the Quarterly Meeting of Philadelphia, 1786.

The Quakers - their formal name, the Religious Society of Friends - are known for their pacifism. They would turn against slavery and support its abolition - but it is not the entire story.

Co-leading the project: Avis Wanda McClinton, an African-American Quaker from North Hills, Pennsylvania. David Satten-Lopez, while a scholar at Haverford College, met Avis Wanda and became involved in the project.

Avis Wanda says some of her fellow Quakers today have physically and verbally attacked her for her Manumissions work - but she says that won’t stop her.

This weekend, Avis Wanda and David visit our campus - the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga - to give a presentation, co-sponsored by UTC’s Department of History, on Saturday at 2 PM in the Guerry Center Reading Room.

Laura Seeger is with the Chattanooga Friends Meeting, a group of local Quakers helping to organize the presentation here at UTC.

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