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Allen, William G. (1820–?), abolitionist and educator, was born in Virginia, the son of a Welshman and a free mulatto mother. After the death of both parents when he was young, Allen was adopted by a free African-American family in Fortress Monroe, Virginia. Allen soon caught the eye of the Reverend William Hall, a New Yorker who conducted a black elementary school in Norfolk. Hall wrote ...

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Benezet, Anthony (31 January 1713–03 May 1784), abolitionist, educator, and reformer, was born in San Quentin, Picardy, France, to Jean Étienne Benezet and Judith de la Méjenelle, wealthy Huguenots. Because of increasing religious persecution, his family fled to Rotterdam in 1715, remaining there briefly before traveling to London where they spent the next sixteen years. It was here that Benezet may have attended a Quaker school and began his lifelong association with the Quakers. After emigrating with his family to Philadelphia in 1731, Benezet worked briefly as a merchant with his brothers and became a member of the Society of Friends. He married Joyce Marriott, a Quaker minister in 1736; neither of the couple’s two children survived to their first birthdays....

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Green, Beriah (24 March 1795–04 May 1874), abolitionist clergyman and educator, was born in Preston, Connecticut, the son of Beriah Green, a farmer and furniture maker, and Elizabeth Smith. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1819 and later attended Andover Seminary. In 1821 he married Marcia Deming; they had two children....

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Langston, Charles Henry (1817–14 December 1892), abolitionist, temperance advocate, and educator, was born in Louisa County, Virginia, the son of Captain Ralph Quarles, a white plantation owner, and Lucy Langston, Quarles’s slave whom he manumitted and with whom he maintained an open relationship. Langston and his brothers were educated by Quarles in their youth. After the death of their parents in 1834 the Langston children were taken by William Gooch, a friend of Quarles and Lucy Langston, to Chillicothe, Ohio, where they were reunited with their half brother and two half sisters, the children of Lucy Langston who were born before her involvement with Quarles. Langston and his brothers took with them to Ohio considerable money bequeathed to them by Quarles. In 1835 Langston and his brother Gideon became the first African Americans enrolled in the preparatory department of Oberlin Collegiate Institute, then a hotbed of abolitionism. After leaving the preparatory department in 1836, Langston worked as a teacher at black schools in Chillicothe and Columbus, Ohio. He reenrolled in the Oberlin preparatory department in 1841 and studied there until the spring of 1843....