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Crummell, Alexander (03 March 1819–10 September 1898), clergyman, activist, and Pan-Africanist, was born in New York City, the son of Charity Hicks, a freeborn woman of Long Island, New York, and Boston Crummell, an African of the Temne people, probably from the region that is now Sierra Leone. Boston Crummell had been captured and brought to the United States as a youth. The circumstances of his emancipation are not clear, but it is said that he simply refused to serve his New York owners any longer after reaching adulthood. Boston Crummell established a small oyster house in the African Quarter of New York. Alexander Crummell received his basic education at the African Free School in Manhattan. In 1835 he traveled to Canaan, New Hampshire, along with his friends Thomas Sidney and ...

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Page, Ann Randolph Meade (03 December 1781–28 March 1838), Episcopal slavery reformer, was born at “Chatham,” the family home in Stafford County, Virginia, the daughter of Col. Richard Kidder Meade, aide-de-camp of General George Washington, and Mary Fitzhugh Grymes. She grew up on “Lucky Hit,” her parents’ plantation in Frederick (now Clarke) County, Virginia. She was raised in an educated gentry family of English descent. As an evangelical, her mother taught her children not only reading and writing but also what evangelicals cherished—the importance of self-denial, simple living and service to slaves in contrast to what the gentry sought—a fashionable living reminiscent of the English nobility with servants to indulge their needs....

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Williams, Peter, Jr. (1780?–17 October 1840), clergyman and abolitionist, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the son of Peter Williams, a slave, and Mary Durham, a black indentured servant from St. Kitts. A patriot soldier during the American Revolution, his father was sexton and undertaker for John Street Methodist Church in New York City. In an unusual arrangement, the church in 1783 purchased him from his departing Loyalist master and allowed him to purchase himself over time, completing his freedom in 1796. A founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion church and a tobacconist and funeral home owner, he was a leader of the small black middle class in New York City....