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Martha Bailey Briggs

Born in 1838 to Black abolitionists, Martha Bailey Briggs (1838-1889) realized at a young age that education was essential to ending slavery.

Rosetta Douglass

Abolitionist and social reformer Rosetta Douglass (1839-1906) continued a family legacy of activism that began in New Bedford with her father, Frederick Douglass.

Cornelia Grinnell

Abolitionist, women’s rights advocate and women’s club founder, Cornelia Grinnell Willis (1825-1904) advocated for and secured Harriet Jacobs’ freedom, making it possible for Harriet to write and publish what became an edifying “slave narrative.”

Harriet Jacobs

Writer, abolitionist and educator, Harriet Ann Jacobs (1813-1897) is the only African American woman known to have left writing documenting her enslavement.

Mary J. “Polly” Johnson

Confectioner and abolitionist Polly Johnson (1784-1871) specialized in sweets and provided safe lodging to freedom seekers in New Bedford along the Underground Railroad.

Amelia Piper

Abolitionist Amelia Piper (1796-1856), as one of the managers of the New Bedford Female Union Society, organized one of the first anti-slavery fairs in New Bedford held on January 1, 1840.
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