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North Carolina Quakers, Anti-Slavery, and the Underground Railroad: 1800-1829



General African American Timeline

Local Quaker & African American Timeline




Gabriel's Rebellion is planned. It is the first large uprising of slaves in the U.S.  Gabriel had planned to lead the slave revolt by marching into Richmond, but the timeline had to be changed due to rain. As Gabriel escapes, he is betrayed by another slave, captured, and hanged with 25 slaves, including two of his brothers.  Gabriel was a literate blacksmith, owned by Thomas Prosser. As a result, he is often known as Gabriel Prosser. The revolt terrifies the white population and leads to a tightening of Virginia's laws on slavery.




The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church becomes founded in New York City.


ca. 1800


North Carolina Quakers begin to migrate in mass to the Old Northwest.




Chatham Manor is the site of a slave rebellion that was suppressed. The Manor is located on the Rappahannock River in Stafford County, Virginia, across from Fredericksburg.




Congress passes the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves of 1807. The U.S. Constitution does not allow this to be implemented until 1808, when Southern States find ways to ignore the law.




Ban on slave importation from Africa becomes effective in the Congressional Act of 1807, but is not well enforced.

ca. 1808 - Westward migration to Ohio and Indiana begins as   growing numbers of Friends leave the South.




Trustees are appointed from the North Carolina Yearly Meeting to accept slaves as gifts from Quakers who no longer want to own slaves.




The Abyssinian Baptist Church is founded in New York City.




The 1811 German Coast Uprising in Louisiana is one of the largest slave insurgency in U.S. history with 200-500 slaves involved. Ninety five African Americans were killed during the confrontations and in the post-executions. Sugar plantations and crops were damaged and destroyed. Militia suppressed the uprising.




Ohio Yearly Meeting founded (settled in part by North   Carolina Friends migrating to the Midwest).




George Boxley, a white abolitionist and former slave owner, plans a slave rebellion in Virginia for March 6. States his orders are "heaven sent" to free slaves and plans an attack on Richmond and Fredericksburg. He recruits slaves in Orange, Spotsylvania, and Louisa counties to rendezvous with weapons and horses at his home in Spotsylvania. The plot is foiled when a slave named Lucy tells her owner. Boxley escapes jail and fleas to Ohio and Indiana where he is an abolitionist. From his cabin in Adams Township, Hamilton County, Indiana, he helps runaways and becomes a school teacher.




Paul Cuffee, an African American Quaker ship owner and businessman, finances and conveys 38 African Americans to the British colony of Sierra Leone. This causes interest in resettlement to Africa.

The General Association for the Manumission Society of North Carolina is established at a Quaker meeting at Center Meeting in Jamestown, Guilford County.




 The American Colonization Society (ACS) is established with the goal of "colonizing" free blacks from the United States to Africa. The first 88 free blacks to emigrate were sent in January 1820. They were accompanied by three white agents of the Society who planned to arrange for the settlement. Much hardship was encountered. In December of 1821, the agents finally were able to purchase a 36-mile strip of land called Cape Mesurado from the area ruler, King Peter. This area is near Monrovia today. Other colonies were added and with expansion over time the colonies were incorporated into the country of Liberia by 1842.

Hardships were numerous due to resentment and attacks from the indigenous population, poor living conditions, lack of food and medicine, and disease. The emigrants became known as Americo-Liberians.




The African Methodist Episcopal Church is organized in Philadelphia. It is recognized as the United States’ first African American church denomination that is independent.




Quakers accompany Benjamin Benson as he appears before a Guilford County Superior Court judge requesting his freedom. It is considered to be the first case of this nature in the U.S.




Vestal Coffin, a Quaker, starts to help slaves escape in the woods at New Garden Friends Meeting House. This method would gain momentum and become known as the Underground Railroad.




The Missouri Compromise admits Missouri into the Union as a slave state even though it is above the parallel 36°30′ north.




The African Grove theater is founded in New York. The company managing this theater was called the African Company and is noted as the first African American theater company.

Indiana Yearly Meeting founded (largely settled by North   Carolina Friends migrating to the Midwest).




Thomas L. Jennings (1791–1856) receives first patent by an African American. He was a free person and invented a method of "dry scouring" that was used in his dry cleaning business in New York. The earnings were used to buy freedom for his family and to support the abolition movement.

The first school for African-Americans in North Carolina is established in Greensboro by Quakers. Due to opposition that arose for teaching slaves to read and write, the school was soon abandoned.




Denmark Vesey's plan for thousands of slaves to revolt in Charlestown, South Carolina is betrayed. He, a freedman, and 34 slaves are hanged.

North Carolina Yearly Meeting stops accepting slaves from   non-Friends seeking to manumit through the processes established in 1808.




Efforts are begun by the North Carolina Yearly Meeting to liberate slaves that are held in trust and send them to free states, Haiti, or Liberia.




The Freedom's Journal becomes the first African American newspaper in the United States. John Brown Russwurm and Samuel Cornish publish it in New York.

The Great Separation occured among Quakers in North America with a division into Hicksite and Orthodox branches. North Carolina Quakers remained Orthodox.




The pamphlet "Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World" is a national call to arms from David Walker, an African American activist in Boston, for a slave rebellion.

An ordinance is passed by Greensboro commissioners to allow authorities to arrest and whip slaves discovered in places "where they do not belong."