Most Shared

This 1846 pamphlet wants your kids to explain to you why slavery is wrong.

Because if you think owning people is OK, you deserve to have your wrongness explained to you in rhyme.

The year: 1835. The place: Philadelphia. It was then and there that 18 affluent black and white Quaker women decided to form the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.

They immediately got down to business, but massively shifting public opinion is not an easy task.

Because women were not permitted to vote or hold public office at that time, the society members had to use creative and unconventional means to sway people away from supporting slavery. This included writing letters, fielding petitions and holding annual anti-slavery fairs.


In an effort to reach a new generation of abolitionists, society members Elizabeth Margaret Chandler and Hannah Townsend began writing pamphlets for children explaining why slavery was wrong.

Their reasons for doing so were simple: Young readers were more likely to be horrified by slavery; they could be counted on to bring home what they learned; and they might just be able to change their parents' minds, too. If that sounds familiar, it should. It's the reverse of the logic that inspires companies to advertise sweets and toys directly to kids during cartoons. Except in this case, the cause being promoted was basic human decency and not, you know, cereal.

Hannah Townsend's 1846 pamphlet "The Anti-Slavery Alphabet" is one of the few pieces of child-focused anti-slavery literature to survive the years intact.

All images via Mississippi Department of Archives and History/Flickr.

Using the alphabet as inspiration for a series of four-line rhymes, she tried to tell the story of slavery in a way a child might understand.

Note: Upper Canada had restricted slavery in 1793 and banned it outright in 1834.


In its first 18 years, the Philadelphia Female-Anti-Slavery Society donated $13, 845 to various abolitionist organizations, including ones supporting the Underground Railroad. Adjusted for inflation, their donation would be worth $400,000 today. The group, along with members of other anti-slavery societies across the United States, continued fighting for abolition until the end of the Civil War in 1865; for black suffrage in 1869; and until the ratification of the 15th Amendment in 1870.

If you're feeling uncomfortable after reading "The Anti-Slavery Alphabet," don't worry. You're supposed to feel uncomfortable.

It is not subtle or nuanced. It was written to make readers feel guilty, complicit and enraged. Because when we're talking about humans owning and selling and beating and murdering other humans, there's very little room —even 170 years ago—to dance about in grey areas.

The women of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society knew that in 1846, and they knew children did, too.

Former President George W. Bush and current president Donald Trump may both be Republicans but they have contrasting views when it comes to immigration.

Trump has been one of the most anti-immigrant presidents of recent memory. His Administration separated undocumented families at the border, placed bans on travelers from majority-Muslim countries, and he's proudly proclaimed, "Our country is full."

George W. Bush's legacy on immigration is a bit more nuanced. He ended catch-and-release and called for heightened security at the U.S.-Mexico border, but he also championed an immigration bill that created a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people.

Unfortunately, that bill did not pass.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less

Roland Pollard and his 4-year-old daughter Jayden have been doing cheer and tumbling stunts together since Jayden could walk. When you see videos of their skills, the level of commitment is apparent—as is the supportive relationship this daddy has with his daughter.

Pollard, a former competitive cheerleader and cheer coach, told In The Know that he didn't expect Jayden to catch on to her flying skills at age 3, but she did. He said he never pressures her to perform stunts and that she enjoys it. And as a viral video of Jayden almost falling during a stunt shows, excelling at a skill requires good teaching—something Pollard appears to have mastered.

Keep Reading Show less