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The Anti-Slavery Alphabet   By:

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The Anti-Slavery Alphabet, written by an anonymous author, is not merely a delightful children's book; it serves as a powerful tool to educate young minds about the harrowing reality of slavery. Published in the mid-19th century, it paints a vivid picture of the horrors endured by enslaved individuals using the seemingly innocent framework of an alphabet book.

What sets this book apart is its unflinching commitment to truth. Unlike many children's books that shy away from discussing challenging subjects, The Anti-Slavery Alphabet pulls no punches. Each letter of the alphabet is paired with a thought-provoking illustration and a short verse that forcefully conveys the anguish faced by those in bondage. It confronts young readers with the stark reality of how enslaved individuals were treated, leaving no room for ignorance or complacency.

The illustrations themselves are masterfully rendered, drawing readers into a world of suffering and resilience. From the chained and shackled figure of the letter "A" to the whipping post depicted in "W," every image is hauntingly powerful. The simplicity of the drawings only serves to accentuate the brutality of the subject matter, staying with the reader long after the book is closed.

The verses accompanying the illustrations are equally impactful. Balancing simplicity with a stark honesty, they convey the oppressive conditions endured by enslaved individuals. Lines such as "F is a Female fainting under her load" and "R is for the Right, which tells us all are free" clearly articulate the injustice of slavery and the urgent need for change.

One aspect which makes this book unique is the anonymity of its author. While it leaves the reader wanting to know more about the person responsible for its creation, it also reminds us that the fight against slavery was a collective effort. By choosing to remain anonymous, the author emphasizes the importance of the message contained within the book, rather than seeking personal recognition.

Although The Anti-Slavery Alphabet was originally intended for children, its relevance and impact extend far beyond that audience. It serves as a historical artifact, shedding light on the abolitionist movement and the ideological battles fought during that time. Even today, it remains a powerful tool to promote discussions about social justice, human rights, and the ongoing fight against oppression.

In conclusion, The Anti-Slavery Alphabet stands as a testament to the power of education and the necessity of confronting difficult truths. Its bold approach, combining highly evocative illustrations with concise and incisive verses, leaves a lasting impression on readers of all ages. By tackling the horrific subject matter head-on, it imparts a valuable lesson about the past while inspiring a continued commitment to justice and equality.

First Page:


"In the morning sow thy seed."


Merrihew & Thompson, Printers, 7 Carter's alley.


Listen, little children, all, Listen to our earnest call: You are very young, 'tis true, But there's much that you can do. Even you can plead with men That they buy not slaves again, And that those they have may be Quickly set at liberty. They may hearken what you say, Though from us they turn away. Sometimes, when from school you walk, You can with your playmates talk, Tell them of the slave child's fate, Motherless and desolate. And you can refuse to take Candy, sweetmeat, pie or cake, Saying "no" unless 'tis free "The slave shall not work for me." Thus, dear little children, each May some useful lesson teach; Thus each one may help to free This fair land from slavery.


A is an Abolitionist A man who wants to free The wretched slave and give to all An equal liberty... Continue reading book >>

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