Benezet Philanthropic Society certificate, circa 1810.
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Anthony Benezet instructing "colored children"

Credit: Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission, Historical Poetical and Pictorial American Scenes, by J.W. Barber, 1850

A French Quaker who immigrated with his family to Pennsylvania in 1731, Anthony Benezet (1713-1784) opened Pennsylvania's first school for enslaved African American children in 1750. One of the Commonwealth's most influential abolitionists, Benezet rejected the common belief of black inferiority. In 1775 he founded the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage, and in 1784 helped organize the Pennsylvania Abolition Society.

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