William Lloyd Garrison was a brave journalist whose biggest goal was to end the enslavement of African- Americans. In 1805, the inspiring journalist, was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts where he endured extreme poverty. For example, Garrison was abandoned by his father at the age of three and was raised by a single mother. In 1816, Garrison struggled in grammar school and he even said that ‘he did not know one single rule of grammar.’ Even though, Garrison was ten years old, he was not that bright in reading and he only used, ‘sermons and religious tracts,’ to practice because that was the only thing he could afford. When his mother started having health problems, Garrison took an apprentice job as a cabinetmaker, which did not last because he felt that the job was boring. In 1818, Lloyd was rescued from poverty when he was apprenticed to Ephraim W. Allen, who was an editor for the newspaper company Newburyport Herald. Furthermore, Garrison would work at the Newburyport Herald for seven years, but would not enjoy working there and even stated that, ‘My little heart sank like lead within me,’ when he walked in the Herald office for the first time.
At thirteen years old, Garrison worked at the Newburyport Herald as a printer and he also increased in his reading from, ‘Shakespeare and the Waverly novels.’ Also, garrison took an interest in the management of newspapers and the federalist politicians of Newburyport. Garrison also joined a debating society which was known as the Franklin club where he met Isaac Knapp, who will become his future partner in the Liberator. Moreover, at eighteen years old, garrison published his first paper which discussed warnings against ‘Hymen’s silken chains.’ Furthermore, Garrison was becoming an expert with printing and learned a lot about what it took to become a successful journalist.
In 1821, Caleb Cushing was a graduate of Harvard who helped Garrison come up with new ideas to write about for the Herald. Also, Cushing called Garrison’s attention to slavery and even stated in his article for the Northern American Review that, ‘with regard to the minds of the blacks whom we desired to believe incapable of elevation, order and improvement.’ Garrison had also learned from his mother that she thought her black nurse was, ‘Slave to man. Yet a freeborn soul, by the Grace of God,’ and that slavery was not right. Furthermore, Garrison learned a lot from Cushing about the Revolutions in South America and other challenging subjects.
In 1823, Garrison idol federalist Harrison Gray Otis, was elected to be governor of Massachusetts. Moreover, this was Garrison’s chance to, ‘defend the principles of Federalism and the reputation of an idol.’ The Herald ran their first series of letters signed ‘One of the people, extolling the superior intellect of Harrison Gray Otis and the Federalist.’ However, Garrison’s dream was not fulfilled when Harrison never got elected and the Herald series was discontinued. Also, that year his mother died from consumption, which he stated that, ‘on beholding a dearly loved mother, after an absence of seven years.’ This quote illustrates the love that Garrison felt towards his mother and how she influenced him. Garrison’s passion for Journalism started at Newburyport Herald and moved him into better opportunities in other places.
In the year of 1826, William Lloyd Garrison was in his mid-twenties when finished his apprenticeship at Newburyport Herald and decided to start his own newspaper called the Free Press. Furthermore, the newspaper was originally called the Newburyport, Essex Courant, but was changed because Garrison stated that it was, ‘sonorous and politically more appropriate.’ The motto for the newspaper was, ‘Our Country, Our Whole Country, and Nothing Bit Our Country,’ which Garrison wanted his newspaper to support Federalism. The Free Press focused on Political views and also poetry. In the newspaper, Garrison printed topics about the slave trade and also many poems about ‘innocence and loss, fidelity and truth,’ In addition, Garrison strived to rise to the top with his newspaper and he wanted to be known as the ‘Crusader of Truth.’ Unfortunately, later that year, the Free Press had failed because of its editor ‘unpopular opinions,’ on federalist viewpoints. Garrison eventually had to sell the newspaper and try to look for work elsewhere, but he had no regrets in what he accomplished at the Free Press.
In 1828, Garrison moved to Boston and worked as a journeyman printer at the National Philanthropist that was a temperance newspaper. Also, Garrison wanted to transform the National Philanthropist into a newspaper that was dedicated to his, ‘notions of popular journalism.’ For example, ‘he increased the number of columns, enlarged the format, and cleaned up the typography,’ which he learned from his experiences with the Free Press. The National Philanthropist had brought Garrison to join many reform movements which he would later come to support the abolition of slaves.
Genius of Universal Emancipation
On March 17, 1828, Garrison had met Benjamin Lundy, who was an American Quaker abolitionist. Garrison had admired Lundy because of his newspaper called the Genius of Universal Emancipation that was an anti-slavery newspaper. In addition, the Genius of Universal Emancipation supported the freedom of slaves. Garrison’s meeting with Lundy persuaded him that slavery was more important than the, ‘temperance and Sabbath observance.’ Even though, garrison was aware of slavery from Cushing, he did not realize the importance of it until he met Lundy. Lundy was an inspiration to Garrison because of his viewpoint on the cruelty of slavery and his famous newspaper publications in the Genius of Universal Emancipation. For instance, Garrison stated that the Genius of Universal Emancipation was the, ‘the bravest and the best attempt in the history of newspaper publications.’ Therefore, Garrison decided to leave to the National Philanthropist to work for Lundy.
In 1829, Garrison became a coeditor at the Genius of Universal Emancipation and wrote a column called, ‘The Black List,’ which introduced viewers to the cruelty of slavery, such as, ‘Kidnappings, whippings, and murders.’ Garrison was later sued for libel from the paper and he spent 49 days in prison. Therefore, when garrison was released from prison, he was more encouraged to continue to support the abolishment of slavery. Garrison first made it known of his dislike for the American Colonization Society because they were not supporting the abolishment of slavery. Finally, in 1831, garrison had launched his first issue of the Liberator which was a newspaper that discussed the need to free slaves.
The Liberator was an outstanding newspaper that made Garrison into a father figure of journalism. The newspapers covered women’s rights, abolition movement, and the story of Frederick Douglas. Garrison was a strong advocate for human-rights and presented bravery when fighting for the rights of black slaves. For example, garrison wrote about the Nat Turner’s rebellion that resulted in sixty-one whites being massacred by black slaves. The rebellion was caused because black slaves wanted freedom and they resulted in violence to achieve that goal. Even though, Garrison did not agree with using violence to prove a point, he admired the effort of the black slaves and what they hoped to accomplish. For instance, Garrison stated, ‘I do not justify the slaves in their rebellion: yet I do not condemn them, and applaud similar conduct in white men.’ The story generated tons of publicity and some people often criticized Garrison’s favoritism for black slaves.
The Liberator was disliked by white slave-owners and people that supported the act of slavery. The newspaper was called an ‘incendiary publication,’ and white slave-owners thought that harm would come to them because of the publication of the paper. Furthermore, the freedom of the press was disregarded when an ordinance was passed to prevent black slaves from subscribing to the Liberator. Garrison saved the Liberator by forming a group called the New England Antislavery society that further demonstrated the means to abolish slavery.
Frederick Douglass is an inspiration because he was a former slave turn abolitionist who became a key leader of the freedom of slavery and the American Antislavery Society. The American Ani-Slavery Society was an organization formed by Garrison in 1833. On August 11, 1841, Garrison met Frederick Douglass at an antislavery convention in Nantucket. The two man formed a close bond with each other and Garrison became a father-figure to Douglass. At the convention, Garrison was moved by Douglass, who presented his first speech on slavery, Garrison stated, ‘the extraordinary emotion it excited in my own mind.’