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The Legacy of Wilberforce, Part 1

Regis Nicoll
Regis Nicoll

Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Isabella Baumfree are legendary figures in the U.S. abolitionist movement. They are among the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr., whose Christian faith was a source of strength during the long struggle for freedom and civil rights. Collectively, their moral conviction and courage helped to secure the liberties ofwhich everyone today is a beneficiary.

There is scarcely a child of elementary school age who doesn’t know of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Yet ask a college graduate if he’s heard of William Wilberforce, and you are as likely to get “You’re making that name up, right?” as a look of acknowledgement. The few who do remember him probably recall little more than that he was a prominent Brit who played a role in abolition.

While only 3 percent of Americans and 10 percent of Brits today know anything about Wilberforce, in 1858 Abraham Lincoln remarked that “every schoolboy knew his story."

So who was William Wilberforce, and how did he capture the admiration of everyone from schoolchildren to an American president? The answers are found in two excellent biographies, Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas and William Wilberforce: A Hero for Humanity by Kevin Belmonte. Read on...

Read on...

 

 
Originally published January 13, 2012.

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