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Ephraim D. Williams and James D. Knight to Frederick Douglass, November 28, 1848


EPHRAIM D. WILLIAMS1Ephraim D. Williams, a shoemaker who lived at 49 Quince Street in Philadelphia, was a North Star subscriber in 1848. 1848 Mail Book of the North Star, 171, FD Papers Project, InIU; McElroy’s Philadelphia Directory for 1848 (Philadelphia, 1848), 385. AND JAMES D. KNIGHT2The author’s penmanship may have caused Douglass to misread the name of James D. Knight (c. 1823—?), a black porter from Maryland living in Philadelphia, who was a subscriber to the North Star. 1848 Mail Book of the ,North Star, 163, FD Papers Project, InIU; 1850 U.S. Census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Locust Ward, 133; McElroy’s Philadelphia Directory for 1847 (Philadelphia, 1847), 189. TO FREDERICK DOUGLASS

Philadelphia, [Pa.] 28 Nov[ember] 1848.


We, the undersigned, of the city of Brotherly Love,3According to tradition, William Penn named the capital city of his colony Philadelphia, Greek for “brotherly love,” in order to reflect his ideal for the settlement. The book of Revelation also mentions the name, associated with an ancient city in Asia Minor, as the location of one of the seven churches housing angels of the apocalypse. Rev. 1:11 , 3:7; George R. Stewart, American Place-Names:A Concise and Selective Dictionary for the Continental United States of America (New York, 1970), 370; Harder, Dictionary of Place Names, 423.(disfranchised Americans,) approving of the course pursued by yourself, Messrs. Remond, Garnet, Delaney, and Brown;4Charles Lenox Remond, Henry Highland Garnet, Martin R. Delany, and William W. Brown. in the cause of humanity, the wronged slave, and the moral elevation of our people, have taken it upon ourselves to give an expression, openly, of our opinion and sentiments, and thereby testify that we are with you, and of you. The course pursued by yourself and the gentlemen above named, has not only won our esteem, but demands our most lively gratitude, for the open and independent manner in which you have all battled with the “adverse powers” in behalf of your oppressed and downtrodden brethren. We have, in consideration of the above facts, taken it upon ourselves to have the lithograph portraits of yourself and the other named gentlemen struck off, to be hung up in our parlors and the parlors of all men who are true to the bondman; and not only to beautify them, but to point them out to our children as the reformers who have marched in the forefront, battling for our rights as men and as Americans.

We forward you on the portraits of yourself and Mr. Garnet, which you will please accept from us, and as we get out the rest, we will forward you one of each. You will please notice this through the North Star, that our people may be induced to appreciate what appears to us a duty they owe to themselves, the cause, and the cause of the slave.

Yours, ever truly,



PLSr: NS, 15 December 1848.



Williams, Ephraim D. and Knight, James D.




Yale University Press 2009



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