Records Relating to the Birmingham Ladies Society for the Relief of British Negro Slaves
In the early nineteenth century, Birmingham was an important center of anti-slavery activity. Birmingham itself was a prosperous manufacturing town engaged in some cotton trading. Joseph Sturge, one of the leaders in the British anti-slavery movement, was secretary of the Birmingham anti-slavery society and active in several national anti-slavery organizations. On April 8, 1825, Lucy Townsend and Mary Lloyd founded the Birmingham Ladies Society, which published several pamphlets, compiled annual reports, and recorded minutes relating to their activities. Members wrote letters and petitions urging others to support their cause. They supported education as a means of solving the problem of freed slaves, focusing on aid to blacks in British territories. They were reluctant to deal with the problem of American slavery for fear of inflaming the issue.