Citizens All: African Americans in Connecticut 1700-1850
Transatlantic Slave TradeConnecticut StoriesAbout The Project
Connecticut Stories
Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and AbolitionYale University
Enslaved Africans in the Colony of Connecticut
Samuel J. May, A Discourse on Slavery in the United States, Delivered in Brooklyn, July 3, 1831
Boston: Garrison and Knapp, 1832
"Anti-Slavery in New England" Digital Collection
Special Collections & University Archives, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Samuel May, a Unitarian minister from Brooklyn, Connecticut, a short distance from the village of Canterbury, was an outspoken local anti-slavery activist and one of the few local leaders who offered their support to Prudence Crandall and her school. Using the customary Fourth of July oratory to denounce slavery, May begins his sermon by proclaiming that "I hope I am not wanting in patriotism, if I may be unable to join the approaching celebration, without some feeling of deep shame for my country."

May does not aim his rhetorical darts solely at the slave system of the American South; he has harsh words to say about Northern racism as well:

We are shamefully indifferent to the injuries inflicted upon our colored brethren. We are prejudiced against them. This is evident enough from our treatment of the blacks, who reside among us. It is true we call these free, but we do not suffer them to enjoy equal privileges with ourselves. We judge them not entitled to the same.