Abolitionist Rev.Samuel J. May



                                  Rev. Samuel J. May (1797-1871)

Was born into a well-connected Boston family. He graduated from Harvard University and became a Unitarian minister. William Lloyd Garrison converted May to immediate abolitionism in 1830. May assisted Garrison in founding the New England Anti-Slavery Society and was a founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society. In 1835, May accepted a ministerial post in Syracuse, NY. There he became acquainted with both Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman. His involvement in the cause of abolition made him a nationally prominent activist. May, along with Gerrit Smith and Jermain Wesley Loguen, were instrumental in the 1851 rescue of the runaway slave William “Jerry” Henry, arrested under the Fugitive Slave Act. May assisted hundreds of fugitive slaves and served as president of the Syracuse Fugitive Aid Society. He recognized that racial prejudice, not only financial self-interest, perpetuated slavery in the U.S. He was dedicated to racial equality, not just abolition, and championed a wide variety of reform causes. He was a moral giant ahead of his time.

Inducted in 2018

Artwork by

                                             National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum

                                         5255 Pleasant Valley Road        P.O. Box 55 Peterboro NY 13134



                                                   Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark




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A Community Heritage Gift Shop, located within the Visitors Center on the Gerrit Smith Estate, National Historic Landmark, in Peterboro NY. The Mercantile is staffed and operated under the management of the Smithsield Community Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic Peterboro.


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