The free produce movement was an international boycott of goods produced by slave labor. It was used by the abolitionist movement as a non-violent way for individuals, including the disenfranchised, to fight slavery.
In this context, free signifies "not enslaved" (i.e. "having the legal and political rights of a citizen"). It does not mean "without cost". Similarly, "produce" is used to mean a wide variety of products made by slaves, including clothing, dry goods, shoes, soaps, ice cream, and candy.
The concept originated among members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), in the late 18th century. Quakers believed in pacifism and in the spiritual equality of all humankind. Quakers opposed slavery, and by about 1790 had eliminated slaveholding from among their membership. Radical Quakers such as Anthony Benezet and John Woolman went further, voicing their opinion that purchasers of slave-derived goods were guilty of keeping the institution of slavery economically feasible. They argued for a moral and economic boycott of slave-derived goods. The concept proved attractive because it offered a non-violent method of combating slavery.
In the 1780s, the movement spread beyond Quaker circles. British abolitionists, most of them also Quakers and some of them former slaves, formed the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1787. In 1789, the Abolition Bill was introduced in parliament (by William Wilberforce; Quakers were not allowed to stand for parliament). Plantocratic interests slowed its adoption. By 1791, it had still not been passed, and frustration at parliamentary delaying tactics lead to boycott actions. William Fox published a pamphlet urging a boycott of slave sugar; this became the most popular pamphlet of the century, with over a quarter million copies printed (on both sides of the Atlantic). The pamphlet solidified and concentrated abolitionist efforts.
He made a case for consumer complicity in slavery: "If we purchase the commodity we participate in the crime. The slave dealer, the slave holder, and the slave driver, are virtually agents of the consumer, and may be considered as employed and hired by him to procure the commodity ... In every pound of sugar used we may be considered as consuming two ounces of human flesh". Rhetoric describing slave produce as figuratively contaminated by the blood, tears, and sweat, of slaves, and as morally polluting, was widely used. Further pamphlets on the same theme followed.
Boycotts were waged by both individual consumers and by shopkeepers and merchants. Also in 1791, an English merchant named James Wright published a newspaper ad to explain why he would no longer sell sugar until he could procure it through channels "more unconnected with Slavery, and less polluted with Human Blood". Women, who could not vote, could promote and participate in a slave sugar boycott. The British boycott, at its height, has more than 400 000 participants. However, as the French Revolution turned violent in mid-1792, bottom-up movements lost support, which they did not regain until it became known that Napoleon Bonaparte opposed emancipation.
Q. 11. What effect would it have on the slave holders and their slaves, should the people of the United States of America and the inhabitants of Great Britain, refuse to purchase or make use of any goods that are the produce of Slavery? A. It would doubtless have a particular effect on the slave holders, by circumscribing their avarice, and preventing their heaping up riches, and living in a state of luxury and excess on the gain of oppression ...
Observations on the Slavery of Africans and Their Descendents gave the free produce movement its central argument for an embargo of all goods produced by slave labor including cotton cloth and cane sugar, in favor of produce from the paid labor of free people. Though the free produce movement was not intended to be a religious response to slavery, most of the free produce stores were Quaker in origin, as with the first such store, that of Benjamin Lundy in Baltimore in 1826.
In 1826, the American abolitionist boycott began in earnest when abolitionist Quakers in Wilmington, Delaware drew up a charter for a formal free produce organization; the same year in Baltimore, Maryland, Lundy opened his store selling only goods obtained by labor from free people.
In 1827, the movement grew broader with the formation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania of the "Free Produce Society" founded by Thomas M'Clintock and other radical Quakers. With the Society, they added a new tactic, one that sought to determine the unseen costs of goods such as cotton, tobacco and sugar which came from the toil of slaves. Quaker women joined the Society, including Lucretia Coffin Mott who spoke out at Society meetings, giving some of her male associates their first experience of hearing a woman lecture.
In 1830, African-American men formed the "Colored Free Produce Society of Pennsylvania", subsequently, African-American women formed the "Colored Female Free Produce Society of Pennsylvania" in 1831. Some black businesses began to feature free produce; William Whipper opened a free grocery next to Bethel Church in Philadelphia, and in the same city, a Negro confectioner used nothing but sugar from free will labor sources, and received the order for Angelina Grimké's wedding cake. In New York, a supportive article in Freedom's Journal calculated for its readers that, given typical free Negro consumption of sugar, if 25 black people purchased sugar from slaveholders, then one slave was required to sustain the flow. New York City's small population of African Americans was said to require for their sugar the labor of 50 slaves.
Resolutions in favor of free produce were passed at each of the first five conventions held by African Americans in the 1830s. Henry Highland Garnet preached in New York about the possibility that free produce could strike a blow against slavery. Black abolitionist Frances Ellen Watkins always mentioned the free produce movement in her speeches, saying she would pay a little more for a "Free Labor" dress, even if it were coarser. Watkins called the movement "the harbinger of hope, the ensign of progress, and a means for proving the consistency of our principles and the earnestness of our zeal."
In 1838, supporters from a number of states came together in the "American Free Produce Association", which promoted their cause by seeking non-slave alternates to products from slaveholders, and by forming non-slave distribution channels. The Association produced a number of pamphlets and tracts, and published a journal entitled Non-Slaveholder from 1846 to 1854.
The British India Society, founded in 1839, supported free produce. UK counterparts to the American Free Produce Society formed in the 1840s-1850s, under the leadership of Anna Richardson, a Quaker slavery abolitionist and peace campaigner based on Newcastle. The Newcastle Ladies' Free Produce Association was established in 1846, and by 1850 there were at least 26 regional associations.
Quaker George W. Taylor established a textile mill which used only non-slave cotton. He worked to increase the quality and availability of free produce cotton goods. Abolitionist Henry Browne Blackwell invested his and his wife Lucy Stone's money in several ventures seeking to make cheaper sugar by using mechanical means and non-slave labor, but the product was never viable, even when he switched his focus from sugar cane to sugar beets.
In 2001, due to pressure applied by the US Congress and potential US and UK boycotts, chocolate manufacturers promised to start eliminating forced child labor in cocoa production. In December 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor's List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor report mentioned 6 countries where the cocoa industry employed underage children and indentured laborers. Child labor was reported in 4 of the listed countries, namely Cameroon, Ghana, Guniea and Sierra Leone. The others (Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria) resorted to both child labor and forced labor.
Most abolitionists did not see the free produce movement as being vital to the cause. A few dedicated proponents were able to stay completely away from slave goods but a number of other abolitionists endorsed the concept only when convenient. Many more ignored the issue altogether. The movement never grew large enough to gain the benefit of the economies of scale, and the cost of "free produce" was always higher than competing goods. Though William Lloyd Garrison in Boston, founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society, initially proclaimed at a convention in 1840 that his wool suit was made without slave labor, he later examined the results of the movement and criticized it as an ineffective method to fight slavery, and as a distraction from more important work. The national association disbanded in 1847, but Quakers in Philadelphia continued until 1856.
Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, direct, or intervene in social, political, economic, or environmental reform with the desire to make changes in society. Forms of activism range from mandate building in the community (including writing letters to newspapers), petitioning elected officials, running or contributing to a political campaign, preferential patronage (or boycott) of businesses, and demonstrative forms of activism like rallies, street marches, strikes, sit-ins, or hunger strikes.
Activism may be performed on a day-to-day basis in a wide variety of ways, including through the creation of art (artivism), computer hacking (hacktivism), or simply in how one chooses to spend their money (economic activism). For example, the refusal to buy clothes or other merchandise from a company as a protest against the exploitation of workers by that company could be considered an expression of activism. However, the most highly visible and impactful activism often comes in the form of collective action, in which numerous individuals coordinate an act of protest together in order to make a bigger impact. Collective action that is purposeful, organized, and sustained over a period of time becomes known as a social movement.Historically, activists have used literature, including pamphlets, tracts, and books to disseminate their messages and attempt to persuade their readers of the justice of their cause. Research has now begun to explore how contemporary activist groups use social media to facilitate civic engagement and collective action combining politics with technology.The Online Etymology Dictionary records the English words "activism" and "activist" as in use in the political sense from the year 1920 or 1915 respectively.Anna Richardson (abolitionist)
Anna Richardson (née Atkins 5 January 1806 – 27 March 1892) was an English Quaker slavery abolitionist and peace campaigner, and a writer and editor of anti-slavery texts and journals, based in Newcastle Upon Tyne.Benjamin Lundy House
The Benjamin Lundy House is a historic house at Union and Market Streets in Mount Pleasant, Ohio. It was home in 1820 to abolitionist Benjamin Lundy (1789-1839), where he established the influential antislavery newspaper The Genius of Universal Emancipation, one of the first antislavery publications in the United States. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in May 1974, and included in the Mount Pleasant Historic District later the same year.Consumer activism
Consumer activism is a process by which activists seek to influence the way in which goods or services are produced or delivered. Kozinets and Handelman attempt to define the broad concept as any social movement that uses society's drive for consumption to the detriment of business interests. Consumer activism includes both activism on behalf of consumers for consumer protection and activism by consumers themselves. Consumerism is made up of the behaviors, institutions, and ideologies created from the interaction between humans and materials and services of which they consume. Consumer activism has several aims:
Change the social structure of consumption
Protect the social welfare of stakeholders
Satisfy perceived slights to the ego
Seek justice for the consumer and environment in the relationships of consumerismDavid Ruggles
David Ruggles (March 15, 1810 – December 16, 1849) was an African-American abolitionist in Manhattan, New York who resisted slavery by his participation in a Committee of Vigilance and the Underground Railroad to aid fugitive slaves reach free states. He was a printer in New York City during the 1830s, who also wrote numerous articles, and "was the prototype for black activist journalists of his time." He claimed to have led more than 600 fugitive slaves to freedom in the North, including Frederick Douglass, who became a friend and fellow activist. Ruggles is also credited with opening the first African American bookstore in the United States.Elias Hicks
Elias Hicks (March 19, 1748 – February 27, 1830) was a traveling Quaker minister from Long Island, New York. In his ministry he promoted unorthodox doctrines that led to controversy, which caused the first major schism within the Religious Society of Friends. Elias Hicks was the older cousin of the painter Edward Hicks.Fair trade
Fair trade is an institutional arrangement designed to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions. Members of the fair trade movement advocate the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as improved social and environmental standards. The movement focuses in particular on commodities, or products which are typically exported from developing countries to developed countries, but also consumed in domestic markets (e.g. Brazil, India and Bangladesh) most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, wine, sugar, fresh fruit, chocolate, flowers and gold. The movement seeks to promote greater equity in international trading partnerships through dialogue, transparency, and respect. It promotes sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers in developing countries. Fair trade is grounded in three core beliefs; first, producers have the power to express unity with consumers. Secondly, the world trade practices that currently exist promote the unequal distribution of wealth between nations. Lastly, buying products from producers in developing countries at a fair price is a more efficient way of promoting sustainable development than traditional charity and aid.Fair trade labelling organizations commonly use a definition of fair trade developed by FINE, an informal association of four international fair trade networks: Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), Network of European Worldshops and European Fair Trade Association (EFTA). Specifically, fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency, and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. Fair trade organizations, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising, and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.There are several recognized fair trade certifiers, including Fairtrade International (formerly called FLO, Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International), IMO, Make Trade Fair and Eco-Social. Additionally, Fair Trade USA, formerly a licensing agency for the Fairtrade International label, broke from the system and is implementing its own fair trade labelling scheme, which has resulted in controversy due to its inclusion of independent smallholders and estates for all crops. In 2008, Fairtrade International certified approximately (€3.4B) of products. The World Trade Organization publishes annual figures on the world trade of goods and services.
The fair trade movement is popular in the UK, where there are 500 Fairtrade towns, 118 universities, over 6,000 churches, and over 4,000 UK schools registered in the Fairtrade Schools Scheme. In 2011, over 1.2 million farmers and workers in more than 60 countries participated in Fairtrade International's fair trade system, which included €65 million in fairtrade premium paid to producers for use developing their communities. According to Fairtrade International, nearly six out of ten consumers have seen the Fairtrade mark and almost nine in ten of them trust it.Some criticisms have been raised about fair trade systems. One 2015 study in a journal published by the MIT Press concluded that producer benefits were close to zero because there was an oversupply of certification, and only a fraction of produce classified as fair trade was actually sold on fair trade markets, just enough to recoup the costs of certification. Some research indicates that the implementation of certain fair trade standards can cause greater inequalities in some markets where these rigid rules are inappropriate for the specific market. In the fair trade debate there are complaints of failure to enforce the fair trade standards, with producers, cooperatives, importers and packers profiting by evading them. One proposed alternative to fair trade is direct trade, which eliminates the overhead of the fair trade certification, and allows suppliers to receive higher prices much closer to the retail value of the end product. Some suppliers use relationships started in a fair trade system to autonomously springboard into direct sales relationships they negotiate themselves, whereas other direct trade systems are supplier-initiated for social responsibility reasons similar to a fair trade system.Harriet Forten Purvis
Harriet Forten Purvis (1810 – June 11, 1875) was an African-American abolitionist and first generation suffragist. With her mother and sisters, she formed the first biracial women's abolitionist group, the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. She hosted anti-slavery events at her home and with her husband Robert Purvis ran an Underground Railroad station. Robert and Harriet also founded the Gilbert Lyceum. She fought against segregation and for the right for blacks to vote after the Civil War.Henry Highland Garnet
Henry Highland Garnet (December 23, 1815 – February 13, 1882) was an African-American abolitionist, minister, educator and orator. Having escaped with his family as a child from slavery in Maryland, he grew up in New York City. He was educated at the African Free School and other institutions, and became an advocate of militant abolitionism. He became a minister and based his drive for abolitionism in religion.
Garnet was a prominent member of the movement that led beyond moral suasion toward more political action. Renowned for his skills as a public speaker, he urged black Americans to take action and claim their own destinies. For a period, he supported emigration of American free blacks to Mexico, Liberia, or the West Indies, but the American Civil War ended that effort. In 1841 he married abolitionist Julia Williams and they had a family. They moved to Jamaica in 1852 to serve as missionaries and educators. After the war, the couple worked in Washington, DC.History of fair trade
The fair trade movement has undergone several important changes since its early days following World War II. Fair trade, first seen as a form of charity advocated by religious organizations, has radically changed in structure, philosophy and approach. The past fifty years have witnessed massive changes in the diversity of fair trade proponents, the products traded and their distribution networks.History of the Quakers
The Religious Society of Friends began as a movement in England in the mid-17th century in Lancashire. Members are informally known as Quakers, as they were said "to tremble in the way of the Lord". The movement in its early days faced strong opposition and persecution, but it continued to expand across the British Isles and then in the Americas and Africa.
The Quakers, though few in numbers, have been influential in the history of reform. The colony of Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn in 1682, as a safe place for Quakers to live and practice their faith. Quakers have been a significant part of the movements for the abolition of slavery, to promote equal rights for women, and peace. They have also promoted education and the humane treatment of prisoners and the mentally ill, through the founding or reforming of various institutions. Quaker entrepreneurs played a central role in forging the Industrial Revolution, especially in England and Pennsylvania.
During the 19th century, Friends in the United States suffered a number of secessions, which resulted in the formation of different branches of the Society of Friends. The Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) estimated in 2012 there were 377,055 adult Quakers.James Mott
James Mott (20 June 1788 – 26 January 1868) was a Quaker leader, teacher, and merchant as well as an anti-slavery activist.Seneca Falls Convention
The Seneca Falls Convention was the first women's rights convention. It advertised itself as "a convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman".
Held in Seneca Falls, New York, it spanned two days over July 19–20, 1848. Attracting widespread attention, it was soon followed by other women's rights conventions, including the Rochester Women's Rights Convention in Rochester, New York, two weeks later. In 1850 the first in a series of annual National Women's Rights Conventions met in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Female Quakers local to the area organized the meeting along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who was not a Quaker. They planned the event during a visit to the area by Philadelphia-based Lucretia Mott. Mott, a Quaker, was famous for her oratorical ability, which was rare for non-Quaker women during an era in which women were often not allowed to speak in public.
The meeting comprised six sessions including a lecture on law, a humorous presentation, and multiple discussions about the role of women in society. Stanton and the Quaker women presented two prepared documents, the Declaration of Sentiments and an accompanying list of resolutions, to be debated and modified before being put forward for signatures. A heated debate sprang up regarding women's right to vote, with many – including Mott – urging the removal of this concept, but Frederick Douglass, who was the convention's sole African American attendee, argued eloquently for its inclusion, and the suffrage resolution was retained. Exactly 100 of approximately 300 attendees signed the document, mostly women.
The convention was seen by some of its contemporaries, including featured speaker Mott, as one important step among many others in the continuing effort by women to gain for themselves a greater proportion of social, civil and moral rights,
while it was viewed by others as a revolutionary beginning to the struggle by women for complete equality with men. Stanton considered the Seneca Falls Convention to be the beginning of the women's rights movement, an opinion that was echoed in the History of Woman Suffrage, which Stanton co-wrote.The convention's Declaration of Sentiments became "the single most important factor in spreading news of the women's rights movement around the country in 1848 and into the future", according to Judith Wellman, a historian of the convention.
By the time of the National Women's Rights Convention of 1851, the issue of women's right to vote had become a central tenet of the United States women's rights movement. These conventions became annual events until the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861.Thomas M'Clintock
Thomas M'Clintock (1792–1876) was an anti-slavery activist and devoted Hicksite Quaker. He was born in Brandywine Hundred, Delaware in 1792, the son of Thomas and Mary Allen M'Clintock. Thomas's father was a Presbyterian, and his mother a Quaker, although their marriage resulted in her being removed from the Quaker rolls for marrying out of meeting.
Thomas became a druggist or pharmacist, which at the time would have been achieved through an apprenticeship. Thomas became a Quaker by commitment in 1811. At age twenty-two, Thomas began working as a druggist, opening his own store in Philadelphia, and six years later, in 1820, he married Mary Ann Wilson in Burlington, New Jersey. They began their life together in Philadelphia, where they lived for the first seventeen years of their marriage, and where Thomas M'Clintock began his involvement in abolitionism. During their years there, Thomas and Mary Ann had six children, five of whom lived to adulthood.
In 1827, M'Clintock co-founded the Free Produce Society of Pennsylvania along with James Mott, Richard Allen, and others and became its first secretary. This predominantly Quaker movement, which included also free African Americans, was an effort to promote the exchange of goods not involving any slave labor. In doing so, the members hoped to create a demand for "free" produce. The society felt their agenda was a peaceful and reasonable way to combat slavery. Thomas applied those principles throughout his life.
That same year M'Clintock was an instrumental force in the Hicksite Schism. This separation among the Quakers resulted from disagreements as to what role doctrine should play in the church, how much one should participate in social activism, and other factors. His extensive knowledge of early Quaker theology was used to form debilitating arguments against Orthodox Quakers. His arguments caused so much tension that even ten years later, in 1836, he and his family chose to move to Waterloo, New York. While there, the M'Clintocks more actively aligned themselves with William Lloyd Garrison and his American Anti-Slavery Society. The M'Clintocks participated in petition campaigns, anti-slavery fairs, hosted numerous anti-slavery speakers and were founding members of the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society. In 1843, Thomas was elected to the board of managers of the American Anti-Slavery Society and later served as a vice president for a number of years.
M'Clintock actively championed abolition, temperance, and Native American rights. Thomas and his wife organized anti-slavery petitions, gave refuge to black children, and continued the Free Produce movement. Controversy erupted between moderate and radical members over whether the Society had the right to discipline members for individual acts. As a result, the M'Clintocks organized a new group called the Yearly Meeting of Congregational Friends, which became official in 1853 after the schism of the Society of Friends in 1848. This new group, later renamed the Friends of Human Progress in 1854, had strong ties to the Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends.
Thomas's wife, Mary Ann, was a major force in organizing the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention. She attended the famous tea party in the Hunt where the idea for a convention was first discussed. The original Declaration of Sentiments was then written at the M'Clintock house by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary Ann and probably Elizabeth M'Clintock and Mary M'Clintock. Thomas may have been involved in those discussions, but there is no direct record of that. He did chair one of the sessions of the subsequent convention and gave a speech in support of the declaration. The entire M'Clintock family was involved in the convention, and they even helped to organize a follow-up convention later in August.
By 1860, at age sixty-eight, Thomas M'Clintock had moved back to Philadelphia with his family. Thomas returned to his trade as a pharmacist until about 1866. He died on March 19, 1876 at age eighty-three. His wife died eight years later on May 21, 1884. Thomas M'Clintock is remembered for his contributions to the anti-slavery movement and his impact on the first women's rights movements. The home in Waterloo, New York where the family resided during July 1848 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 as the M'Clintock House.Warner Mifflin
Warner Mifflin (August 21, 1745 – October 16, 1798) was an American abolitionist. Born and raised in Virginia, Mifflin established himself as a planter in Delaware in 1769. As a member of the Society of Friends, he was strongly opposed to slavery and became dedicated to assisting slaves who tried to free themselves, to defending free blacks from abuse, as well as encouraging Quakers and others to free their slaves.Wendell Phillips
Wendell Phillips (November 29, 1811 – February 2, 1884) was an American abolitionist, advocate for Native Americans, orator, and attorney.