Activity 1: The Response to Slavery

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story. Make copies for participants.
  • Prepare to project Leader Resource 1, or print a copy.
  • Prearrange with a volunteer to read the story aloud.

Description of Activity

Tell the group they will begin with a basic review of the historical context of the struggle for the abolition of slavery. Distribute Leader Resource 1, or project the portrait of Channing. Distribute the story, "Channing and the Response to Slavery." Invite a volunteer to read the story aloud. Engage a discussion, using these questions.

  • Does this information confirm, or contradict, what you already know about the Unitarian and Universalist response to slavery? How? If information is new to you, how does the new information affect you?
  • Does this story about William Ellery Channing's struggle over speaking out about slavery cast him as a prophetic leader? What were the institutional costs for his outspokenness?
  • How would you react if your minister were more militantly involved in a social justice issue than you were comfortable with? Does disagreeing with a minister limit that person's freedom of the pulpit? What about refusing a minister by denying access to resources, as in the case of the Follen funeral?

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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