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Anthony Benezet was a French-born American Quaker and teacher who helped educate numerous African American children from his home which was located here in the decades leading up to the American Revolution. Benezet was one of the leading abolitionists in the city during the 18th century and authored numerous articles that influenced the nascent antislavery movement.


  • Anthony Benezet (1713-1764)
  • Depiction of Benezet teaching

Anthony Benezet was born French Protestant parents in 1713. To escape the persecution that French Protestants (known as Huguenots) faced, Benezet's family emigrated to London when he was just 2 years old. When he was 17, Benezet joined his family when they moved from London to Philadelphia.

Once in Philadelphia, Benezet joined the Quakers and began teaching school in Germantown. He later taught at the Religious Society of Friends’ English School of Philadelphia. In the evenings, Benezet volunteered his time teaching poor African American children. In 1754, Benezet established what some consider to be the first public school for girls in America. 

Benezet wrote and published anti-slavery tracts and pamphlets and distributed them at his own expense and at great risk to his safety. Among his most famous works, Some Historical Account of Guinea influenced both British and colonial thought among the small number of slavery's opponents after its publication in 1772. He also convinced many of his Quaker brethren in Philadelphia that slave-owning was not consistent with the Christian doctrine.  

Anthony Benezet (1713-1784): The Teacher. The Abolition Project. . . http://abolition.e2bn.org/people_27.html.

Anthony Benezet (1713-1784). . . http://www.brycchancarey.com/abolition/benezet.htm.