“I felt that it was inconsistent to condemn slaveholders for withholding from their fellow-men their just, natural and God-given rights, and then by purchasing the fruits of the labor of their slaves, give them the strongest motive for continuing their wickedness and oppression.” ~ Levi Coffin, in Reminiscences of Levi Coffin
I recently learned about Levi Coffin (1798-1877), a strong Quaker abolitionist and conductor of the Underground Railroad in Indiana. His home—the site of a railway station—in Fountain City is on my list of places to visit. In the meantime, I encountered his quote above in an exhibit on the Indiana African American Experience at the Indiana State Museum.
His quote is timeless, speaking to those in the twenty-first century as easily as the nineteenth. To talk the talk is one thing. But to walk the walk? That is an entirely different matter. An ideal that I too often fail to live up to.