Elijah Lovejoy was anti-slavery martyr in Illinois


November 8, 2023

By Tom Emery

Abolitionists such as Elijah Lovejoy were not in the mainstream of 1830s society in Illinois. But Lovejoy met the challenge head on.

November 7 marked the anniversary of the murder of Lovejoy, a newspaper publisher and vocal opponent of slavery, in Alton in 1837. The tragedy became a flashpoint for the slavery debate in Illinois.

Born in Maine on Nov. 9, 1802, Lovejoy moved west to St. Louis and founded a classical high school. He also edited a reform-minded newspaper, though, oddly, never paid much attention to the slavery issue. After five years, though, he underwent some...

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