On this day in Alabama history: James Birney was born in Kentucky

On this day in Alabama history: James Birney was born in Kentucky
Abolitionist James G. Birney, painted by Asa Park in 1818. (Kentucky Historical Society, Wikipedia)

February 4, 1792

Abolitionist James Gillespie Birney was born in Kentucky. A slaveholding plantation owner and attorney, Birney moved to Madison County in 1818 and became a prominent local politician and state legislator. He held conflicting views on slavery throughout his life and used his influence to promote antislavery provisions in all levels of government, including several in Alabama’s first constitution. He later worked for the American Colonization Society, promoting the immigration of free blacks to Liberia, and the American Anti-Slavery Society, where he advocated for immediate and widespread emancipation. Birney freed the slaves on his own plantations in the 1830s and twice ran as the presidential candidate for the abolitionist Liberty Party.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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