Gay, Sidney Howard

Gay, Sidney Howard,

1814–88, American abolitionist and publisher, b. Hingham, Mass. Following several failed business ventures, he was drawn to the work of the abolitionistsabolitionists,
in U.S. history, particularly in the three decades before the Civil War, members of the movement that agitated for the compulsory emancipation of the slaves.
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 and moved to New York City (1843), where he joined the American Anti-Slavery Society and edited (1843–59) its weekly newspaper, the National Anti-Slavery Standard. Gay was an important operative in the Underground RailroadUnderground Railroad,
in U.S. history, loosely organized system for helping fugitive slaves escape to Canada or to areas of safety in free states. It was run by local groups of Northern abolitionists, both white and free blacks.
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, working closely with the free black Louis NapoleonNapoleon, Louis,
1800–1881, African American abolitionist. He lived in a community of free blacks in Staten Island, N.Y., working as a porter and furniture polisher while secretly operating as an "agent" of the Underground Railroad.
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. His notebooks, The Record of Fugitives (1855–56), detail the stories of more than 200 escaped slaves who passed through New York. Gay subsequently worked for several New York and Chicago newspapers, collaborated with William Cullen BryantBryant, William Cullen
, 1794–1878, American poet and newspaper editor, b. Cummington, Mass. The son of a learned and highly respected physician, Bryant was exposed to English poetry in his father's vast library.
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 on the Popular History of the United States (4 vol., 1876–80), and wrote A Life of James Madison (1884).

Bibliography

See D. Papson and T. Calarco, Secret Lives of the Underground Railroad in New York City (2014) and E. Foner, Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad (2015).

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