He was born a slave, at New Market, Kent County, Md., escaped from bondage in 1824, and subsequently made his way to New York, where he entered school in 1826. He was one of the persons of African blood on account of whose matriculation a mob broke up the academy at Canaan, N.H., in 1835. His education was continued, however, under Beriah Green at Oneida Institute, Whitestown, N.Y. The intelligent and versatile Presbyterian minister, Rev. Theodore S. Wright of New York, with whom Garnet established an acquaintance, probably became the dominant influence in directing him to the gospel ministry. After finishing his education, he divided his time between preaching and abolition agitation in the employ of the American Anti-Slavery Society. While he did not neglect the ministry, he viewed the anti-slavery platform as his important post of duty. He easily took rank among the foremost negro Abolitionists, and his fame spread throughout the country.