Biography of an Antislavery City

Mealy, Todd. Biography of an Antislavery City: Antislavery Advocates, Abolitionists, and Underground Railroad Activists in Harrisburg, PA. Baltimore: PublishAmerica, 2007.
Source Type
Secondary
Year
2007
Publication Type
Book
Citation:
Todd Mealy, Biography of an Antislavery City: Antislavery Advocates, Abolitionists, and Underground Railroad Activists in Harrisburg, PA (Baltimore: PublishAmerica, 2007), 145-146.
Body Summary:
[U.S. Slave Commissioner Richard] McAllister had two stanch enemies in Harrisburg.  They were local abolitionists that also worked in Dauphin County’s legal department. Antislavery lawyer Mordecai McKinney and antislavery judge John Pearson took on the personal campaign of taking down the slave commissioner.

Almost immediately McKinney, a fellow Dickinson College alumni of his rival McAllister, established a stake out arrangement with members of the Harrisburg Anti-Slavery Society (HAS) outside of the slave commissioner’s house. As the leader of this HAS committee, McKinney became the “antislavery mayor” of Harrisburg. The committee was responsible for setting up a neighborhood watch program to track the activities of his younger nemesis. All of the information gathered bout McAllister was relayed back both HAS  and Judge Pearson so that they could be prepared to take legal action against the slave commissioner.
Citation:
Todd Mealy, Biography of an Antislavery City: Antislavery Advocates, Abolitionists, and Underground Railroad Activists in Harrisburg, PA (Baltimore: PublishAmerica, 2007), 145.
Body Summary:
Between 1850 to 1855, free-blacks living in Harrisburg had to overcome the corruption and deviance of Richard McAllister and his deputy marshals, Solomon Snyder and John Sanders, who continuously arrested, wrongfully, African Americans. The motive for these men to do such evil things was simply the prospect of making money and a personal ideology shaped from a childhood household of slaveholders. The Fugitive Slave Law granted financial incentives for every arrest and conviction of a fugitive slave. McAllister and his constables were awarded $1 for the recovery of a runaway. Even when they wrongfully arrested an alleged fugitive that was acquitted in court, they received a $5 reward.
How to Cite This Page: "Biography of an Antislavery City," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/19266.