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The Reform Era in America was one of the most significant and
controversial periods in our country’s history. Those who fought
for the abolition of slavery risked their reputations, their
livelihoods, and their lives in the struggle to eliminate our
greatest national injustice—and the racism that spawned it.
This is their story as told through the person of Gerrit Smith, a native of Peterboro, New York who worked with countless other abolitionists who were equally devoted to the struggle.
The Civil War was the most celebrated expression of the anti-slavery movement, but it came after years of work by the
opponents of slavery, many of whom dedicated their lives to the cause of abolition. Whatever It Takes is the story of how they did what they did—and why their work remains unfinished even today.
American abolitionists spent more than thirty years
struggling to dismantle the South’s so-called ‘peculiar
institution’. Gerrit Smith of Peterboro, N.Y. traversed the entire landscape of the American anti-slavery movement.
Norm Dann’s third book is a welcome addition to the
historiography of American abolitionism. It will be of
great interest to all who visit the National Abolition Hall of Fame & Museum, which Dr. Dann helped to establish in Peterboro.
- Dr. Milton C. Sernett
Professor Emeritus, Syracuse University