Who was Julia Ward Williams? She was an Black American abolitionist.

Julia W. Williams was born in Charleston, South Carolina on July 1, 1811. Her family moved to Boston, Massachusetts when she was a child, and was 21 years old when she traveled to Canterbury, Connecticut to be a student at Prudence Crandall’s Academy. After the Academy closed, Williams went to study at the Noyes Academy in New Canaan, New Hampshire, which in 1835 met the same fate as the Canterbury Female Boarding School. She completed her education at the Oneida Institute in New York.

She was an outspoken advocate of abolition and African-American rights. Williams was a member of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society (BFASS), during the 1830s. She was one of four delegates from the BFASS who attended the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women in New York in 1837.


Williams married Henry Highland Garnet, a teacher, minister, and prominent Black American leader of the abolitionist movement, whom she met while attending Noyes Academy. Together the couple had three children, only one survived to adulthood. In 1852, Julia and Henry traveled to Jamaica as missionaries, where Julia headed a Female Industrial School. After the Civil War, Julia worked with freedmen in Washington, DC. She died on January 7, 1870 (aged 58).

In 2014 the Prudence Crandall Museum was preparing an exhibit interpreting the life of Williams.


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