Readers of the antislavery press might learn of attorney Macon B. Allen of the Portland Bar, or of John V. Degrasse, graduate in medicine from Bowdoin College, who had spent two years in London and Paris hospitals, and had made several trips across the Atlantic as a ship surgeon before settling in Boston. In September 1834 The Liberator requested Negro inventors to write to the paper so that it could assist them in obtaining patents and also furnish them with proof of colored talent and ability.
Abolitionist newspapers carried advertisements of Negroes who ran clothing or grocery shops, invariably adding an editorial note that the proprietor of the establishment was richly deserving of the patronage extended to him. Some advertisements came from owners of lodging houses, invariably Negroes themselves, who had rooms for the accommodation of "Genteel Persons of Color." Abolitionist newspapers carried letters to the editor praising this or that Negro in business or the professionals—Thomas Jennings, a surgeon dentist of Boston, for example, received such unbilled advertising.
The abolitionist press had a marked effect in making Negroes more active in social and civic affairs. Negro organizations felt no hesitancy in asking these newspapers to carry notices of their coming meetings and lists of their officers. At many Negro meetings the final order of business was a motion instructing the secretary to send a copy of the proceedings to a specified list of journals. Brief notices of Negro weddings dotted the back pages of abolitionist weeklies. How warming to the self-esteem to see one's name in print! But more important was the sense of civic participation it engendered.
As they prepared to organize a state society in the fall of 1838, the abolitionists who assembled at Milton in Wayne County, Indiana, read a sobering letter from Gamaliel Bailey. Bailey was editor of the Cincinnati Philanthropist, the first antislavery journal in the West, whose office had been the tar- get of mobs on three occasions. "Your troubles are yet to come, and they may indeed be fiery," wrote Bailey. The prejudice against the Negro would be directed against his friends, ran Bailey's words of warning: their motives would be impeached, their doctrines misrepresented, their good name slandered, and, like as not, their persons assailed. Maria Weston Warren, pillar of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, bore a similar reckoning of the price one paid to join the movement: "It has occasioned our brothers to be dismissed from the pastoral charge—our sons to be expelled from colleges and theological seminaries—our friends from professorships—our selves from literary and social privileges." By most of their countrymen, the abolitionists were looked upon as sappers of the social order who incited the slaves to rebel and the free Negro to seek intermarriage. And almost as bad, they endangered property rights, enfeebled the church, and subverted the Constitution.