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Robert Purvis

Robert Purvis
Robert Purvis, Abolitionist.jpg
Purvis c.1840–1849
Born(1810-08-04)August 4, 1810
DiedApril 15, 1898(1898-04-15) (aged 87)
Known forAbolitionist, Underground Railroad
Spouse(s)Harriet Forten Purvis
Tracy Townsend
Children8, including Harriet Purvis, Jr., Charles Burleigh Purvis
Signature of Robert Purvis (1810–1898).png

Robert Purvis (August 4, 1810 – April 15, 1898) was an American abolitionist in the United States. He was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and was likely educated at Amherst Academy, a secondary school in Amherst, Massachusetts. He then spent most of his life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1833 he helped found the American Anti-Slavery Society and the Library Company of Colored People. From 1845–1850 he served as president of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society and also traveled to Britain to gain support for the movement.

Of mixed race, Purvis and his brothers were three-quarters European by ancestry and inherited considerable wealth from their native British father after his death in 1826. Purvis's parents had lived in common law marriage, prevented from marrying because his mother was a free woman of color, of Moroccan and Jewish descent (through each parent). The sons chose to identify with the black community and used their education and wealth to support abolition of slavery and anti-slavery activities, as well as projects in education to help the advance of African Americans.

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