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When, therefore, it was decided that an Anti-Slavery movement should be inaugurated in Boston, the proper thing to do, according to all the standards of the place, was to organize a society. But the thing was more easily resolved upon than done. It required the concurrence of several parties of likemindedness. Boston was a pretty large place, but Anti-Slavery people were scarce. The number (doubtless selected because it was Apostolic) assumed to be necessary was twelve. Fifteen people of somewhat similar views were at last brought together. After much discussion nine favored an organization and six opposed it. So far the operation was a failure. But at last, after much canvassing, twelve men were found who promised their co-operation-twelve and no more. Although respectable people, they were not of Boston's “first citizens” by any means. It is said that if they had been called upon for a hundred dollars each, not over two of them could have responded without bankruptcy.

The twelve came together at night and in the basement of an African Baptist Church, the room being used in the daytime to accommodate a school for colored children. It was in an obscure quarter of Boston known as “Nigger Hill.” The conference was in the month of December, and the night is thus described by Oliver Johnson, who was one of the twelve: “A fierce northeast storm, combining rain, snow, and hail in about equal proportions, was raging, and the streets were full of slush. They were dark, too, for the city of Boston in those days was very economical of light on Nigger Hill.”

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