Thomas Van Rensselaer

Thomas Van Rensselaer, or van Renselaer, was a leading black abolitionist in New York City and a cofounder of the Ram's Horn (c. 1846-48). A former slave from New York's Mohawk Valley, Van Rensselaer ran away from his master in 1819 and later operated a New York City restaurant called the "Temperance House." He was active in the New York Vigilance Committee and in campaigns for equal educational and political rights for blacks. Although not a nonresistant, Van Resselaer sided with the Garrisonians and served on the Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society (1840-43). Around 1849, he moved to Philadelphia where he continued to attend antislavery and black conventions. New York Colored American,  18 March, 28 October, 9 December 1837; NS, 8 December 1848, 26 October, 2 November 1849; FDP, 15 July 1853; I. Garland Penn, The Afro-American Press and Its Editors (Springfield, Mass., 1910), 61-65; Jane H. Pease and William H. Pease, They Who Would Be Free: Blacks' Search for Freedom, 1830-1861 (New York, 1974), 79-80, 100-01, 138, 178, 185; Rhoda G. Freeman, "The Free Negro in New York City in the Era before the Civil War" (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1966), 71, 98, 100, 193-95, 197, 200, 284-85, 353, 365.

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