Julia Williams Garnet: Author

Julia Williams Garnet (1811-1870), H. H. Garnet's wife, was an activist in her own right. Her devotion to racial uplift and anti-slavery causes did not waver even as she faced instances of violence and injustice. While she and H. H. Garnet were students of Noyes Academy in New Hampshire, white terrorists destroyed the school and violently forced its students out of town.1 Julia Williams had also been imprisoned for teaching Black girls.2

It is clear that she was not a stranger to white violence and state-approved injustice. Her background influenced her views and eventually Garnet’s “Address to the Slaves,” which she helped to write. It is important to acknowledge her hand in it although it may be impossible to find out the extent of her work or to identify her passages in “Address.” The Garnets might have strategically chosen to present the address as solely Henry Highland Garnet's work, knowing that his audience would be generally composed of men. 

However, H. H. Garnet himself admits that his voice is intertwined with Julia's. Invoking the sanctity of matrimony, he posits her as another author of the address. In a letter to abolitionist Maria Chapman who criticized the address, Garnet writes that Julia was the only one who gave him counsel regarding the address, but "if she did counsel me, it is no matter, for 'we twain are one flesh.'"3

To read more about Julia Williams Garnet, click here


[1] Garnet, Henry Highland. A Memorial Discourse, p. 30. Print. 

[2] Ibid.

[3] Garnet, Henry Highland. "From The Liberator. A Letter to Mrs. Maria W. Chapman," 8 Dec. 1843. Accessible Archives @ Accessible Archives Inc.


Page contributed by Samantha de Vera