This interesting, light blue transfer ware plate displays the etchings of the U.S. Constitutions First Amendment, recalling the protection of free speech and the press. This artifact of liberty and freedom is referred to as the anti-slavery or abolition plate, one of the very few produced to commemorate the life of Elijah Lovejoy.
Lovejoy was an active advocate for anti-slavery and an Abolitionist editor who published an antislavery newspaper in Alton, Illinois in the 1800s. Lovejoy fought for free speech and press on the subject of slavery and as a result of exerting resistance against slavery he was murdered in 1837 defending his printing press from an anti-abolition mob.
Upon his death, several plates were produced in England and shipped to New York to raise money for the purpose of freeing slaves. In addition to the etchings of the First Amendment, on top of the plate’s border appears, “Lovejoy, the first Martyr to American Liberty, at Alton, Nov. 7, 1837.”
On the back of the plate reads the following: