Petition of Prince Hall to the Massachusetts General Court, 27 February 1788
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This petition was presented to the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by a number of freemen of Boston led by Prince Hall. It protests the unlawful seizure of three free black men who were kidnapped in Boston Harbor and taken to the West Indies to be sold into slavery. The petition states, in part, that while the freemen are aware of laws against such kidnappings, there is a troubling frequency of occurrences that prevents prudent freemen from making an honest living at sea, one of the few professions open to African Americans. This petition, along with one by a group of Quakers and one put forward by the Boston clergy, precipitated an act to prohibit the slave trade, passed 26 March 1788.