Who was William Lloyd Garrison and why is this libertarian media center named for him?
Garrison (1805-1879) made the abolition of chattel slavery in the United States his life’s work, publishing a weekly newspaper dedicated to that cause (The Liberator) beginning in 1831 and continuing until he had seen his goal achieved in 1865. His approach to advocacy journalism is best summed up in his editor’s message to readers of the paper’s first issue:
I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.
While we cannot and do not claim Garrison’s approval for all libertarian positions or causes, we seek to emulate his energy, enthusiasm and refusal to compromise principle in our own advocacy journalism. We consider ourselves his heirs in the cause of human freedom.
For those interested in learning more about Garrison’s life, times and work, we recommend Wikipedia’s article on Garrison and the biography All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery, by Henry Mayer (please note that the book link is an affiliate link which generates sales commissions for Garrison Center director Thomas L. Knapp).