That biography contains several grave errors pointed out to me by the historian of St. Thomas African Episcopal Church, Arthur K. Sudler,. I note three here.
- “he was sold to a store owner in Philadelphia” is incorrect: The reality was typical and much worse. His master moved to Philadelphia after he sold his plantation along with Absalom’s mother and six siblings.
- “Jones bought his own freedom in 1784.” Jones bought his wife Mary Thomas’s freedom. His master granted him a manumission in 1784, after refusing for several years to allow Absalom to purchase his freedom.
- Also, the Free African Society was organized in 1787 before the St. George's incident which probably occurred in 1792.
Below are two documents which I hope we will all have time to consult as we make preparations for February 13. I have Arthur’s permission to distribute his sketch. If you are going to print it in a bulletin or program book, please let him know at email@example.com. * Absalom's autobiographical sketch from Douglass' Annals* is in the public domain.