Stamped

by

Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

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William Lloyd Garrison Character Analysis

William Lloyd Garrison was a white 19th-century antislavery publisher and activist. He’s the third of the five main figures who Kendi and Reynolds use to illustrate the history of racist and antiracist ideas. He is best remembered for founding the American Anti-Slavery Society and publishing The Liberator, an influential abolitionist newspaper. Garrison reframed slavery as a moral question, rather than a political one, and won widespread support for abolition. While he originally defended assimilationist ideas like “uplift suasion,” he eventually changed his mind and became an antiracist. His efforts show that white people can use their privilege for good and that the media is the most powerful tool in spreading racist and antiracist ideas.

William Lloyd Garrison Quotes in Stamped

The Stamped quotes below are all either spoken by William Lloyd Garrison or refer to William Lloyd Garrison. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism vs. Antiracism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Little, Brown Books for Young Readers edition of Stamped published in 2020.
Chapter 11 Quotes

Mike didn’t always get it right, but he was always open to learning and was never afraid to try.

The abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison was like that—a man with power and privilege, not afraid to try.

Related Characters: Jason Reynolds (speaker), William Lloyd Garrison
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

Garrison was influenced greatly by Walker’s ideas and carried them on, spreading them by doing what everyone had done before him: Literature. Writing. Language. The only difference was that Garrison’s predecessors in propaganda always spread damaging information. At least about Black people. They’d always printed poison, narratives about Black inferiority and White superiority. But Garrison would buck that trend and start a newspaper, the Liberator. The name alone was a match strike. This paper relaunched the abolitionist movement among White people.

Related Characters: Jason Reynolds (speaker), William Lloyd Garrison
Page Number: 86-87
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

On one hand, he wanted slavery gone. Black people liked that. On another hand, he didn’t think Black people should necessarily have equal rights. Racists loved that. And then, on a third hand (a foot, maybe?), he argued that the end of slavery would bolster the poor White economy, which poor White people loved. Lincoln had created an airtight case where no one could trust him (Garrison definitely didn’t), but everyone kinda… wanted to. And when Lincoln lost, he’d still made a splash as his party, the Republican Party, won many of the House seats in the states that were antislavery. So much so, that Garrison, though critical of Lincoln, kept his critiques to himself because he saw a future where maybe—maybe—antislavery politicians could take over.

Related Characters: Jason Reynolds (speaker), Abraham Lincoln, William Lloyd Garrison
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:
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William Lloyd Garrison Character Timeline in Stamped

The timeline below shows where the character William Lloyd Garrison appears in Stamped. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11: Mass Communication for Mass Emancipation
Racism vs. Antiracism Theme Icon
History and the Present Theme Icon
How Racist Ideas Spread Theme Icon
...player who also explored his creative side. Like Mike, the white abolitionist leader William Lloyd Garrison was curious, open to improvement, and willing to use his privilege for good. Garrison became... (full context)
Racism vs. Antiracism Theme Icon
History and the Present Theme Icon
How Racist Ideas Spread Theme Icon
Garrison was dedicated to spreading the ideas of his friend, the Black abolitionist David Walker, and... (full context)
Chapter 12: Uncle Tom
Racism vs. Antiracism Theme Icon
How Racist Ideas Spread Theme Icon
...Carolina senator John C. Calhoun ran for president on an angry pro-slavery platform. William Lloyd Garrison wanted to strike back by showing white people what slavery was actually like. So, he... (full context)
Chapter 14: Garrison’s Last Stand
Racism vs. Antiracism Theme Icon
History and the Present Theme Icon
Power, Profit, and Privilege Theme Icon
How Racist Ideas Spread Theme Icon
After Lincoln’s death, Garrison decided to retire. Slavery was over, he thought, so his job was done. But actually,... (full context)
Racism vs. Antiracism Theme Icon
History and the Present Theme Icon
How Racist Ideas Spread Theme Icon
...right to vote. Black people celebrated all across the U.S., and many of them asked Garrison to give a victory speech. He dedicated his final years to helping Black people escape... (full context)
Chapter 18: The Mission Is in the Name
Racism vs. Antiracism Theme Icon
Power, Profit, and Privilege Theme Icon
...Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). W. E. B. Du Bois and Oswald Garrison Villard, William Lloyd Garrison’s grandson, founded the NAACP after both writing biographies of the abolitionist... (full context)