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Radical FriendAmy Kirby Post and Her Activist Worlds$
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Nancy A. Hewitt

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469640327

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469640327.001.0001

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Family and Faith, 1790–1828

Family and Faith, 1790–1828

(p.15) 1 Family and Faith, 1790–1828
Radical Friend

Nancy A. Hewitt

University of North Carolina Press

Amy Kirby Post’s life as a social activist was rooted in the Quaker farm community in which she was raised. Born in 1802 in Jericho, New York, Amy Kirby was surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, all of them birthright members of the Society of Friends. Friends embraced a diverse range of views, but the local Jericho and Westbury Friends Meetings were noted for their peace and antislavery testimonies. Elias Hicks led antislavery efforts in the area and insisted that individuals act according to their “inner light” rather than the Quaker Discipline or even the Bible. Friends’ separate women’s meetings and acknowledgement of women ministers provided Amy with a strong sense of female independence. Yet she also learned about the fragility of family ties and of life itself. Her closest sister Hannah married Isaac Post and moved to central New York in 1823; Amy’s fiancé died in 1825; and two years later Hannah died far from home. Hannah’s death occurred just as the Society of Friends split into Hicksite and Orthodox branches. While twenty-five-year-old Amy was certain about her spiritual commitment to the Hicksites, in most other ways, her future felt deeply unsettled.

Keywords:   antislavery, Elias Hicks, inner light, peace, Quakers, Society of Friends, women’s meetings, women ministers

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