David Bustill (1787-1866)

David Bustill was born in 1787, the same year the U.S. Constitution was adopted in Philadlephia.  David was a vocal abolitionist who was willing to risk his life and community standing to speak out against the injustice of chattel slavery. David Bustill's dedicated and outspoken activism can be glimpsed from a diary entry he wrote detailing a visit he made to a city court house where David bravely spoke out against the injustice being done against a fugitive slave.  In the February 1, 1856 entry David states “This day the Lord sent me to the Court House, under the steeple at the center building, to warn the court not to do anything more against us, they having a man claimed to be a fugitive slave.”  According to David's granddaughter “the court seemed spellbound and listened till he departed. The judge then released the man.” (The Young Paul Robeson, Lloyd brown, pg. 152). This episode highlights the fearless fotitude and sense of purpose David felt in his position that the injustice of enslavement should never be tolerated in a civilized society.  David Bustill's willingness to speak up in public, regardless of any repercussions is an affrimation of his courage and character in the face of injustice.

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