Black History: Special Delivery!!
The Colored Female’s Free Produce Society was formed in January 1831 at Philadelphia’s “Mother” Bethel AME Church. The organization was part of the “free produce movement” which encouraged boycotts against the purchase of items produced by slave labor. The movement was launched as a way to fight slavery and sought to encourage the purchasing “produce” (goods and services) from “free” men and women of color who were paid for their labor. The movement was active in the U.S. starting the 1790’s until the end of slavery in the 1860’s.
The free produce movement originated with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). In 1830 African American men formed the Colored Free Produce Society of Pennsylvania and then in the 1831 the women’s organization of the same name was founded. As a result, here were some black businesses that began to feature “free” products which were not made with slave labor. However, the free produce organization did not gain substantial momentum. The national association disbanded in 1847. However Philadelphia Quakers continued advocating for the free produce movement until 1856.