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John Philip - Anti-slavery Campaigner

Dr John Philip (1775-1851) was an ardent anti-slavery campaigner. Born in Kirkcaldy, he started work with a linen manufacturer in Leven at the age of just 13. He later became a clerk in Dundee, but lost his job when he spoke out against child labour.

He trained for the ministry and after 14 years in Aberdeen was sent out by the London Missionary Society to Cape Colony, South Africa. For the next 30 years he was a vigorous campaigner, both at home and in Africa, for the rights of black people. He was appointed superintendent of all the LMS stations in South Africa and made many charges against the colonists and colonial government.

After a year as superintendent he returned to Britain to lobby for black people's rights and many of his recommendations were adopted by the British Government. It made him very unpopular with the whites in South Africa, but his legacy is assured with the town of Philippolis in the Free State named after him.

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