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Days after a mob assasinated abolitionist publisher Elijah Lovejoy in Alton, Illinois, students expressed their support for his anti-slavery views with a public demonstration on the Illinois College campus. Lovejoy's good friend, Illinois College President Edward Beecher, had just returned to Jacksonville after helping the journalist protect his printing press before word of Lovejoy's murder reached campus. The rally took place in front of the College Building (which was destroyed by fire in 1852) and came at a time when the pro-slavery views of many of the young community's residents threatened to drown out dissent. The event was significant because it served notice that the anti-slavery movement had a growing presence on campus. A plaque located near the site of the rally now calls attention to that moment when students and faculty raised their voices in support of abolition.
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