Meredith, Thomas


Meredith, Thomas
One-line bio
Proslavery Baptist minister and a leader of the North Carolina Baptist Convention
Pennsylvania-born Thomas Meredith was an antebellum proslavery Baptist minister, leader of the North Carolina Baptist Convention, and a women’s educational advocate. Despite maternal Quaker roots and a University of Pennsylvania education, Thomas Meredith enslaved at least eleven different individuals during his ministry in North Carolina from 1830 until his death in 1850. Meredith came to North Carolina as a missionary in 1817 before ultimately founding and editing the Biblical Recorder, the premier publication for North Carolina Baptists. Meredith used his role as editor to advocate for women’s education and led the earliest calls for the establishment of a Baptist women’s college.

Although characterized as anti-slavery by Meredith College affiliated scholars, Meredith’s editorials show him to be stridently anti-abolitionist and, despite raising mild criticisms about American slavery, repeatedly declared slavery “compatible with the most eminent virtues of the christian [sic] life,” and that an honest reading of scripture proves “slaveholding is no sin.” In 1847, Meredith self-published a proslavery pamphlet where he proclaimed “slaveholding is, per se, wholly inoffensive; that the relation of master and slave is as accordant with the general precepts of the gospel, as that of parent and child, or of husband and wife; and that, therefore, all charges of a criminal nature founded on this relation, and alleged against Southern Christians, are unreasonable and unjust.” Earlier Meredith declared, “So far from being a gloomy, dejected, and oppressed people…our slaves are among the most light hearted, contented, and happy classes, that we have known in any society.”
Date of Birth
7 July 1795
Date of Death
13 November 1850
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