Embarrassment for Kaep? Betsy Ross was Former Quaker, Potential Anti-Slavery Ally


CORRECTION, July 8: This story was originally published under the headline “Kaep Humiliated As Public Learns Betsy Ross Was Part of Massive Anti-Slavery Group.” While it is true that Betsy Ross was raised in the Quaker church, she was kicked out of the Society of Friends at the age of 17 for marrying outside of her faith. Author Jane Hamilton Cook describes Ross as an “anti-slavery Quaker,” but we have been unable to find any verification for that claim. We do know that Ross lived all her life in Pennsylvania, which was not a slave state, and spent her most impressionable years as a member of one of the largest and most vocal anti-slavery organizations in the nation.

Having said that, the main point of this article remains: Colin Kaepernick may have been attacking a abolitionist ally because he either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the actual facts of American history. Even leaving Ross out of it, his position is specious. True, the American flag flew over a nation where slavery was legal, but it also flew over a nation that outlawed slavery and sacrificed over 360,000 soldiers to end the practice.

We have changed the headline of this article to “Embarrassment for Kaep? Betsy Ross was Former Quaker, Potential Anti-Slavery Ally” and edited it lightly to avoid seeming to make any claim about Ross’ position on slavery because we value truth more than political correctness. We apologize for any confusion our commentary as originally published may have caused.

Former quarterback-turned-social-justice-warrior Colin Kaepernick caused a stir right before the July Fourth holiday after somehow convincing Nike’s top brass that a patriotic shoe it was set to release represented slavery.

In a last-minute move as the Air Max 1 Quick Strike “Betsy Ross flag” shoes were hitting store shelves, Nike pulled its release and immediately made national headlines.

And Ross’ name was subsequently dragged through the mud.

But before Kaepernick — a man who once donned socks that depicted police officers as “pigs” — continues to push the narrative that Ross’ 13-star flag somehow connects her to slavery, he might consider a quick lesson in U.S. history.

According to Biography, Ross was born as Elizabeth Griscom in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in January 1752, and grew up as a Quaker — a religious group also known as the Society of Friends.

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What social justice warriors like Kaepernick are apparently unaware of is that the Quakers were one of the first religious groups in America to condemn slavery both in the U.S. and abroad.

According to a history of Quakers and Slavery by Bryn Mawr College, “The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) was the first corporate body in Britain and North America to fully condemn slavery as both ethically and religiously wrong in all circumstances.”

The Quakers also spent considerable time attempting to sway public opinion on the evils of slavery. They even provided education and resources for formerly slaves.

How much more anti-slavery can a group possibly be?

Do you think Nike made a bad decision in pulling the shoe?

It’s unfortunate that no one at Nike did their homework before the company kowtowed to Kaepernick’s demands. It could have saved everyone else a lot of time.

Nike issued a ridiculous statement concerning the decision to cancel the shoe’s release, according to ESPN.

“We regularly make business decisions to withdraw initiatives, products and services. NIKE made the decision to halt distribution of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday.”

Ironically, the company went against its own intentions of not detracting from July Fourth by making such a poor decision that caused a national stir.

Nike sure doesn’t seem proud of its American heritage, given the fact the company pulled a shoe that had no connection to slavery whatsoever.

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If Kaepernick hadn’t told his followers to be offended by the shoe, they wouldn’t have been. It was just another attempt to create division in America — something Kaepernick’s proven to be a master at.

The 13-star flag represents the Revolutionary War and the courage it took for people in that era to give us the freedoms we currently enjoy.

Ross should be respected by all Americans, politics aside. I won’t hold my breath waiting for an apology from the washed-up former football player, but he certainly owes one to Ross and every other American.

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Ryan Ledendecker is a former writer for The Western Journal.
Ryan Ledendecker is a former writer for The Western Journal.
St. Louis, Missouri
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