Rev. A.C. Van Raalte on Slavery

Historians of the Dutch in America have often repeated the idea that Albertus C. Van Raalte was an opponent of slavery who during the Civil War spoke from his pulpit in defense of the Union. Until recently, however, only secondary sources, and no primary sources, could be shown to support this view. Even Eugene Heideman in his recent and extensive reading of Van Raalte’s sermons did not discover any mention of slavery or the Civil War. Heideman’s findings, presented at a conference in October2011, surprised me because I recall coming across a Van Raalte anti-slavery source in my own research.