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Mary Ellen Pleasant
By: Iesha S.
California, Grade 9



Mary Ellen Pleasant was a pioneering, abolitionist and African American businesswoman in San Francisco in the mid 1850's. A former slave, Mrs. Pleasant participated in freeing other slaves through the Underground Railroad and eventually moved to SF to open up boardinghouses, where she made a great fortune (estimated at $30,000,000). She continued her efforts to end slavery, risking her own capture under the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. She used her growing fortune and connections with prominent men in San Francisco to help other African Americans, who gave her the nickname ''The Black City Hall''. She eventually left San Francisco to return to the East Coast to continue her anti-slavery crusade and help the abolitionist John Brown.



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