First Friday: Amazing Grace


June 7, 2024    
8:00 am - 9:30 am


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2018 Avenue B, San Antonio, Texas, 78215

Event Type

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery
by Eric Metaxas
Presented by: Robert Schmidt

“Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery” by Eric Metaxas provides a detailed and inspirational account of William Wilberforce’s life and his relentless battle against the slave trade in Britain. This biography not only traces Wilberforce’s career but also delves deeply into his personal transformation and the broader societal changes that occurred during his time.

The book begins with Wilberforce’s early life, detailing his affluent background and education, which set the stage for his later influence in British politics. As a young and somewhat aimless man, Wilberforce was initially more interested in socializing and enjoying his status as a member of Parliament. However, a significant religious conversion experience dramatically altered his life’s trajectory. Embracing evangelical Christianity, Wilberforce felt a profound sense of moral urgency and purpose, which eventually led him to take on the cause of abolition.

Metaxas paints a vivid picture of the political and economic climate of 18th-century Britain, where slavery was not only a deeply ingrained institution but also a cornerstone of the economy. Wilberforce’s decision to challenge the slave trade was met with significant resistance from powerful interests, including merchants and politicians who profited immensely from slavery. Despite these challenges, Wilberforce’s unyielding commitment to his cause remained steadfast.

Central to the narrative is the description of the 20-year parliamentary campaign that Wilberforce led. Metaxas details the strategic alliances Wilberforce formed with other abolitionists, his skillful use of emerging mass media, and his ability to sway public opinion. Through petitions, speeches, and relentless advocacy, Wilberforce and his colleagues gradually shifted the moral and political landscape of Britain.

“Amazing Grace” also highlights Wilberforce’s broader humanitarian efforts, including his work to reform manners, promote education, and support other social reforms. Metaxas portrays Wilberforce as a man whose faith fueled his public endeavors, making a compelling case that Wilberforce’s Christian beliefs were integral to his persistence and strategies.

The climax of the book is the triumphant moment in 1807 when Parliament finally passed the Slave Trade Act, marking the official end of the British transatlantic slave trade. Although this did not immediately free those who were enslaved, it was a crucial victory in the broader fight against the institution of slavery itself.

Metaxas concludes with reflections on Wilberforce’s legacy, noting his continued efforts to abolish slavery entirely throughout the British colonies, a goal achieved shortly before his death in 1833. “Amazing Grace” serves as both a biography of a remarkable leader and a case study in the power of sustained moral conviction to bring about profound change in society.

Through this detailed portrayal, Metaxas provides not just historical insights but also a powerful reminder of the impact one dedicated individual can have on the world. Wilberforce’s story, as recounted in “Amazing Grace,” is a testament to the profound effects of faith, perseverance, and strategic political action in the quest for justice and human rights.


Friday, June 7, 2024
Presentation: 8:00 AM – 9:15 AM (US Central Time)

Meet Life Long Learners and Open Discussion:
9:15 AM – 9:30 AM (US Central Time)

WHERE (either):

In Person
Wittigs Building
2018 Ave B, Suite 200, San Antonio, Texas

**You must register to receive the Zoom Link**

You do not need to have read the book to attend the event.

If you would like to invite other colleagues to join this conference, you may register up to three guests during your registration process, or have them visit the website at to find out more about this and future events.


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