In 1785, William Wilberforce underwent a conversion experience and became an Christian, resulting in major changes to his lifestyle and a long-term concern for reform. In 1787, he came into contact with Thomas Clarkson and a group of anti-slave-trade activists, including Granville Sharp, Hannah More and Charles Middleton. They persuaded Wilberforce to take on the cause of abolition, and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists. He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act 1807. In later years, Wilberforce supported the campaign for the complete abolition of slavery, and continued his involvement after 1826, when he resigned from Parliament because of his poor health. That campaign led to the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire; Wilberforce died just three days after finding out that his Act would pass through Parliament. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, close to his friend William Pitt, along with many kings, queens and other well-known people. August 24 was his birthday.
This holiday has recently been established by Chase’s Calendar of Events through the efforts of Professor Rick Sheridan of Wilberforce University. For more information, please go to http://www.netmar.com/~