Henry Box Brown, Abolitionist lecturer and performer

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“Henry Box Brown was an abolitionist lecturer and performer. Born a slave in Louisa County, he worked in a Richmond tobacco factory and lived in a rented house. Then, in 1848, his wife, who was owned by another master and who was pregnant with their fourth child, was sold away to North Carolina, along with their children. Brown resolved to escape from slavery and enlisted the help of a free black and a white slaveowner, who conspired to ship him in a box to Philadelphia. In March 1849 the package was accepted there by a leader of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. As a free man, Brown lectured across New England on the evils of slavery and participated in the publication of the Narrative of Henry Box Brown (1849). In 1850, a moving panorama, Henry Box Brown’s Mirror of Slavery, opened in Boston.”

When Harry Box Brown was shipped in the box, he almost died. He said he “was resolved to conquer or die,” even as “I felt my eyes swelling as if they would burst from their sockets; and the veins on my temples were dreadfully distended with pressure of blood upon my head.”

Henry Box Brown

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