Henry “Box” Brown, The Valentine First Freedom Center

Henry “Box” Brown – An Abolitionist Who Mailed Himself From Richmond, Virginia To Philadelphia, Pennslyvania To Secure His Freedom

In 1815, Henry Brown was born into slavery at the Hermitage Plantation in Louisa County, Virginia. Up until his teenage years, Henry Brown did work on the fields within the plantation.

Photograph of the Hermitage Plantation in 2011.

In 1830, Henry Brown was sent to work in Richmond, a year before the events of Nat Turner’s Rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia. In 1849, Henry Brown mailed himself, in a 3 foot long and 2 and a half foot tall box, onwards to freedom into the city of Philadelphia. Once out of the box, earned the nickname of Henry “Box” Brown and sung a bible verse to celebrate his freedom. As a free man, Henry Brown spoke out, as an abolitionist, and became part of the “Underground Railroad”. However, due to the United States Congress’s passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, Henry Brown relocated to Great Britain so that he could not be re-enslaved in Virginia.

The replica of the wooden box, that Henry Brown had once stayed in, is located at “The Valentine First Freedom Center” in Richmond, Virginia.

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