Henry Box Brown

Henry Box Brown


Henry Box Brown was a 19th-century Virginia slave who escaped to freedom at the age of 33 by arranging to have himself mailed in a wooden crate in 1849.


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For a short time, Henry Brown became a noted abolitionist speaker in the northeast United States. As a public figure and fugitive slave, Brown felt extremely endangered by the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which increased pressure to capture escaped slaves. He moved to England and lived there for 25 years, touring with an anti-slavery panorama, becoming a magician and showman.

Brown married and started a family with an English woman, Jane Floyd. This was Brown's second wife; his first wife, Nancy, had been sold by her slave owner. Brown returned to the United States with his English family in 1875, where he continued to earn a living as an entertainer. He toured and performed as a magician, speaker, and mesmerist until at least 1889. The last decade of his life (1886–97) was spent in Toronto, where he died in 1897.


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