Henry Box Brown
Henry Box Brown
Henry Box Brown was an 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 to abolitionists in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After his escape to the north, the man called himself Henry "Box" Brown, attended Harvard University, and published a memoir, A Life in Slavery and Freedom. The box that Brown was shipped in was 3 feet long by 2 feet 8 inches deep by 2 feet wide and displayed the words "dry goods" on it. It was lined with baize, a coarse woolen cloth, and he carried only a small portion of water and a few biscuits. There was a single hole cut for air and it was nailed and tied with straps. Brown later wrote that his uncertain method of travel was worth the risk: "if you have never been deprived of your liberty, as I was, you cannot realize the power of that hope of freedom, which was to me indeed, an anchor to the soul both sure and steadfast."
During the trip, which began on March 29, 1849, Brown's box was transported by wagon, railroad, steamboat, wagon again, railroad, ferry, railroad, and finally delivery wagon, being completed in 27 hours. Despite the instructions on the box of "handle with care" and "this side up," several times carriers placed the box upside-down or handled it roughly. Brown remained still and avoided detection.
Brown's escape highlighted the power of the mail system, which used a variety of modes of transportation to connect the East Coast. The Adams Express Company, a private mail service founded in 1840, marketed its confidentiality and efficiency. It was favored by abolitionist organizations and "promised never to look inside the boxes it carried."
In short, “what can brown do for you?”
(S): 8.5x11 in
(M) 24x36 in
(L) 30x40 in
(XL) 60x40 in
Printed on High Quality Archival Metallic Paper
Hand signed and numbered.
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