9:53 PM / Tuesday May 11, 2021

19 Feb 2021

The slave that packed himself in a box and mailed himself to freedom

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
February 19, 2021 Category: Diaspora Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Henry Box Brown, slave who mailed himself to freedom.


Henry “Box” Brown was born in 1815 as a slave in Louisa County, Virginia. Later, he and his family were sold to a plantation in North Carolina. In 1849, he became a free man by putting himself in a box and mailing himself to freedom.


Brown had the idea of shutting himself up in a box and getting himself conveyed as dry goods to a free state. To carry out his plan, he required the help of a fellow church choir member who was a free Black man, as well as a sympathetic white shoemaker, in order to aid with his passage to Philadelphia.

Brown folded himself in a wooden rectangle about 3-by-2 feet wide and 2.5 feet high with three small holes for air. His co-conspirators nailed the box shut and carried the box to the offices of the Adams Express Company. It was a very unfavorable 27-hour trip. “I felt a cold sweat coming over me that seemed to be warning that death was about to terminate my earthly miseries,” he once wrote.

When Brown finally arrived in Philadelphia, he was ferried to the office of a Quaker merchant and abolitionist. Afterward, he was nicknamed “Box,” and thereafter used the name Henry “Box” Brown. As a free man Brown was an anti-slavery lecturer and after the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 was passed, he moved to England, where became an actor and magician.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News


Black Women in Sport Foundation, Coeur Sport, and USA Triathlon announce inaugural Women’s Power Up Triathlon grant winners

May 7, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email  What do you call women role models with bucket lists? Triathletes.  Black Women...


Happy Mother’s Day to two great women

May 7, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email By Napoleon F. Kingcade Mother’s Day is a special day that gives honor...

Go With The-Flo

Meghan Markle has written her first children’s book called “The Bench”

May 7, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Meghan Markle (Photo: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock) By Florence Anthony Tongues...

Week In Review

Records: Ma’Khia Bryant’s sister sought help before shooting

May 7, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Mourners are seen wearing shirts with Ma’Khia Bryant’s picture as they...


Senior safety campaign in response to rising senior fire deaths

May 7, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT U.S. Fire Administration data shows since January, more than 285 older adults...


Why it’s never too early to make a long-term care plan

May 7, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email STATEPOINT Americans are living longer than ever before, and with continually rising health...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff