Thursday, June 13, 2013

Femi Lewis of Anthony Burns was returned to Virginia under Fugitive Slave Act but Abolitionists Purchased his Freedom

American Treasures of the Library of Congress

This is a portrait of fugitive slave Anthony Burns (ca.1830-1862), whose arrest and trial in Boston under the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 incited riots and protests by white and black abolitionists and citizens of Boston in the spring of 1854. The portrait is surrounded by scenes from his life, including his sale on the auction block, escape from Richmond, Virginia, capture and imprisonment in Boston, and his return to a vessel to transport him to the South. Within a year after his capture, abolitionists were able to raise enough money to purchase Burns's freedom.

Femi Lewis told AfriClassical of her piece on Anthony Burns.  His picture and additional details are part of American Treasures of the Library of Congress

Anthony Burns

By , Guide

May 31, 2013
When Anthony Burns experienced freedom, he knew that it was something he would always desire and be willing to fight for. In March of 1854, he escaped from enslavement by boarding a ship headed for Boston. But his freedom would be short lived through the Fugitive Slave Act. Two months later, in May 1854, he was arrested and put on trial for being a fugitive slave. Although his lawyers, which included Robert Morris Sr. , fought for Burns' right to freedom, he was sent back to Virginia. But it was the work of abolitionist groups that would later purchase Burns from a slave owner and help fund his education that make his story so meaningful. 

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