<Go back to the Topics Index results>


THE RESURRECTION OF HENRY BOX BROWN AT PHILADELPHIA, Who escaped from Richmond Va. in a Box 3 feet long 2 1/2 ft. deep and 2 ft wide.
   
Complete Explanation:
A somewhat comic yet sympathetic portrayal of the culminating episode in the flight of slave Henry Brown "who escaped from Richmond Va. in a Box 3 feet long, 2-1/2 ft. deep and 2 ft. wide." In the office of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, the young Brown emerges from a crate as several figures, including Frederick Douglass (holding a claw hammer at left) look on.

A similar lithograph with the same title, giving a slightly different version of the scene, was drawn on stone by Peter Kramer and printed by Thomas Sinclair of Philadelphia. (An impression is in the collection of the Library Company of Philadelphia.) Details of Brown's escape, whereby he had himself shipped via Adams Express from Richmond to Philadelphia, were widely publicized in a narrative of his ordeal published under his own name in 1849. The box itself became an abolitionist metaphor for the inhumanity and spiritual suffocation of slavery. It is shown on an undated broadside published in Boston (Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Broadside Collection, portfolio 65, no. 16).


Website design 2010 HarpWeek, LLC
All Content 1998-2010 HarpWeek, LLC
Please submit questions to webmaster@harpweek.com