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Enslaved Africans Attempt Escape in Washington, D.C.; Later Captured and Punished | Equal Justice Initiative

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Enslaved Africans Attempt Escape in Washington, D.C.; Later Captured and Punished | Equal Justice Initiative

U.S. Slavery, Escaped Slaves, Escape from the Pearl, American History, African American History, Black History, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN, KINDR'D, Magazine, KINDR'D, Willoughby Avenue, Wriit,

On Sunday, April 16, 1848, at least seventy-five black men, women, and children were aboard a sixty-four-foot cargo ship nicknamed the Pearl, trying to escape enslavement in the Washington, D.C. area. They set off one day before, because Saturday was a traditional day of rest for enslaved people and the two white abolitionists who charged the ship — Daniel Drayton and Edward Sayres — reasoned the escape would not be detected for at least a day.

In mid-nineteenth century Washington, D.C., slavery was legal, pervasive, and a source of significant and growing tension. Abolitionists maintained a forceful presence in business and politics throughout the city and enslaved people escaping bondage in the nation’s capital often fled to Pennsylvania, a free state only eighty miles away.

By EJI Staff, EJI
Featured Image, Thinkstock
Full article @ EJI

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