Anthony Burns, 1855


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Image Reference
NW0215

Source
Published in Boston (1855); see Comments (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62- 90750)

Comments
Engraving of Burns, surrounded by scenes depicting different phases of his life, including (from lower left), the purchase of the young Burns at auction, a whipping post with bales of cotton, his arrest in Boston in 1854, his escape from Richmond on board a ship, his removal from Boston, his address to the court, and Burns in prison. Burns was born a slave in Virginia in 1824. In 1854 he escaped to Boston where he was arrested soon after his arrival under terms of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act; although abolitionists tried to liberate him he was returned to his master in Virginia. His freedom was purchased by members of a Boston church in 1855; he returned to Boston, ultimately attending Oberlin college and becoming a clergyman. He died in 1862. A different portrait of Burns also appears on the title page of a pamphlet, "The Boston Slave Riot, and Trial of Anthony Burns" (Boston, 1854 [see LC-USZ62-90720]). See also Virginia Hamilton, Anthony Burns: the defeat and triumph of a fugitive slave (New York, 1997).