Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Henry "Box" Brown

Have you read the story of Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levin and illustrated by Kadir Nelson?  This is one of the many captivating and emotional stories that we are reading this month.  It is the story of Henry Brown's ingenious escape to freedom. 
Henry Brown was born a slave and lived with his mother working in their master's house until the age of about 10 (Henry did not know exactly how old he was), when he was given to his master's son.  At that point he worked in a tobacco factory until he was a young man.  Eventually, he met a young woman and was given permission to marry her.  They lived together and had three children.  One day a friend came to Henry with some horrifying news that motivated Henry to make a critical decision.  He needed to decide how to make his escape to freedom.  A random crate would give him the perfect idea to join the ranks of having one of the most infamous escapes to freedom in (American) slavery history.
Henry "Box" Brown escaped from Virginia to Philadelphia in 1849 in his freedom box.  The account of Henry's escape is recounted in "The Underground Railroad" by William Still, first published in 1872.  The illustration above is the lithograph created by Samuel Rowse in 1850, which inspired the incredible artwork by Kadir Nelson for this book.

A must read in my opinion, it's not only informative but moving, and it truly encompasses the emotions of  heart-break and triumph of Henry "Box" Brown's story.

I hope you're having an informative and enlightening Black History Month!

Claudea B. 


1 comment:

Nicki Woo said...

Oh wow. I haven't read this. I'm getting it stat. Thanks for the review.

I'm your newest follower.