Anthony Burns

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Book Report
Sidney Watkins
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Title: Anthony Burns
Author: Virginia Hamilton
Pages: 186

Imagine being a slave during the time of the fugitive slave act. Would you run away or would you stay and continue being a slave? If you ran away and you ran to Massachusetts and your master found you would you run from him? The man in this story did, listen as I tell you the sad story of Anthony Burns.

Anthony burns was an educated slave that had a white father. His mother was a breeder which meant she had a baby every year. Anthony’s first master treated him like a sun early in the morning and gives him a horse ride. Anthony was very smart. One day his master threw him of his horse in mid air Tony did a somersault and landed on his hand and he flipped over.

At the age of nineteen, Anthony Burns escaped slavery in Richmond, traveling by ship to Boston in 1853. In Boston he worked for "Coffin Pitts, clothing dealer, no.36 Brattle Street." On May 24, 1854 he was discovered "while walking in Court Street" and arrested. As a hub of resistance toward the "slave power" of the South, many Bostonians reacted by attempting to free Burns. President Franklin Pierce made an example of the case to show he was willing to strongly enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. The show of force turned many New Englanders against slavery who had passively accepted its existence before.

On May 26, before Burns' court case, a crowd of abolitionists of both races, including Thomas Wentworth Higginson and other Bostonians outraged at Burns' arrest, stormed the court house to free the man. In the melee, Deputy U.S. Marshal James Batchelder was fatally stabbed, becoming the second Marshal to be killed in the line of duty. The police kept control of Burns, but the crowds of opponents, including such African-American abolitionists as Thomas James grew large. While the federal government sent US troops in support, numerous anti-slavery activists arrived in Boston to...
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