Henry Box Brown (1)

         § STORY SUBJECT:  All people have the right to be free.


Henry is free at last.

HENRY BROWN was a slave.  He was born in America when white people in the southern states of America “owned” black people and made them work for them. Slaves were not treated like people. They were not free. They had no rights. White people bought and sold slaves like buying animals.  It was an awful [terrible] time in America!

     Henry’s parents were slaves. His wife and children were slaves. But Henry said his “master” was not a bad man. He was kind to his slaves and did not hit or beat them.  He paid them money for their work.  Still, they were not free!  One day, when Henry was 33 years old, his master sold his wife and children to other slave owners.  It is hard to imagine [to think yourself] how terrible that was.  What would you do if your family was sold to other people and you would never see them again—or know how they were?  

     Henry knew he had to find a way to be free. He found white people to help him.  They were called “Abolitionists” [a-bo-LI-shun-ist].  Abolitionists were people who wanted slavery to end. Henry’s abolitionist friends built a wooden box just big enough for Henry to fit in, and mailed him to a state in the north where there was freedom for all people.  The journey took twenty-seven [27] hours.  On the box was written the words: “HANDLE WITH CARE” and “THIS SIDE UP”.  

     The box was first put on a wagon, then on a train, then on a boat, then on another wagon, another train, and finally on one last wagon to freedom.  Many times the box was turned so Henry was on his head!  But he never cried out [he never made a sound].  When he finally arrived and white friends opened the box, the first thing he did was say a prayer.  After 33 long years, Henry was free.  His name became Henry Box Brown.  He spent the rest of his life working to end slavery.    

    Sadly, there are more than 30 million (30,000,000) slaves all over the world today.  Most of the slaves are women, children and minorities [a small group of people who are different in some way from most of the people in a country].  Slavery is still a problem we must end.  All people have the right to be free.

     Q. Why is there still slavery today?  How do you think it can be stopped?

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