Black History Month 2021 #1 – Henry Box Brown

Bradford Libraries are Proud To Be part of Black History Month 2021 and delighted to share some of the historical stories featured in the Black History Timeline for Bradford District.

The Black History Timeline showcases the long history of black people in our community and the contribution they have made to our society.

You can view the full timeline here:

Henry ‘Box’ Brown

The fascinating story of Henry ‘Box’ Brown is inspirational across the world.

Henry Box Brown was born in 1815 and enslaved on a plantation in Louisa County, Virginia.

In 1849 he escaped slavery to freedom by concealing himself in a wooden crate and arranging to have himself mailed to abolitionists in Philadelphia, enduring 27 hours of travel.

Brown became a noted abolitionist speaker and later toured the UK with his anti-slavery panorama to tell his story and help the abolitionist cause.

In 1851, Henry ‘Box’ Brown appeared to a crowded audience at the Mechanics’ Institute in Bradford for 5 nights, ‘depicting in a striking and painful manner, the abominations and horrors of slavery’. (Bradford Observer 8th May 1851)

He re-enacted his escape by having himself shipped from Bradford to Leeds where his arrival was greeted with a parade of music and banners throughout the central streets.

In 2009 to celebrate Black History Month this journey was re-enacted by artist Simeon Wayne Barclay who was transported in a box by van from Bradford Central Library before being unveiled in Leeds.

Simeon Wayne Barclay

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