Henry "Box" was sly as a "Fox"


Henry “Box” Brown

Henry Brown was a enslaved on a Virginia plantation, and while many slaves had managed to escape the plantation, how Brown escaped would set him apart. It was a story that illustrated defiance as well as overwhelming creativity. Brown had a family with four kids but was never allowed to live with them. Thus, like in any other story, the protagonist had a motivation that fueled his actions that would create a popular slave narrative. After his family was sold to a plantation in North Carolina, Brown became determined to escape from the shackles of slavery. Brown came up with a plan that would ensure he got to Philadelphia as slavery had been abolished in this region. The odds were stacked against his escape, but Brown defied these challenges.

To escape, he knew that he needed help from his friends so that he could ship himself as cargo. Henry might have been labeled “fox” instead of “box,” as this was a genius move from the former slave. This escape was quite creative, but the individual had to be resilient as he was locked in the box for 27 hours. This meant that he was deprived of air and food, as he could only breathe out of a single air hole made in the box. Even though there was a failure to replicate this escape, it does inspire that one can achieve anything through smart thinking and sheer will. Brown would develop his escape into a show, and through this, he was able to bring attention to the evil of slavery. In one of his stage acts in later years, he would emerge from his original box, which illustrated the steps that he had taken to achieve freedom. This was a subtle means of escape, and anyone with less will than Brown might not have been patient enough to conquer such feat.

T-shirt available at historybeforeus.com