The Deliverance of Henry 'Box' Brown
Center for Africana Studies
While The Narrative of Henry “Box” Brown has enjoyed a renewed interest in African American studies, few scholars have focused on the particular method of Brown’s escape from slavery to freedom—his overnight shipment by Adams Express from Richmond to Philadelphia—or the humor of his story. This paper argues that Brown’s initial celebrity is inextricably intertwined with public enthusiasm for rapid, reliable, and inexpensive mail delivery in antebellum America (notably in the abolitionist community) and with the daily comedy of the postman’s blindness to the contents of the mail.
antebellum, abolition, abolitionist, Henry 'Box' Brown, Henry Brown, African American, slavery, freedom, antebellum America