Henry “Box” Brown (c. 1816 – 6/15/1897)
Henry Brown earned the nickname “Box” when, at the age of 33, he escaped slavery from Virginia by mailing himself to the north via a wooden crate; aka a box. He shipped himself to the abolitions office in Philadelphia, PA in 1849.
He was married on the plantation of a Kind (his words not mine) slavemaster. He rented a modest home on the land where his wife and three children lived. Once the slaveowner sold his wife and children, Brown devised a plan to be free. With the help of a free Black and a White shoemaker, Brown shipped himself via Adams Express Company, known for its confidentiality and efficiency. It cost him $86 (out of $166 he acquired).
On the day of his escape, Brown purposely burned himself with sulfuric acid to the bone. He was placed in a 3ft long x 2 ft wide x 2ft 8in deep box that had the words “dry goods” written on it. A single hole was cut for air, other than that, the transportation mode was crude to say the very least. During his 27 hour travel, the box containing Brown was transported by wagon, railroad, steamboat, wagon again, railroad again, ferry, railroad again and finally the delivery wagon. On March 30, 1849 members of the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee received the box.
There was also a chance for Brown to obtain the legal rights and ownership of his wife and kids, which he declined. He later moved to England married a British woman.