Henry Box Brown’s narrative of his self-liberation was sensational when it was first published, and it remains an extraordinary account today. With the help of abolitionists in Virginia and Philadelphia, Brown arranged to have himself shipped to a Pennsylvania port in a three-by-two-foot wooden crate, bored with three holes to enable him to breathe. After twenty-seven hours and over 350 miles by wagon, rail, boat, and ferry, he eventually made his way to deliverance.
But Brown’s memoir is more than a story of endurance and escape. It also offers a first-hand account of the brutal realities of slavery, a meditation on the religious hypocrisies it exposed, and a stark record of the personal losses Brown suffered as a result—which eventually culminated in his desperate plot for freedom.
Revised edition: Previously published as Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown, Written by Himself, this edition of Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown, Written by Himself (AmazonClassics Edition) includes editorial revisions.