The Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown

The Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown

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Description

In 1849, Henry Brown escaped from slavery by shipping himself in a crate from Virginia to an anti-slavery office in Philadelphia. Over 27 hours and 350 miles later, he stepped out of his box to begin a new life. This is his memoir, originally published in England in 1851. The narrative paints a vivid portrait of life in slavery and describes one of the most audacious, creative escapes ever completed. With a keen sense of irony, Brown examines the "peculiar institution" from the hypocrisy of slave-owning Christian preachers, to the system of bribery that forced slaves to purchase rights to their own belongings, to the practice of separating slave families with no warning. Indeed, it was when his own wife and children were sold away that he became determined to escape and enlisted the help of a friend, who nailed him into a three-foot-by-two-foot wooden box. Travelling by railroad, car, steamboat and horse cart to the free state of Pennsylvania, Brown's unprecedented manner of arrival made him a public sensation in the North and a celebrity on the anti-slavery lecture circuit. His memoir conveys the unquenchable spirit of a hero who risked death rather than live as a slave.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 112 pages
  • 148.3 x 223.5 x 14.2mm | 276.7g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 6 line drawings
  • 0195148533
  • 9780195148534

Review quote

"Highly readable and moving in its blunt description of slavery and of Brown's experience of shipping himself to Philadelphia."--Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer"In the remarkable books that Brown left behind, horror serves not only as a surprisingly realistic medium through which to represent slavery, but also as a powerful means of resistance to it. The reader who steps into the the claustrophobic box occupied by Brown encounters an unforgettable reconstruction of the horror--slavery--upon which America itself was built."--Chicago Tribune"Compact, engrossing.... An important work that is necessary for all who wish to appreciate the bitter harvest of our 'peculiar institution' of slavery."--Booklist"A testament to ingenuity and fortitude.... An important and moving document."--Library Journal"What distinguishes Brown's book is its incredible, though brief and uninflected, conclusion, involving one of the most impressive escapes in American letters.... What can be said of Box Brown can be said of slave narratives in general: only by appreciating their confinement can we understand their liberation."--New Republic"Henry Box' Brown's daring escape from slavery is one of the great creative acts in the struggle for black freedom. This is his story."--Cornel West, Alphonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor, Harvard University"Richard Newman has performed a most outstanding and admirable service in restoring this rare and compelling text to a new generation of readers. Brown's story calls to mind in our own generation the determination to achieve democracy by oppressed people throughout the world. His story is just as relevant today as it was one hundred and fifty years ago."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University"This long-neglected autobiography by a self-liberated ex-slave casts new light not only on the breadth of black resistance, but on the very genre of slave narratives itself."--Jill Watts, Associate Professor of History, California State University, San Marcos, and author of Mae West: An Icon in Black and White "Highly readable and moving in its blunt description of slavery and of Brown's experience of shipping himself to Philadelphia."--Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer "In the remarkable books that Brown left behind, horror serves not only as a surprisingly realistic medium through which to represent slavery, but also as a powerful means of resistance to it. The reader who steps into the the claustrophobic box occupied by Brown encounters an unforgettable reconstruction of the horror--slavery--upon which America itself was built."--Chicago Tribune "Compact, engrossing.... An important work that is necessary for all who wish to appreciate the bitter harvest of our 'peculiar institution' of slavery."--Booklist "A testament to ingenuity and fortitude.... An important and moving document."--Library Journal "What distinguishes Brown's book is its incredible, though brief and uninflected, conclusion, involving one of the most impressive escapes in American letters.... What can be said of Box Brown can be said of slave narratives in general: only by appreciating their confinement can we understand their liberation."--New Republic "Henry Box' Brown's daring escape from slavery is one of the great creative acts in the struggle for black freedom. This is his story."--Cornel West, Alphonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor, Harvard University "Richard Newman has performed a most outstanding and admirable service in restoring this rare and compelling text to a new generation of readers. Brown's story calls to mind in our own generation the determination to achieve democracy by oppressed people throughout the world. His story is just as relevant today as it was one hundredand fifty years ago."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University "This long-neglected autobiography by a self-liberated ex-slave casts new light not only on the breadth of black resistance, but on the very genre of slave narratives itself."--Jill Watts, Associate Professor of History, California State University, San Marcos, and author of Mae West: An Icon in Black and White "Highly readable and moving in its blunt description of slavery and of Brown's experience of shipping himself to Philadelphia."--Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer "In the remarkable books that Brown left behind, horror serves not only as a surprisingly realistic medium through which to represent slavery, but also as a powerful means of resistance to it. The reader who steps into the the claustrophobic box occupied by Brown encounters an unforgettable reconstruction of the horror--slavery--upon which America itself was built."--Chicago Tribune "Compact, engrossing.... An important work that is necessary for all who wish to appreciate the bitter harvest of our 'peculiar institution' of slavery."--Booklist "A testament to ingenuity and fortitude.... An important and moving document."--Library Journal "What distinguishes Brown's book is its incredible, though brief and uninflected, conclusion, involving one of the most impressive escapes in American letters.... What can be said of Box Brown can be said of slave narratives in general: only by appreciating their confinement can we understand their liberation."--New Republic "Henry Box' Brown's daring escape from slavery is one of the great creative acts in the struggle for black freedom. This is his story."--Cornel West, Alphonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor, Harvard University "Richard Newman has performed a most outstanding and admirable service in restoring this rare and compelling text to a new generation of readers. Brown's story calls to mind in our own generation the determination to achieve democracy by oppressed people throughout the world. Hisstory is just as relevant today as it was one hundred and fifty years ago."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University "This long-neglected autobiography by a self-liberated ex-slave casts new light not only on the breadth of black resistance, but on the very genre of slave narratives itself."--Jill Watts, Associate Professor of History, California State University, San Marcos, and author of Mae West: An Icon in Black and White "Highly readable and moving in its blunt description of slavery and of Brown's experience of shipping himself to Philadelphia."--Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer"In the remarkable books that Brown left behind, horror serves not only as a surprisingly realistic medium through which to represent slavery, but also as a powerful means of resistance to it. The reader who steps into the the claustrophobic box occupied by Brown encounters an unforgettablereconstruction of the horror--slavery--upon which America itself was built."--Chicago Tribune"Compact, engrossing.... An important work that is necessary for all who wish to appreciate the bitter harvest of our 'peculiar institution' of slavery."--Booklist"A testament to ingenuity and fortitude.... An important and moving document."--Library Journal"What distinguishes Brown's book is its incredible, though brief and uninflected, conclusion, involving one of the most impressive escapes in American letters.... What can be said of Box Brown can be said of slave narratives in general: only by appreciating their confinement can we understand theirliberation."--New Republic"Henry Box' Brown's daring escape from slavery is one of the great creative acts in the struggle for black freedom. This is his story."--Cornel West, Alphonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor, Harvard University"Richard Newman has performed a most outstanding and admirable service in restoring this rare and compelling text to a new generation of readers. Brown's story calls to mind in our own generation the determination to achieve democracy by oppressed people throughout the world. His story is just asrelevant today as it was onehundred and fifty years ago."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University"This long-neglected autobiography by a self-liberated ex-slave casts new light not only on the breadth of black resistance, but on the very genre of slave narratives itself."--Jill Watts, Associate Professor of History, California State University, San Marcos, and author of Mae West: An Icon inBlack and Whiteshow more

About Henry Box Brown

Richard Newman is the Fellows and Research Officer at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard. He is the editor of Everybody Say Freedom: Everything You Need to Know About African-American History and Go Down, Moses: Celebrating the African-American Spiritual. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the W.E.B. DuBois Professor of the Humanities, Chair of Afro-American Studies, and Director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard. He is the author of The Signifying Monkey, Loose Canons, and Colored People, and the editor of The Oxford-Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers.show more

Rating details

107 ratings
3.65 out of 5 stars
5 15% (16)
4 42% (45)
3 36% (39)
2 7% (7)
1 0% (0)
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