Slavery

No Small Feat–A Daring Civil War Escape

In the very early hours of May 13, 1862, a slave named Robert Smalls decided to make his move. Smalls had worked his way up to becoming a wheelman--a pilot--and the Confederates used him to...

The Devil’s Half Acre

Lumpkin's Jail: One of the Most Notorious Sites in the South Samuel kept his eye out for the red flag, which announced that a slave auction was in progress, drawing people like flies. If he found...

The Ohio Underground

Canton, Ohio, Embraces The Disappearing Man There's something about Ohio. Cincinnati, Ohio, is home of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, where I first discovered the story of Henry "Box" Brown and his incredible escape from...

The Strange Worlds of Ellen and Eliza

Take a good look at the two women pictured here. They were half-sisters, but they lived in two entirely different worlds. One was the other's slave. Ellen and Eliza had the same father, Major James P....

What Was the Real Lincoln League?

Timothy Webster, the most famous spy during the first year of the Civil War, first encountered the Lincoln League when he was taken to a secluded hideout in the woods. He was taken there...

Henry and Nancy

Canton Actors Bring a Remarkable Couple to Life When a friend first approached Roslyn Pratt about playing Nancy Brown in the Canton film production of The Disappearing Man, her first reaction was "Oh no, you...

Henry ‘Box’ Brown on CBS

Happy Henry Day! This week marks the 166th anniversary of Henry Brown's amazing escape from slavery. On March 23, 1849, Henry Brown was sealed inside a wooden box, 3 feet by 2 feet by 2-1/2...

Frederick Douglass: ‘A War Upon the Immortal Spirit’

Frederick Douglass, the famed orator and abolitionist, saw his life change in one afternoon in 1833. Learn about his incredible battle with an overseer--a struggle that changed a slave into a man, he said. Click...

Ellen’s Disguise

Jennifer Goran, a Champaign actress, did her first presentation this past week as Ellen Craft, the slave who escaped in 1848 by posing as a white man. Jennifer did a marvelous job bringing Ellen...

Crossing the Jordan–in Ohio

To many abolitionists, the Ohio River was the North's Jordan River, providing access to the Promised Land. The Ohio River was the dividing line between North and South, making it an important crossing point for...