Background • Born on May 31st, 1834 in Stanford Virginia • Born into slavery • His family was owned by the Suttle family of Virginia. • Worked as a personal servant, sawmill worker and tavern employee
His Escape • In March 1854, Burns escaped from his slave master in Virginia and boarded a ship to Boston. • When he arrived in Boston he found work for himself at a clothing store owned and operated by an abolitionist named Lewis Hayden • His freedom was shortly lived in a 2 month period when in May of 1854 he was arrested. • On May 24, 1854 he was arrested under the “Fugitive Slave Act” which was part of the “Compromise of 1850” as well as The Constitution which gave Law Enforcement Officers the right to use domestic violence once they track down slaves and find them in order to bring them back into custody.
Suffolk County Courthouse On May 26,1854, Lewis Hayden, Worcester, and Thomas W. Higginson who led the abolitionists to attack the Suffolk County Courthouse in order to free Burns. These actions caused the death of 1 marshal and the arrest of 13 people. Burns was sent to trial the next day where he was being represented by Richard Henry Dana Jr., a prominent white Boston attorney who chose to defend him without charge along with Robert Morris(African American attorney).
Burns returns to Virginia • On June 2nd, 1854 to ensure the judge’s order to return Burns to Virginia to his slave owners, about 2000 federal soldiers were assigned to escort Burns to a Boston dock . • Surrounded by soldiers, Burns was walked through an angry crowd of abolitionists on the way to the harbor where he was put on a ship returning him back to Virginia. • This didn’t stop Boston abolitionists to stop trying to liberate Burns from slavery, when Boston Baptist preacher Leonard A. Grimes led supporters in raising money to buy Burns’s freedom. • On February 22,1855 their efforts succeeded and Burns returned to Massachusetts a free man.
A Free Man • Later on Burns went to Ohio and attended Oberlin College • After that he spent time at a black Baptist Church as a pastor in Indianapolis. • He then moved to Canada where he became a pastor of St. Catharine’s Ontario Baptist Church.
Burns’s Death • Burns died on July 17, 1862 in Ontario Canada at the age of 28 due to an illness known as tuberculosis.
Anthony Burn’s Legacy • Burn’s legacy still remains in the history books today.