Henry Box Brown

From Slavery to Show Business


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About the Book

Henry Box Brown is well known in America for escaping slavery by being packed in a box and mailed from Virginia to Philadelphia. The passing of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 made it unsafe for Brown to remain in America. He relocated to England where he had a very successful career, initially as a speaker on abolitionism before he began speaking on other subjects and then branched out into other forms of entertainment, including magic. He married Jane Floyd, who, with their children, appeared in his acts.
This book concentrates on the relatively unknown period of his life in Britain, detailing both how he was received and how he developed as a performer. It is the biography of a brave, intelligent individualist who was always willing to learn and to take chances, becoming the first black man to achieve landmarks in British law and entertainment.

About the Author(s)

Kathleen Chater is an independent scholar. She has written numerous books, articles and reviews on a wide range of historical topics. She lives in London.

Bibliographic Details

Kathleen Chater
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 267
Bibliographic Info: 22 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7922-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3943-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
A Note on the Name vi
Preface 1
Prologue 9
Act 1: Liberty 31
Scene 1: A New Land, a New Life 31
Scene 2: Wolverhampton, 1852 59
Scene 3: New Directions 80
Act 2: Partnership 95
Scene 4: Love in the West Country 95
Scene 5: More New Directions 111
Act 3: Magic 145
Scene 6: Goodbye to Enslavement 145
Scene 7: A Home in Manchester 172
Epilogue 185
Appendix: Timeline of Henry Box Brown’s Life 201
Notes 229
Bibliography 249
Index 255