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Who Claims Me
Transcript of Who Claims Me
Benjamin Lay was a white Quacker and a radical abolitionist in the early to mid 1700s. He was one of the first to openly speak against many social institutions including slavery, capital punishment, and the prison system. He used radical methods to get his opinion across like when he dressed up as a black man and went to a Quaker meeting, and proceeded to whip the leaders to show them how the slaves felt. Due to his actions Benjamin Lay’s legacy continued to inspire abolitionists for many generations to come.
The only option for a slave was to die in slavery or die trying to escape to freedom. Many slaves tried to escape using the underground railroad. At the pinical of this was Boston. Boston was a small glimmer of freedom for fugtive slaves. There you could find the groups of white and black abolitionists who would risk their lives for the freedom of the former slaves. Thomas Sims was an ex slave who had escaped from slavery in Georgia and fled to Boston to live as a free man. He was later arrested under the fugitive slave law which led to an incredibly heated court trial. Thomas was eventually convicted and sent back to Georgia even with strong abolitionist protest, this court hearing became known as the “Sims Tragedy.” As more and more slaves escaped the more slave owners tried to stop them. Many slave owners offered high cash rewards for the return of their slaves which led to more and more people trying to catch runaways for profit. Many blacks were falsely accused of being ex slaves just so the slave hunters could make a profit. Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery
Although blacks were still not treated as equals in Boston, Boston had a large group of the population that would take the side of the former slaves. Things like harassing the slave catchers or warning the town of warrants or arrests occurred numerous amounts of time. There were many groups and individuals waiting for run-away slaves if they made it to Boston. Houses had secret rooms, stores and shops had hiding places, there were many places that they were willing to hide slaves. Here are some examples of what happened to some of the slaves in Boston and what actions were taken to prevent the fugitive slaves to returning to a life of slavery.