This Freedom Heist Made Black History

Slave auction
Via Picryl
Leslie Taylor-Grover
March 25, 2021

Eliza Smalls and Polly Ann Bates stood facing the judge while their lawyer pleaded their cases. The Fugitive Slave Act meant these free women might end up enslaved.

“GO! GO! GO!” A cry came from the back of the room. Suddenly, the Black woman who scrubbed floors grabbed a guard! Confusion enveloped the room.

A group of Black people bum-rushed the courtroom, grabbed the two women, and ran out. The other women wrestled the law enforcement officers, but suddenly they ran out, too! What happened next is nothing next to incredible.

All of the Black people created distractions and confused the racists. Meanwhile, Smalls and Bates were whisked into a waiting carriage! After all of this commotion, the big question is – did they get away?

YES! Not only did they get away, but they were never caught. On top of that, not a single Black person was blamed, terrorized, or captured in place of the women! The best part is that the white sheriff got in trouble for not being able to stop the commotion!

Our people weren’t about to see two Black women face the injustice of having their freedom stolen by racists – they defended Black women against oppression, and they won. We have EVERY right to defend ourselves against injustice. When we do, we win!

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