She Hid Her Gender To Escape Slavery

A boy holding a casket
Shonda Buchanan
September 30, 2020

She’d watched her brothers sold down South. Her father had managed to purchase her mother and sister’s freedom – but the evil slave trader refused to sell her. 

What were his plans for Anna Maria Weems?

Everyone knew what could happen to an enslaved girl. White neighbors and free Blacks offered to buy her; he flatly refused. Instead, he made her sleep beside his bed to keep her close.

She began planning, and one anguish-filled night, she finally slipped out under the cover of night. Enraged, he put a $500 bounty on her head!

The Underground Railroad hid her first in the Black community, then at the home of a white doctor in the Washington, DC area. But slave catchers were everywhere.

When the slave catchers stopped showing up, and winter began, the doctor gave her a pair of breeches, a boy’s shirt and hat. In front of the White House, dressed as a boy, she swung up on the doctor’s horse-drawn carriage as the “coachman.” At every stop, she nearly fainted from tense nerves. 

Did anyone suspect her dangerous ruse?

No! She made it to her aunt and uncle in Canada.

When faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, we sometimes have to get creative to overcome it. How are you using creativity to overcome racism?

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