Their Audacious Rescue Saved A Life And Inspired Activists

Enslaved person kidnapped poster in Boston 1851
Shonda Buchanan
March 3, 2021

As soon as Charles Henry Langston and his friends heard the news, they rushed out into the humid night. This trip would be dangerous – but EVERYTHING was at stake.

John Price, a man who’d escaped slavery, had just been caught by whites in Ohio and forced on a wagon destined for the South – so he could be re-enslaved. But Ohio was a free state! Langston had to act fast.

He and 36 other abolitionists pursued the wagon carrying Price, surrounded the hotel where the man was being kept – then rushed it, fought the slave catcher, and escorted the man back to free territory!

Of course, they were arrested.

What happened next could jeopardize everything they’d fought for as free Blacks. Still, Langston mounted a passionate, eloquent defense, decrying slavery and its horrors and refusing to apologize!

Langston was sentenced to 20 days in prison – but was regaled as a hero. His fierce defense galvanized a call for the repeal of the heinous Fugitive Slave Act.

Charles continued fighting our equality and our freedom every day of his life. Like him, we must fight to free our people by any means necessary and create a lasting legacy of liberation!

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