OnMarch 30, 1849, a group of white men in Philadelphia breathlessly opened a wooden crate, carefully prying open the slats. Inside, was a black man. He was Henry Brown, a Virginia slave, who by unlikely and clever means had just completed a 27-hour journey. Brown had shipped himself to freedom.
In a custom-made box—three feet and one inch long, two feet wide, and two and a half feet deep— Brown had endured 350 miles of rough and painful carriage by way of numerous steamships, trains, and wagons.