Fugitive Slave Anthony Burns Arrested

In 1854, Anthony Burns was arrested in Boston. His capture upset black and white abolitionists. Two days after his arrest, a number of them attacked the federal courthouse with a battering ram hoping to free Burns. After the trial, Burns was ordered to be returned to slavery. He was the last fugitive slave to be arrested in Boston and returned to his “owner.”

The Fugitive Slave Act passed in September 1850, and gave slave owners the right to seize runaway slaves by presenting sworn testimony proving ownership. The law increased anti-slavery sentiment among Northerners. Vigilance committees were formed to aid fugitive slaves, and some of the abolitionists turned to civil disobedience.

Burns was returned to Virginia to his owner but his freedom was bought after one of the Boston’s black Baptist churches travelled south and purchased his freedom with $1300.

Source: Fugitive Slave Anthony Burns Arrested
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