Mar 17, 2012

Freedom’s Gardener: James F. Brown, Horticulture, and the Hudson Valley in Antebellum America

(Andrea Wulf) In August 1827, a 33-year-old slave named James F. Brown ran away from a plantation in Maryland. Before he escaped, he wrote a letter explaining his actions and vowed that once he had earned enough money he would reimburse his owner, Susan Williams, to prove “that I dont mean to be dishonest but wish to pay her every cent that I think my Servaces is worth.” Brown’s letter reveals much about his character. He was orderly and moderate. He hated to do something that was “criminal” but felt he had no choice. His had not been a hasty or unreasonable decision. He was only taking the freedom that had rightfully been given by his previous master, who had promised it before his death. Continued