Anthony Burns was born into slavery near here. In 1854, Burns escaped from Richmond to Boston. His owner demanded Burns’s rendition under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Burns’s arrest on 24 May 1854 inspired abolitionists to attempt his rescue, but 1,500 troops escorted Burns aboard a revenue cutter to return him to Virginia. The episode greatly increased abolitionist sentiment across the North, with a prominent abolitionist dubbing the affair “the New Crime Against Humanity.” Supporters later freed Burns through purchase in 1855, after which he attended Oberlin College. He became a minister and died in Upper Canada in 1862.
Original Sponsor: Department of Historic Resources
Geographic Location: Stafford County
Physical Description of Location: Proposed Location - Waterfront Park, Falmouth
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