William Parker was a former slave an anti-slavery activist from Roedown Plantation in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
The events at Christiana (Christiana incident (or riot), 1851) resulted in the death of a Maryland slaveowner, Edward Gorsuch.These events also brought the attention of the country to the perils and challenges of attempting to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.
William Parker was renowned in the area for his activism against slavery and his bravery in the protection of his and other blacks’ civil and political rights. He assisted many runaway slaves and was one of many people in the area involved in the underground railroad. It was his boldness and leadership in the resistance at his house in Christiana that sparked the events that day; although it was many years before history began to reflect his role in the events. The “riot” had been largely attributed to the leadership of white Quakers; who were from most accounts largely there in support of their black neighbors’ plight and not openly engaged in the resistance.
CHRISTIANA RIOT: On September 11, 1851 a slaveholder from Maryland, Edward Gorsuch, came bearing a warrant to recover his slaves. Gorsuch had information that his slaves were at Parker’s farmhouse. Parker had received intelligence that Gorsuch, a federal marshal and others were on their way to his farmhouse.
When Gorsuch arrived, Parker and his cohorts were prepared. Eliza, Parker’s wife, sounded a horn alerting neighbors that slave catchers were out and that help was needed. Both sides were resolute in their determination to prevail – Parker convinced of the immorality of slavery – Gorsuch confident in the law and his right to own slaves. There are conflicting stories of why and how the shooting started but in the end Gorsuch was dead and his son (Dickinson) severely wounded.
Read about the aftermath and legacy of this riot at: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=633618223475927&substory_index=0&id=101575520013536