Escaping Slavery: The Story of Harriet Jacobs & the Craft Family (Part 2)

0 Posted by - August 28, 2021 - BLACK FAMILY, BLACK WOMEN, LATEST POSTS

Photo credits: The Granger Collection

Black people who were enslaved back during early American history were able to escape from slavery. 

They had enough courage to try out numerous ways to escape from the life of slavery. Black slaves attempted to gain freedom even though their plan of escape was not supposed to work out. In the article, “The Great Escape from Slavery of Ellen and William Craft” by Marian Smith Holmes, the author refers to the married couple, Ellen and William Craft. The Crafts were from Georgia and they ingeniously escaped from slavery in 1848. 

Holmes mentions the following:

“One of the most ingenious escapes was that of a married couple from Georgia, Ellen and William Craft, who traveled in first-class trains, dined with a steamboat captain, and stayed in the best hotels during their escape to Philadelphia and freedom in 1848.”

Ellen was from a quadroon background and had a fair skin tone. Although she is from a quadroon background, she disguised herself as a mummy in the resemblance of a white invisible man. She then boarded a train with her husband and traveled to Philadelphia. Throughout the four-day trip, Ellen concealed her race, her gender, and her social status. 

When they finally got to their last destination, a suspicious railroad employee denied allowing William to board the train. He was not going to be allowed to go to Philadelphia without having any proof that he belonged to Ellen. Luckily, the conductor of the train was there to convince the railroad employee to let them, board – so he did. 

In December of 1848, the Crafts safely arrived in Philadelphia the next morning after finally escaping slavery.


Jacobs, Harriet. “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.”

Hanton, Alex. The 5 Most Badass Ways People Escaped from Slavery

Holmes, Marian. The Great Escape From Slavery of Ellen and William Craft

North Carolina History Project. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl – North Carolina History Project

Why did slaves run away? – Pathways to Freedom | About the Underground Railroad. Why did

slaves run away?

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