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First Anniversary of the Kidnapping of Thomas Sims | by Boston Public Library
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First Anniversary of the Kidnapping of Thomas Sims

File name: 09_03_000058


Title: First Anniversary of the Kidnapping of Thomas Sims






Date created: April 9, 1852


Physical description: broadside


Summary: Thomas Sims (b. 1834) escaped from slavery in Georgia at age of 17 and made his way north in search of safety in Massachusetts. However, on April 4, 1851, Sims was arrested in Boston under the federal Fugitive Slave Law. Following a dramatic court trial, he was returned to his owner against the strong protests of local abolitionists.


The “kidnapping” of Thomas Sims by police was a cause célèbre for the active Boston anti-slavery community. Home of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and his anti-slavery newspaper The Liberator, Boston had become known world-wide as the nexus for the American abolition movement. This large broadside proclaims a commemoration of the first anniversary of the Sims arrest with an address by famous local abolitionist, the Reverend Theodore Parker.


The Boston Public Library is home to one of the largest collections of anti-slavery manuscripts in the country, totaling over 17,000 pieces from Parker and Garrison as well as other famous local abolitionists including Maria Weston Chapman, Lydia Maria Child, and Samuel May, Jr.


Location: Boston Public Library, Rare Books & Manuscripts Department


Rights: No known restrictions.


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Taken on October 9, 2009