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Civil War  |  Historic Site

Anthony Burns

Virginia

River Rd (at Historic Port of Falmouth Park)
Falmouth , VA 22450
United States

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Anthony Burns
A bust portrait of the twenty-four-year-old Anthony Burns Library of Congress

Anthony Burns (1834-1862) was born into slavery near here. In 1854 Burns escaped from Richmond to Boston. His owner demanded his 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 increased abolitionist sentiment across the North, with an abolitionist dubbing the affair “the New Crime Against Humanity.” Antislavery activists, including African American Bostonians, freed Burns through purchase in 1855, after which he attended Oberlin College. He became a minister and died in Canada West (later Ontario) in 1862.

Marker: E-133, Virginia Department of Historic Resources (2012)