Today's Articles

People, Locations, Episodes

Thu, 09.11.1851

The Christiana Riot Occurs

On this date in 1851, the Christiana Resistance occurred, a race riot that was the first recorded open resistance to the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law.

A group of Blacks routed a band of slave catchers attempting to re-enslave escaped slaves in Christiana, PA. This incident happened at the home of William Parker, an escaped slave.  One white was killed and one wounded. Afterward, there was a great public outcry from the North and South.

Frederick Douglass viewed the violence at Christiana as having a special moral and political significance because the event was evidence of black strength. This episode exhibited Violent resistance, Black courage, and determination on a national stage.  White southern editors expressed anger and shock.

Both positions had intense opinions about slavery in America in the years before the American Civil War.



Beyond Confederation:
Origins of the Constitution and American National Identity.
Richard Beeman, Stephen Boorstein,
and Edward C. Carter, II, eds.
Chapel Hill, NC:
University of North Carolina Press, 1987.

Reclamation of Fugitives from Service:
An Argument for the Defendant,
Salmon Portland Chase,
Submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, at the December Term, 1846, in the case of Wharton Hones vs. John Vanzandt 1847.
Freeport, NY:
Books for Libraries Press, 1971.

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Sitting here alone, in peace With my private sadness Bared of the acquirements Of the mind’s eye Vision reversed, upended, Seeing only the holdings Inside the walls of me, Feeling the roots that bind me, To this... PRIVATE SADNESS by Bob Kaufman.
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