Thursday, 24 February 2011

BOOK REVIEWS ~ Henry's Freedom Box ~ Quiz and Vocabulary Worksheet

Ellen Levine's picture book
Imagine being a slave.  Your wife and children have been sold and you are left to work long hours in a tobacco factory.  In deep despair and in utter desperation to gain your freedom, you enlist the help of two friends and decide to "mail yourself" in a wooden crate.  That's what Henry Brown did, back in 1849.

Joyous moments as Henry is let out of the box
Henry spent 27 hours in transit from Richmond, Virginia to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - a distance of about 350 miles.  This illustration, by Kadir Nelson, is a marvellous depiction of the joy as the wooden box containing Henry is opened at the Anti-Slavery Office in Philiadelphia.  It was March 30, 1849 - Henry's first day of freedom.  Since he didn't know when his actual birthday was, Henry decided to adopt that date as his special day to celebrate.  He also received a middle name that day - as he soon became known as Henry "Box" Brown.

To accompany our reading of this book, on the Underground Railroad, I found some worksheets.

The first was a quiz, based on the contents of the book:

Page 1
Page 2
There was also a vocabulary page with the words:  vitriol, pry, warehouse, tobacco, beckoned, quilt, Masters and Slaves.

We also found another website with more information about what happened to Henry "Box" Brown after his escape to freedom.  Sadly, it appears he never was reunited with his wife and children.  However, he toured various places - even to England - lecturing on the evils of slavery.

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