How a married slave couple escaped slavery

How a married slave couple escaped slavery
Ellen Craft, his fair-skinned black wife,
pretended to be her husband’s master.

From a story in Smithsonian magazine:

As a child, Ellen, the offspring of her first master and one of his biracial slaves, had frequently been mistaken for a member of his white family. Much annoyed by the situation, the plantation mistress sent 11-year-old Ellen to Macon to her daughter as a wedding present in 1837, where she served as a ladies maid. Ellen and William married, but having experienced such brutal family separations despaired over having children, fearing they would be torn away from them. "The mere thought," William later wrote of his wife’s distress, "filled her soul with horror."

Pondering various escape plans, William, knowing that slaveholders could take their slaves to any state, slave or free, hit upon the idea of fair-complexioned Ellen passing herself off as his mastera wealthy young white man because it was not customary for women to travel with male servants…

Read the article: The Great Escape From Slavery of Ellen and William Craft. Passing as a white man traveling with his servant, two slaves fled their masters in a thrilling tale of deception and intrigue. Smithsonian>>

Read the book they wrote: Running a thousand miles for freedom, William and Ellen Craft, Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library>>

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