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Audio Book ~ Self Liberated Blacks Dealt With The Fugitive Slave Law

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The Gist of Freedom

The Gist of Freedom


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Listen to the Audio Book Black Abolitionists, by Benjamin Quarles

In Chicago, the response to the new fugitive slave law was swift and dramatic. To protect its members from “being borne back to bondage,” the group created a vigilance committee consisting of a black police force of seven divisions; each division had six persons who were to patrol the city each night to watch for slave catchers.

On September 30, 1850, more than three hundred black Chicagoans gathered at Quinn Chapel. At the time, the city’s population was about 23,000 people (with only 378 blacks).

The Liberty Association's greatest moment came when members stormed the office of the justice of the peace and freed several fugitive slaves who were awaiting transport south. Thousands of Chicagoans gathered to watch and cheer the event -- a noble and unheralded milestone in Chicago history.