Box Brown Imports is affectionately named after
Henry "Box" Brown
Born a slave in Virginia in 1815, Henry Brown worked in a tobacco factory and was separated from his wife, who was a slave, on a neighboring plantation. In 1848, his wife and children were sold to a plantation in North Carolina. Henry “Box” Brown resolved to escape slavery, and with the help of a fellow church member, had himself shipped in a box from Richmond, VA. to Philadelphia, PA. The box was 3’ long, 2’ wide, 2’8” tall, and had a small hole for air. The box was strapped and nailed shut and labeled “dry goods, this side up.”
The box traveled by a variety of wagons, railroads, steamships, and ferries before being delivered to the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society. In 1849, Henry Brown had artists build a moving panorama about slavery which he used in a show called “Mirror of Slavery.” With the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, he fled to England. Brown returned to the United States in 1875 and performed as a magician using the original box.
To learn more about Henry “Box” Brown
read his autobiography.