In 1857, a woman named Hannah Crafts escaped her owner by dressing up as a man and pretending to be white. She later wrote a book called The Bondwoman’s Narrative, but didn’t publish it. It was found years later in a New Jersey attic and was finally authenticated and published in 2002.
William Clark’s slave, York, was instrumental to the Lewis and Clark Expedition not only because of his strength and services to the corps, but because many Native American tribes regarded him as a God due to his black skin and showered him with gifts and praise.
Slaves were given redacted bibles so they would not read anything that could cause them to rebel. Most of the old testament and half of the new testament was omitted.
Roman slaves wore collars of iron with messages like a modern dog collar, for example this one, which reads “I have run away; hold me. When you shall have returned me to my master, Zoninus, you will receive a solidus”
Wealthy Ancient Greeks sometimes sent their slaves to sit on the public toilets (made from slabs of marble) to warm it up “in anticipation of their arrival”.
After escaping from slavery, an illiterate Harriet Tubman was spotted by a former master on a train. She decided to pick up a nearby newspaper and pretended to read it. The master ignored the black woman reading because he knew Tubman couldn’t read.
In 1861 a slave took over a confederate ship and delivered it to the Union. He was then given the ship to command during the Civil War.
A pollination technique invented by a 12 year old slave is the reason Vanilla is commonly available today.
A former Spanish slave named Yanga, led a group of slaves into the highlands in what is now Mexico and continuously fought of the Spanish for more than 30 years until they came to an agreement to establish the first true free town in the Americas in 1618.
In 1849, Henry “Box” Brown, a 33 year-old slave born in slavery, mailed himself to freedom in a 3’x2’x2’8″ (91x61x81cm) wooden crate. To get a day off, he burned his hand to the bone with sulfuric acid. Brown paid 86$ to be shipped from Richmond, Virginia to Philadelphia in 27 hours.
In 1681, a white woman married an African slave in colonial Maryland, even though she knew that doing so would condemn her to a life of slavery.
Harriet Tubman threatened death to escaping slaves if they wanted to turn back. “If he was weak enough to give out, he’d be weak enough to betray us all, and all who had helped us; and do you think I’d let so many die just for one coward man.”