Henry's Freedom Box



welcome to teachers library I must add today we are going to read henry's freedombox a true story from the Underground Railroad written by Ellen Levine and illustrated by could be your Nelson Henry Brown wasn't sure how old he was Henry was a slave and slaves weren't allowed to know their birthdays Henry and his brothers and sisters worked in the big house where the master lived henry's master had been good to Henry and his family but Henry's mother knew things could change do you see those leaves blowing in the wind they are torn from the trees just like slave children are torn from their families one morning the master called for Henry and his mother they climbed the wide staircase the master lay in bed it was only his head above the quilt he was very ill he beckoned them to come closer some slaves were freed by their owners Henry's heart B fact maybe the master would set him free but the master said you are a good worker Henry I'm giving you to my son you must obey him and never tell a lie Henry nodded well he didn't say thank you that would have been a lie later that day Henry watched the birds soar high above the tree free bird happy bird Henry thought Henry said goodbye to his family he looked across the fields the leave swirled in the wind Hemme work in his new masters factory he was good at his job do not pair that tobacco leaf the boss yelled at the new boy he poked a boy with a stick if you made a mistake the boss would beat you Henry was lonely one day he met Nancy who was shopping for her mistress they walked and talked and agreed to meet again Henry felt like singing but plays didn't dare sing in the street and said he hummed all the way home months later Henry asked Nancy to be his wife when both of their masters agreed Henry and Nancy were married soon there was a little baby than another and another Henry knew they were very lucky they lived together even though they had different masters but Nancy was worried her master had lost a great deal of money I'm afraid he will sell our children she said Henry sat very still Henry worked hard all morning he tried to forget what Nancy had said his friend James came into the factory he whispered to Henry your wife and children were just fooled at the slave market no cried Henry Henry couldn't move he couldn't think he couldn't work twist that tobacco the boss poked Henry Henry twisted tobacco leaf took heart twisted in his chest at lunchtime Henry rushed to the center of the town a large group of slaves were tied together the owner shouted at them Henry looked for his family father father Henry watched his children disappear down the road where was Nancy he saw her the same moment she saw him when he wiped away his peers Nancy too was gone Henry no longer saying he couldn't hum he went to work and at night he ate supper and once a bed Henry tried to think of happy times but all he could see were the cards tearing away everyone he loved Henry knew he would never see his family again many weeks past one morning Henry heard singing a little bird flew out of a tree into the othor sky and Henry thought about being free but how as he lifted a crate he knew the answer he asked James and dr. Smith to help him dr. Smith was a white man who thought slavery was wrong they met early the next day at an empty warehouse Henry arrives the box I will mail myself to a place where there are no slaves he said James stared at the box the mat Henry what if you cost and someone hears you I will cover my mouth and hope Henry said dr. Smith wrote on the box to William Ace Johnson's artistry Philadelphia Pennsylvania Henry would be delivered to friends in Philadelphia then he printed on the crate in big letters this side up with care Henry needed an excuse to stay home or the work box would think he had run off James pointed to Henry's forefinger but Henry knew it wasn't bad enough he opened a bottle of oil vitriol No cried James Henry poured it on his hand it burned his skin to the bone now the box would have to let him stay home dr. Smith bandaged Henry's hand they arranged to meet the next morning at four o'clock the Sun was not yet up when Henry climbed into the box ready he said James nailed down the lid dr. Smith and James drove to the station the railway clerk picked the box over and nailed a paper to the bottom dr. Smith's begged the clerk's to be careful but they didn't listen they threw the box into the baggage car hours passed Henry was lifted up and thrown again upside down he heard waves splashing this must be the steamboat headed for Washington DC the ship rode smoothly but Henry was still upside down blood rushed to his head his face got hot his eyes ached he thought his head would burst but he was afraid to move someone might hear him I'm tired of standing someone said why don't we move that box and sit on it said another Henry held his breath could they be talking about his box Henry was pushed the Box scraped the deck now he was on his right side now on his left and suddenly right-side up what do you think is in here so the first man male I guess said the other I am male thought Henry but not the kind they imagined Henry was carried off the steamboat and placed in a railroad car this time head up he fell asleep to the rattling song of the Train meal he awoke to a loud knocking Henry are you all right in there all right he answered the cover was pried open Henry stretched and stood up four men smiled ahem welcome to Philadelphia at last Henry had a birthday March 30th 18-49 his first day of freedom and from that day on he also had a middle name everyone called him Henry box Brown B I hope you enjoyed reading Henry's freedom box with me today if you liked this video please subscribe to the channel and make sure to check our other wonderful story thank you for listening

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