1864

To have one’s heart outside of the body is to live the life of a parent.

Margaret Garner experienced the devastating realities of being a slave and mother of four in the 1800s.

In a tragic series of events her family made an attempt to escape the Kentucky plantation, but were surrounded by militia in Cincinnati. Desperately trying to make the best of the situation Margaret hid in the back room and attempted to save her children from a future of slavery.

In this case, she that mission was an attempt to end the lives of all four of her children, of which she was only successful with one.

How did we get here?

Increased pressures from Southern politicians led Congress to pass The Fugitive Slave Act, a part of the Compromise of 1850. This act required that slaves be returned to their owners, even if they were in a free state.

It also forcibly compelled citizens to assist in the capture of runaways, denying enslaved people the right to a jury trial and increased the penalty for interfering with the rendition process to $1,000 and six months in jail.

During this time the abolitionist, those fighting for the freedom of slaves, were framed as treasonous, terrible destroyers of the country.

But after 14 years of relentless fighting Congress repealed the act in 1864.

What lessons, perspective, or gratitude will you pull from the story of Margaret Garner?

What do you wish you could have told her before she left to the back room?

Perhaps, “Wait until 1864.”

Photo by Samuel PASTEUR-FOSSE on Unsplash

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