25 Little Known Slavery Facts That’ll Make You Emotional

1Yasuke

Yasuke was a 16th century African who traveled to Japan as a slave. He caused such a sensation that a powerful warlord wished to see him. He thought his black skin was paint and ordered it to be scrubbed. However, they became friends and Yasuke was later given the prestigious rank of Samurai.


2Slaves

Only 388,000 slaves out of a total 12.5 million that crossed the Atlantic were sold in the US. The rest (10.7 million) went to Mexico and South America.


3Eunus

Eunus was a slave-magician who joked on the stage that he planned to overthrow Roman rule and become king of Sicily. He later led a huge slave uprising and kept his promise to spare the lives of those who left him tips.


4Jordan Anderson

When former slave Jordan Anderson was asked to come back and work for his old master, he replied with a deadpan letter asking for 52 years' back pay as proof of good faith. The letter has been described as a rare example of documented "slave humor" of the period.


5Abram Gannibal

Abram Gannibal was a black African-born Russian nobleman of the 18th century. Sold into slavery, he was eventually freed by Peter the Great and adopted into the Emperor's household as his godson. His great-great-grandson is the celebrated author and poet Alexander Pushkin.


6Elizabeth Freeman

In 1780, a slave named Elizabeth Freeman essentially ended slavery in Massachusetts by suing for her freedom on the basis that the new state constitution declared that all men are born free and equal.


7Pregnant slaves

Female slaves in the American South would chew on the cotton root to abort a pregnancy, decreasing the reproduction of more slave children.


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8Samuel McCulloch

Samuel McCulloch, a freed slave, was the first Texian soldier to be wounded during the Texas Revolution, in 1835. A law later prohibited freed slaves from residing in the Republic of Texas but specifically excluded McCulloch, his family, and his descendants in recognition of his service.


9Henry Brown

Henry "Box" Brown successfully escaped slavery in 1849 by mailing himself in a wood crate from Virginia to the free state of Pennsylvania.


10Bill Richmond

Bill Richmond was a black slave who fought alongside the British during the Revolutionary War. He later moved to England where he became one of the world's most famous bare-knuckle boxers. An articulate, respected man, he married a white woman and attended George IV’s coronation.

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