Survivors of the Christiana Revolt

New York Publlic Library, n.d.

[ Survivers ] On September 11, 1851, near the Quaker village of Christiana, Pennsylvania, Maryland slaveholder Edward Gorsuch, his friends, and three U.S. marshals surrounded the home of William Parker, a local black leader and an escaped slave. Gorsuch believed that some of his slaves were hiding there. Parker sounded an alarm and about one hundred armed black men and two whites arrived. The conflict resulted in Gorsuch’s death and the wounding of three members of his party, including his son. Parker and the Gorsuch slaves fled to Ontario, Canada, where Canadian officials refused to respond to U.S. federal demands for extradition. Hoping to make examples of the rioters, federal prosecutors charged them not only with resisting the Fugitive Slave Act, but also with treason. The Christiana Revolt greatly heightened the growing tension between the North and the South, and marked the first episode of African-American resistance to the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act. Two survivors, Samuel Hopkins and Peter Woods, stand in front of the ruins of William Parker’s house.