Bossard Memorial Library to participate in Emancipation Day Celebration


Henry “Box” Brown to be honored during special storytime event

His is an incredible story of faith, bravery, and perseverance, and, during this year’s upcoming Gallia County Emancipation Day Celebration, Bossard Memorial Library will present a special storytime about one of the best-known slave narratives in American history.

On Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21 the library will honor the amazing journey of Henry “Box” Brown at the Bob Evans Farm one-room school house in Rio Grande.

The presentations are being held in conjunction with the annual Emancipation Day Celebration and will be held at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 20 and 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 21.

The entire community is invited to attend this special storytime event in addition to a special performance by Rory Rennick, who will be portraying Henry “Box” Brown on Saturday, September 21 from 11 a.m. to noon at the Bob Evans Farm as part of the Emancipation Celebration.

Henry “Box” Brown was born as a slave in 1815 on a Virginia plantation, and what followed were years of labor and drudgery as, at the age of 15, he was sent to Richmond to work in a tobacco factory.

Brown’s life took a turn when, in 1848, the tragic loss of his wife and children, who were sold to a plantation in North Carolina, fueled his desire to create an plan of escape from his captivity.

An active member of his local church, Brown later enlisted the help of a fellow church member and a white sympathizer who aided him in his escape.

His plan was to have himself shipped as cargo from Virginia north to Philadelphia where slavery had been abolished. On March 23, 1849, Brown was shipped in a box labeled as “dry goods” that was lined with cloth and had a single hole cut in the top for air. What followed was a 27-hour journey that led Brown to the headquarters of the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society. Upon the box being opened, Box recited a psalm and, in later years, he spent his life as a performer.

For more information on the Gallia County Emancipation Day Celebration, visit For more information about Bossard Library, call (740) 446-7323.