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Published on Nov 10, 2014
Henry BIBB (1815 - 1854)
Henry Walton Bibb was born a slave. His father was white although his identity was not positively known. Bibb was separated from his mother at a very young age and hired out to other slave owners for most of his childhood. Always yearning for his freedom, he made his first escape from slavery in 1842. He was recaptured and escaped, recaptured and escaped over and over; but he never gave up on his desire to be a man in control of his own destiny. Bibb eventually escaped the bondage of servitude for good and dedicated his life to speaking out against the institution of slavery. In the process he helped others obtain their freedom. He published Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, and American Slave in 1849 telling the story of his daily life as a slave, as a runaway and as a free man. He also illustrated the depravity of that “man-destroying system” and the “idea of utter helplessness in perpetual bondage.” Bibb stated in his Author's Preface that there were other very popular slave narratives published before his own; nevertheless, the uniqueness of his story is in the details of his experiences which, like the others, shine a glaringly truthful beam of light on the sins of this nation. Ultimately Bibb made his way to Canada where in 1851 he published the first black newspaper of that Country, Voice of the Fugitive. He died in 1854 at the age of 39. (Introduction by James K. White)