tv Escaping Slavery for Freedom CSPAN June 15, 2019 10:25pm-10:36pm EDT
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a stop at the detroit public library which was the location of the jail that was the location of the city's first race riot. >> this location is where thornton and rutha were in jail. they escaped from slavery and there was an uprising to free them. they escaped from louisville, kentucky. they escaped because rutha blackburn had been sold down into new orleans, and thornton did not want to lose the woman he loved, so they escaped together and came to the city of detroit in 1831. when they came to detroit, it was far away from kentucky. slave law,the 1793 going to ohio was still risky because bounty hunters could come and take you, even from free states, and take you back out to wherever you came from. in ohio where they had been for
a little while, it was too close to kentucky, bounty hunters were always in and out of ohio bringing people back into slavery. so when they arrived here, thornton is a brick maker, working as a brick mason for a couple of years, making a is ag, and rutha seamstress. so both of them are making a living. she is a seamstress and he is a brick mason and they are living a free life right here in the city of detroit. two slave catchers come to the becausedetroit in 1833, they have ward that thornton and seen blackburn are here, by family member who is related to thornton's slave owners. so they come right here where we are to the office of the sheriff and deputy, which is also the jail, and they hired them for $50 apiece. all four of these armed men go find thornton and rutha
blackburn. they bring them in a hold them over the weekend, from friday until monday. they are going to hold them here because they want to wait for steamboat to come up the river to take them down to ohio, and then wagon them from ohio to kentucky. that is the plan, so they are going to be in jail from friday to monday. but there is a number of black people here in the city of detroit determined to free thornton and rutha blackburn. they do not want them to be enslaved. and two of these people are young women, caroline french and tabatha lightfoot. and those two women along with another group of african-americans who meet at the home of benjamin willoughby, come up with a plan to free thornton and rutha blackburn. as they are working on that plan over the weekend for sunday after church, they come to the jail, and when they come to the jail to visit thornton and rutha blackburn, the visitors are all
turned away. the sheriff and deputy do not allow thornton to have visitors. he is kept in a jail cell behind bars in shackles, so he is behind bars and still in chains. believe he is the mastermind behind the escape and they have been living for two years. but rutha is allowed visitors because they are not as worried about this woman, which is going to end up being a big problem on carolinet because french and tabatha lightfoot are going to go into the sale with -- going into the jail cell with rutha, and they are praying with her. and they also bring her food because they know jail food is horrible, so they brought her food. while they are feeding and praying with her, caroline french switches close with rutha blackburn inside the jail cell when the sheriff and deputy are not paying attention. when the sheriff and deputy
remove them from the jail, they say visiting time is over, you have to go, tabatha lightfoot blackburnwith rutha wearing caroline french's clothes. they walk right by the sheriff, who does not know that this is the woman he should be holding, and not the woman who should be walking out. they walk right by him. they had already arranged to put shea blackburn on about it crosses over to canada and she is free, she is on free soil in another country where the fugitive slave laws do not apply. the next morning, caroline french lets the jailers know, i'm caroline french. i came here yesterday to visit rutha blackburn. while you weren't paying attention we switched clothes, she walked right by you and you didn't even know. now she is in canada, and she is free. i am free, too. you have to let me go. now the bounty hunters want to
use caroline french and sell her to make up the money that they lost, because bounty hunters only make money for the people they bring back. so they want to sell her, but a crowd has grown outside. hundreds of people are outside of this tale, and they are there to free caroline french. and those four people, the sheriff, deputy and the two slave catchers against hundreds of people out here, so they let caroline french cow hoping it will quell the crowd and get them to go away. but the crowd is also there for thornton. and in the course of them trying the sheriff isn, mortally wounded. he is not killed right then but he will die later from his injuries. he is attacked by members of the crowd. the deputy has to run for his life, and the two slave catchers have to try to keep the crowd at bay with their guns so that they are not killed.
but in the course of all of that, the crowd has taken thornton, put him on a wagon and whisked him away, put him on a boat where they -- where he crosses the river to canada, reunites with his wife, and they are both free. caroline french and tabatha would start the first taxi company in detroit and they would become wealthy. wouldople who freed them be the founders of the first black church, and the foundation for the underground railroad, particularly in detroit. the african-american community in detroit is really built on a foundation of fighting for freedom and using that as part of their faith. r staff traveltou to detroit, michigan, to learn about its rich history. watch more video from detroit and other stops, go to
c-span.org/citiestour. you're watching c-span3. >> this weekend on the presidency, the editor of the papers of dwight david eisenhower talks about the evolution of ike's leadership style from west point cadet to president of the united states. here is a preview. rights? is ike on civil his entire military career until 1945, he seemed to not be bothered, at least he didn't write anything, that suggested to me that he was bothered by segregation and the military and segregation in american society. say, in 1945 he changed his mind. why?
we were running out of men, too. first the germans ran out of men. then the british ran out of men. and now america was running out of combat soldiers. so he decided to give african-americans the first opportunity to engage in combat equally, and that was a turning point in his life. when he returned to washington he was much more vigorous about as chief of staff, and he worked with lyndon johnson to get a weak form of the civil rights law through congress, a weak form of the civil rights act in the 1950's. >> learn more about dwight d. eisenhower's leadership skills this sunday on the presidency. you are watching american history tv, only on c-span3. >> the national archives is hosting a series of events in conjunction with their centennial exhibit, rightfully
hers: american women in the vote. up next, three authors who have women -- who have written books about women's suffrage talk about the suffrage movement and the media, and the making of a movement. tonight's discussion is part of a series of programs related to our recently-opened exhibit, rightfully hers: american women in the vote. it tells the struggles for voting rights and critical steps toward equal citizenship. the exhibit explores how american women crossed the spectrum of race, ethnicity and class to advance the cause of suffrage and voting rights beyond 1920. the decade-long -- the decades-long fight for the vote in the 19th and early 20th century engaged large numbers of women in the process.