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Abolitionist John Brown liberated 11 slaves and led them to Detroit to seek freedom via a ferry to Canada. On this day in 1859, he met with with Frederick Douglass and local abolitionists George DeBaptiste, William Lambert, and others at William Webb’s house in Detroit to discuss emancipation. Douglass favored peaceful means, while Brown favored action. Later that year, Brown led a raid on a federal armory located in present-day West Virginia. It resulted in his capture, a highly-publicized trial, and execution by hanging. Douglass wasn’t present during the raid but was viewed as a possible accomplice. For his own safety, he fled to Canada until he was legally cleared.

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