Original Author: H. M. Platt
Created: Fall 1855
Medium: Photographic copy print

Integrated Class at Oberlin College

This group portrait taken in the fall of 1855 by a local photographer shows the students—both Black and white, men and women—in a class in the Preparatory Department of Oberlin College in Ohio. Among the students portrayed is Anthony Burns (top row, far right), a self-emancipated slave who was arrested and tried in Boston in 1854 under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. In the spring of 1855 a group of Blacks in Boston, acting through their Baptist minister, Leonard Grimes (a Black man who had been born free in Virginia), bought his freedom for $1,300. Burns subsequently studied theology at Oberlin College.

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