Leonard Grimes

article - Leonard Grimes

Leonard Andrew Grimes (November 9, 1815 March 14, 1873) was an African-Americanabolitionist and pastor. He served as a conductor of the Underground Railroad, including his efforts to free fugitive slave Anthony Burns captured in accordance with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. After the Civil War began, Grimes petitioned for African-American enlistment. He then recruited soldiers for the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

Leonard Grimes
Born (1815-11-09)November 9, 1815

Died March 14, 1873(1873-03-14) (aged 57)

Nationality American
Occupation Hackney driver, minister
Known for Underground Railroad; 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
Religion Baptist

. . . Leonard Grimes . . .

Born of free parents in Leesburg, Virginia on or about November 9, 1815, he was orphaned about age 10 and sent to live with a uncle; unhappy there, he left and eventually headed to Washington, D.C. [1][2]

Grimes was fortunate to grow up a free man, but because he was of mixed race, he identified as African American; witnessing the horrors of slavery in the south, he devoted his life to assisting fugitive slaves and advocating for abolition.[3]

After moving to Washington, D.C., Grimes began a career as a hackney driver, providing transportation for people in and around Washington, D.C. Owning his own coach enabled him to serve as a conductor of the Underground Railroad for years without suspicion.[3] He transported fugitive slaves from Virginia to Washington, D.C. and then assisted in moving them North.[4] In 1839, Grimes was caught attempting to rescue a family of slaves from Virginia, and he was sentenced to two years in jail in Richmond.[5] At this time his wife taught schools for black youths in Washington.[6]

In jail he found religion and after his release in 1840, Grimes was baptized in the Baptist faith and was licensed to preach by a panel chaired by the president of Columbian College, a Baptist institution in the District of Columbia (now the George Washington University).[7] In 1846 he moved to Massachusetts and associated himself with the American Baptist Missionary convention in New Bedford, Massachusetts and in Boston. In November 1848 he was ordained as pastor of the Twelfth Street Baptist church.[1] He was pastor of the Twelfth Baptist Church for 27 years.[3] Grimes actively opposed the Fugitive Slave Act, and his church became known as “The Fugitives Church.”[4] He became an important figure in national church organizations and at the American Baptist Missionary Society Convention at Philadelphia in 1858 he, along with Theodore Doughty Miller, William Spellman, and Sampson White, pushed the organization to oppose slavery. They voted to have no fellowship with slave-holding ministries.[8] He was president of the American Baptist Missionary convention and the Consolidated Baptist conventions for several years.[1]

. . . Leonard Grimes . . .

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. . . Leonard Grimes . . .