Lewis Hayden escaped slavery with wife Harriet and son Joseph in 1844. Fleeing from Kentucky with brief stays in Michigan and New York, the Haydens settled in Boston, Massachusetts in 1849.
The Haydens soon became active members of Boston’s African American community. In addition to owning and operating a second hand clothing store the Haydens quickly became involved with the growing abolitionist movement, and their home would become a safe haven for many freedom seekers.
Lewis Hayden never hesitated to demonstrate his strong conviction for freedom. Following the passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, Hayden continued to defend and aid those seeking freedom from slavery. He was instrumental in the rescue of Shadrach Minkins, the first to be arrested in Boston under the Fugitive Slave Act.
Other noteworthy efforts include Hayden’s assistance to John Brown by raising funds and identifying men to participate in the raid on the federal arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, VA.
The formation of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment also benefited from Hayden’s tireless efforts and dedication to freedom and equality which continued until his death in 1889.
Read more about Lewis Hayden at the link below.