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Jim Pembroke's story, "The Fugitive Blacksmith," is one of the great slave narratives of American history. His autobiography has been called one of the ten most important slave narratives. In his narrative Pennington describes his early life on the Rockland estate and his escape from slavery in Maryland. Published in 1849, it went through three editions in eleven months, selling over 6000 copies. After his escape from his owner's Rockland estate in Washington Co., MD, at age 21, Pembroke changed his name to James William Charles Pennington, and, against all odds, became one of the most distinguished and respected nineteenth-century African American leaders. He became a minister in Presbyterian churches in New York and Hartford, was elected a delegate to several international abolition conventions, wrote one of the first histories of Africans in America in 1841, lectured widely, led the struggle to desegregate New York City's public transit system, fought for the rights of blacks to vote, and remained active in the Underground Railroad. In 1849, the University of Heidelberg awarded Pennington a Doctor of Divinity in honor of his achievements.

Visitor Information: Currently not open to public.

Location: 9030 Sharpsburg Pike, Fairplay, 21733

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Michael W. Morland

Location Type: Site

Freedom Seekers: James Pennington,Jim Pembroke