Leonard Andrew Grimes (1815-1873), an African American born free in Loudoun County, Virginia, is significant to the Underground Railroad (UGRR) because he was a documented UGRR activist, first in Washington, DC, and then in Boston, Massachusetts. Grimes served 2 years in the Virginia penitentiary as a result of circumstantial evidence of help to an escaping enslaved family. After his release from prison, he and his family moved to Massachusetts. Once he became a Baptist preacher, he was called to serve at the Twelfth Baptist Church in Boston. While in Boston, he assisted the Boston Vigilance Committee and was involved in preventing the returns to slavery of freedom seekers Anthony Burns (unsuccessful), Shadrack Minkins, and Thomas Sims under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. There is good documentation for Grimes' UGRR activities: trial records in Leesburg, and sources for Boston like Frances Jackson's Vigilance Committee ledgers. The best place to commemorate Grimes is the site of his property in DC where recently a plaque was placed. An indenture signing land over to his uncle while Grimes served his prison term establishes the location of his property at 22nd and H Streets, N.W.
Visitor Information: Currently open to public.
Location: 22nd &H St., NW, Washington, DC, N/A, 20052
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: Stephen Knapp
Location Type: Site
People/Organizations Associated with the site: Boston Vigilance Committee
Freedom Seekers: Anthony Burns,Shadrack Minkins,Thomas Sims
UGRR Operatives: Leonard Andrew Grimes