Last updated: March 28, 2023
A prominent clothing dealer and community activist, John Coburn (1811–1873) served as treasurer of the New England Freedom Association, an organization dedicated to helping people escape from slavery. Authorities arrested, though later acquitted, Coburn for his alleged role in the courthouse rescue of Shadrach Minkins, the first person seized in Boston under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. Coburn also co-founded the Massasoit Guards, a Black military company and precursor to the 54th Regiment.
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