William Parker (1821 – 1891) was a former slave who escaped to Pennsylvania, where he became an abolitionist and anti-slavery activist in Christiana, where he was a farmer and led a black self-defense organization. He was notable as a principal figure in the Christiana incident (or riot), 1851, also known as the Christiana Resistance. Edward Gorsuch, a Maryland slaveowner who owned four slaves who had fled over the state border to Parker’s farm, was killed and other white men were wounded in the party to capture the slaves, Parker eventually reached the free state of Pennsylvania, where he settled in Christiana in Lancaster County.
After being inspired by speeches by William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass, Parker encouraged the formation of a mutual protection society of members from the black community. Christiana was not far from the Maryland border. Slave catchers, including the infamous Gap Gang (see Gap, Pennsylvania), came into the area looking for fugitive slaves to return to their slaveholders
Parker and other members of the mutual protection society used force to prevent the recapture of blacks in the area. They developed an intelligence network to send alerts so that their neighbors would know when slave catchers were about; they would quickly spring into action to retrieve any captives before they could be taken back across state lines. If the laws of the country would not protect them, their family, friends and neighbors, then they would protect themselves.
On September 11, 1851, a slaveholder from Maryland (Edward Gorsuch) came bearing a warrant to recover his slaves. Gorsuch had information that his slaves were at Parker’s farmhouse. Parker had received intelligence that Gorsuch, a federal marshal and others were on their way to his farmhouse. So when Gorsuch arrived, Parker and his cohorts were prepared. Eliza, Parker’s wife, sounded a horn alerting neighbors that slave catchers were out and that help was needed. Both sides were resolute in their determination to prevail…
Haki Kweli Shakur August Third Collective Communist NAPLA NAIM 9-11-51ADM
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