Pardons pushed for Kentuckians convicted of helping slaves escape

The Rev. Calvin Fairbank spent 17 years in a Kentucky prison — suffering beatings and brutal labor — for committing the felony of helping slaves escape to freedom. Released in 1864, a broken man, he kissed the dirt of Ohio upon reaching that free state. “Out of the jaws of Hell!” Fairbank cried, according to his autobiography. In the 19th century, Kentucky convicted at least 58 people for “seducing or enticing slaves to leave their lawful owners.” Defendants faced 20 years in the Kentucky State Penitentiary, where some died. One, David C. McDonald, was forgotten and languished in prison until 1870, five years after slavery was abolished. Read More

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