A Failed Slave Escape on the Potomac
Josephine F. Pacheco
Recounting this harrowing tale from the preparations for escape through the participants' trial, Josephine Pacheco provides fresh insight into the lives of enslaved blacks in the District of Columbia, putting a human face on the victims of the interstate slave trade, whose lives have been overshadowed by larger historical events. Pacheco also details the Congressional debates about slavery that resulted from this large-scale escape attempt. She contends that although the incident itself and the trials and Congressional disputes that followed were not directly responsible for bringing an end to the slave trade in the nation's capital, they played a pivotal role in publicizing many of the issues surrounding slavery. Eventually, President Millard Fillmore pardoned the operators of the Pearl.