In late 1848 Ellen Craft and her husband, William, boldly escaped from slavery in Georgia.
Ellen, who was very light-skinned, pretended to be a sick young man, “Mr. Johnson,” who was travelling north with the assistance of a slave (William).
She bundled up in a large overcoat and put on huge glasses, a hat, and a scarf to hide as much of her face as possible.
The pair travelled to Baltimore without difficulty, but there a railroad agent refused to let “Mr. Johnson” board a train to Philadelphia without showing ownership papers for his slave.
Only at the last moment did the agent relent and let the two on board.
The Crafts made it safely to Philadelphia, but in 1850 they had to flee again, to England, after Congress passed a law allowing former owners to capture escaped slaves in the North.