The Female Anti-Slavery Society (later the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society) was founded in Massachusetts. It was the first abolitionist organization established by black women.
The Republican Party held its first meeting, in Ripon, Wisconsin.
Frederick Douglass disguised himself as a sailor and escaped from Maryland to freedom in the North.
Samuel E. Cornish and John B. Russwurm published the first African American newspaper, Freedom’s Journal.
Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act as part of the Compromise of 1850. The act forced northerners to cooperate in returning runaway slaves to the South.
The House of Representatives adopted the Gag Rule to table all anti-slavery petitions without discussion.
Congress lifted its Gag Rule preventing debate on slavery.
Harriet Tubman made her first attempt to escape slavery. Though she was forced to turn back, she successfully escaped just a few weeks later.
Former slave Isabella Van Wagener assumed the name Sojourner Truth and began her career as an abolitionist.
John Brown was executed for charges related to his raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia.