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The Power to DieSlavery and Suicide in British North America$
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Terri L. Snyder

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226280561

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226280738.001.0001

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Anna’s Leap

Anna’s Leap

(p.1) Prologue Anna’s Leap
The Power to Die

Terri L. Snyder

University of Chicago Press

Description of the suicide attempt of Anna, an enslaved woman. Confined to an attic in the District of Columbia, she was part of a coffle of slaves destined for Georgia in 1815. She awaited transport with two of her children, but had been separated from her husband. She leapt out the window rather than endure parting with her family and enslavement in the Deep South. Her suicide awakened discord over slavery in the early United States. Hers was one of several reports of slave suicide that inspired an investigation into human trafficking in the District of Columbia. In 1817, her story was chronicled in Jesse Torrey's Portraiture of Domestic Slavery in the United States. Her suicide attempt became an immediate political example for anti-slavery activists, Anna survived to become a local legend and was sought out for interviews well into the 1830s.

Keywords:   Anna, Jesse Torrey, Washington, D.C, suicide, slavery, trafficking, female slaves

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