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Williams "Slave Pen" Markers

Field review by the editors.

Washington, DC

In 1841 Solomon Northup, a musician, traveled to Washington, DC, to attend the funeral of President William Henry Harrison. He was drugged and imprisoned in the W.H. Williams Slave Pen, hidden from sight behind a building only a block from the U.S. Capitol. From the pen, Northup was sold into slavery. His 1853 book, "Twelve Years a Slave," described the pen as "like a farmer's barnyard in most respects, save it was so constructed that the outside world could never see the human cattle that were herded there."

The Pen and its front building are long gone, but in January 2017 two historical markers were placed to mark the site.

Williams "Slave Pen" Markers

800 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC
The markers are in front of the Federal Aviation Administration building, on the south side of Independence Ave. SW, just west of its intersection with 7th St. SW.
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