Leonard Grimes

By Christian Worley

Who was Leonard Grimes?

Leonard Grimes was born in Loundoun County, VA. His parents registered their status as free blacks, and he was born a free man. But the word freedom in the south doesn't really mean anything to them. Leonard grew up working for a butcher and an Apothecary in D.C, but still remained in Loundoun. In 1834, he was able to legally register his status of a free black at the age of about 20.

Motivation to become a reformer and how he helped

Leonard experienced slavery firsthand while he was down south and witnessed the brutality of it. After he left he had committed himself to helping slaves escape to freedom. In order to cover for his "secret life" he was a hackman driver in the district of Columbia and used his coach to stage rescue missions. After a while he was caughted and imrisoned for two years with a $100 fine.

What was wrong with slavery?

Slavery was a very brutal and gruesome thing. Slaves were given very little of their everyday needs, like food, water, etc. Their living quarters were very small and usually housed many slaves. They usually slept on haystacks or pallets or nothing at all. They had very long and hard hours of labor, they usually worked almost all day in the sun. Their master treated them very poorly.

His death and remembrance

Leonard's death is unknown, and he died in 1873. He is remembered for his help in the Under Ground Railroad, helping by freeing many slaves and helping them gain their freedom. He also helped enlist soldiers for the 54th volunteer infantry regiment in Massachusetts for blacks.