In the 1850s conservatives insisted the federal government enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. Anyone who helped slaves escape was guilty of a serious crime. Slaves who escaped to the north were often tracked down and forced to return. Local authorities were required to cooperate.

At the time, there was a battle going on to extend slavery into the western territories. There were people arguing the Supreme Court should decide slavery is legal under the Constitution and require it everywhere. An old Quaker farmer found a group of cold and hungry people by the side of the road. He gave them shelter in his barn and fed them. For that, he was put in jail. The courts upheld the decision.

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatens to withhold federal funds from cities that help people in need it feels like we are fighting the same battle.

The Harriet Tubmans and the Abraham Lincolns of today have their work cut out for them with this administration.

David Moreau


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