ESCAPED CHILD SLAVE FRANCIS BOK

THE ROBERT GOULD SHAW MEMORIAL BEHIND FRANCIS BOK WAS BUILT IN 1897 IN HONOR OF THE MASSACHUSETTS 54TH REGIMENT, THE FIRST ALL-BLACK REGIMENT RECRUITED IN THE NORTH TO FIGHT FOR THE UNION ARMY DURING THE CIVIL WAR. DESIGNED BY RENOWNED SCULPTOR AUGUSTUS ST. GAUDENS, THE MONUMENT HONORS THE MEN WHO COURAGEOUSLY LED THE ATTACK ON FORT WAGNER, SC, ON JULY 18, 1863. COLONEL SHAW, THE REGIMENT'S WHITE COMMANDING OFFICER, WAS ONLY 25 YEARS OLD WHEN HE DIED ALONG WITH OVER 270 OF HIS MEN AT FORT WAGNER. THE MONUMENT STANDS ON THE BOSTON COMMON FACING THE MASSACHUSETTS STATE HOUSE.

Francis Bok was once one of an estimated 27 million slaves worldwide. Captured at age seven in 1986 by a militia raider in a marketplace near his Dinka tribal village in southern Sudan, he was kept as a slave laborer by a family in northern Sudan for ten years. His third escape attempt was successful, and, after three further years in a Khartoum prison as a suspected rebel and in refugee camps, he gained United Nations refugee status and now lives in the Boston area. He arrived in the United States knowing no English, and has since become a leading speaker for the antislavery movement. In 2003, Mr. Bok published his autobiographical account, Escape from Slavery. He talked with Sentinel writer Warren Bolon at his organizational home base, the American Anti-Slavery Group (AASG) office in downtown Boston.

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