Box Brown Plaza

Richmond’s waterfront is steeped in African-American history. African-Americans worked on the river and canals, in the iron works and tobacco warehouses. The city dock was the arrival point for many slaves who were sold at nearby auction houses, and the Mayo Bridge played a role in Gabriel’s Rebellion, the famed antislavery uprising planned by a Henrico County slave.

Among the most famous slaves in Richmond’s history is Henry “Box” Brown, who worked in a tobacco warehouse at Cary and 14th streets when his family was sold to a North Carolina plantation. Overcome with grief, Brown contacted an agent of the Underground Railroad, who helped him mail himself to freedom.

  • Richmond’s riverfront includes monuments to the black bateau men who navigated Virginia canals.
  • A metal reproduction of the box in which Brown escaped can be viewed along Richmond’s Canal Walk.


Along the Riverfront Canal Walk, a public park open from dawn to dusk