The Christiana Riot took place on September 11, 1851 when Maryland slaveowner Edward Gorsuch and several of his relatives attempted to capture fugitive slaves at William Parker’s house in Christiana, Pennsylvania. Gorsuch was killed and several members of his party were wounded in the fight, but Parker and the fugitive slaves escaped to Canada. House Divided has several newspaper articles and a diary entry related to this event, including an editorial from Frederick Douglass’ Paper. The African Americans who participated in the riot “are to be tried…for high treason,” which Douglass characterized as “the climax of American absurdity.” Editors of the Memphis (TN) Appeal, however, had a different perspective on what they called a “great judicial farce.” Instead of facing “charges of which they might by convicted,” the Appeal criticized prosecutors for their decision “to rest [the case] solely on the law of treason.” “The State authorities fail[ed] in their duty and pass[ed] over the real crimes [of] riot and murder,” as the Appeal observed. Teachers may also want to check out the resources available from “Slavery & Abolition in the US: Select Publications of the 1800s,” which is a digital collection of books and pamphlets produced by Dickinson College and Millersville University. The site has a number of great sources, including: A True Story of the Christiana Riot (1898), which is a recollection by David Forbes, and The Christiana Riot and the Treason Trials of 1851: An Historical Sketch (1911), written by William Hensel to commemorate the 60th anniversary. Two of the best secondary sources on this event are Jonathan Katz, Resistance at Christiana: The Fugitive Slave Rebellion, Christiana, Pennsylvania, September 11, 1851 (1974) and Thomas P. Slaughter, Bloody Dawn: The Christiana Riot and Racial Violence in the Antebellum North (1991). While William Parker’s house no longer exists, a historical model of the building is available on House Divided’s Virtual Field Trips page. (See this page for help in using these files).