With the issue of slavery dividing America in the early 1800s, Patty Cannon told neighbors curious about the Black people they spotted secreted across her property that she was helping them escape into freedom. In reality, she was leader of a gang that kidnapped free Black people -- often children -- from the streets, forged ownership papers and sold them to plantation owners in the south. And because she was charming and pretty, she got away with it for decades.
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