In 1847 Samuel Burris, a free black man, was caught trying to help slaves escape. He was sent to jail, and part of his sentence included a requirement that he be sold into slavery for seven years, but an anti-slavery association purchased him and set Burris free.
One of Burris' descendants, Ocea Thomas, received a call from Delaware's governor, informing her that the 19th-century freedom fighter would be posthumously pardoned.
"I stood there and cried. It was pride," Thomas told the Associated Press Tuesday. "It was relief. I guess justification. All of that."
Burris told AP that she received a call over the weekend from Gov. Jack Markell informing her that the brother of her great-great-grandmother would be pardoned. The pardon is set to take place Nov. 2, which AP notes is the anniversary of Burris' conviction. According to the newswire, the state also plans to unveil a marker to be placed near Burris' hometown in Kent County.
"It's a victory. It brings honor to the Burris family, and it brings justice for Samuel Burris and his descendants. It's making a wrong a right finally," said Robert Seeley, who pushed for the pardons of Burris and two others who helped free slaves, John Hunn and Thomas Garrett.
According to AP, Hunn and Garrett, who were also convicted for reportedly freeing some 2,700 slaves, cannot be pardoned by the state because they were tried in federal court, meaning that President Barack Obama would be the only one who could grant their pardon.
But Seely told AP that he isn't going to give up. "Even if it comes out to be a proclamation or a declaration or not an official presidential pardon, so be it. We'll see what we can do," he said, adding that there is "a lot of red tape."
Read more at the Associated Press.