Imprisoning people for helping slaves flee bondage isn't tight and a Kentucky group is working to have the convicted pardoned by the governor

In the 19th century, Kentucky convicted at least 58 people for "seducing or enticing slaves to leave their lawful owners." Defendants faced 20 years in the Kentucky State Penitentiary, where some died. One, David C. McDonald, was forgotten and languished in prison until 1870, five years after slavery was abolished.

Now, several men are working to clear the names of those — men and women, black and white — whose "crimes" today would be recognized as among mankind's finest acts.

They want Gov. Steve Beshear to issue pardons for the slave rescuers, albeit posthumously.

"I want to resurrect their names and deeds and give them their proper place in history," said James Prichard, 56, a retired state archivist who spent much of his career studying slavery in Kentucky.

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