It was a chilly July day at the Georgia Museum of Art in Atlanta.
The building had been a slave-owning facility for decades and had housed a black artist named Charles T. Tutt.
But in the spring of 1863, Georgia Governor Benjamin B. Johnson sent Tutt to the North for his trial.
After Johnson sentenced him to death, he and his fellow condemned were transported to a prison in New Orleans.
Johnson told Tutt he could no longer work in the slave trade because of the harsh treatment he was receiving.
The prisoners’ voices were muffled.
Tutter, who was serving time in the Mississippi penitentiary for violating his parole, had no idea that Johnson was listening.
He had to make his escape.
“It was like a dream, like something out of a movie,” he said.
Turtt made his escape in a small boxcar that he took from a slave owner and put in a boat.
Turgid, a local man, was on hand to help Tutt, and a fellow passenger on the boat named William F. Bunch, was also a slave.
Tuggeranong, who is now a professor of history at Georgia Tech, said that while he was not sure whether the pair was rescued in the early 1800s, he believes that the two escaped in a hurry because of a lack of food and water.
In 1867, Turgids wife was taken by the Confederacy and sent to the New Orleans penitentiaries, where she died in a slave trade raid.
Burch was sentenced to death and was buried in a church cemetery.
Turbid said that after Turgs wife died, he began to think about what would happen if he went back to slavery.
He began looking at his slave records and saw that the former slave who had taken Turg’s wife had died.
He started writing a letter to the state’s attorney general, asking that he not put Turg on trial.
But his request was denied.
Instead, Turbids letter was forwarded to the attorney general’s office, and Turg said he was put on trial for his escape from slavery.
“I had no knowledge of the case at the time and I thought I was being unfairly prosecuted for my escape,” he told AP.
“The fact is I was innocent and I never knew anything about the slave escape.”
Burch, a slave who was a captain in the Confederate army, was executed in 1863.
Turch said that he believed Johnson had used his personal animosity towards him to pressure Turg to get away with his escape, and that Johnson later told him that if Turg was sent to prison for the escape, he would be given an additional six months of parole.
“In the meantime, I thought he would have been released, and if I was released, it would mean I had served my sentence,” Turg told AP in a phone interview from his home in New York.
But Turg and Burch escaped again.
They were apprehended again by the Confederates in the South, where Turg died of a stroke in 1866.
Turnum, who now lives in New Jersey, said he is surprised that so many people in the African American community have never heard of the Turg family.
“You just have to have the imagination and just dig in and look at history,” he says.
“They’ve been in the forefront of many movements that changed the way we think about ourselves, the way people see us.”