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Descripción de editorial
In this groundbreaking compilation of first-person accounts of the runaway slave phenomenon, editors Devon Carbado and Donald Weise have recovered twelve narratives spanning eight decades—more than half of which have been long out of print. Told in the voices of the runaway slaves themselves, these narratives reveal the extraordinary and often innovative ways that these men and women sought freedom and demanded citizenship.
The intensity of the desire for freedom drives these narratives by fugitive slaves. The dozen excerpts from published accounts mostly unfamiliar to general readers are organized into thematic areas yearning for freedom, family situations, religious inspiration, and extreme measures taken to liberate themselves editors Carbado, UCLA professor of law and African-American studies, and Weise, editor-in-chief of Magnus Books, underline the commonalities of the American slave experience yet allow each fugitive his own voice. Villains in the form of owners, traders, bounty hunters, and treacherous blacks abound; gruesome descriptions of whippings and other tortures punctuate many of the tales. Heroes and heroics also emerge: Quakers and other antislavery activists assisted runaways; fugitives walked for days without food, fought off dogs and wolves, and even after capture managed to escape again. Most of the fugitives note that the slaveholders were "professing Christians," though one fugitive cites the Bible's prohibition against returning escaped slaves. Stevenson's afterword places the narratives in historical context, where a white man could sell his own children by a slave to escape "social ostracism." It may give readers nightmares, but this book needs to be read. Illus.