Tuesday, May 29, 2012

William Lloyd Garrison

Great Lives Observed: William Lloyd Garrison 
edited by George M. Fredrickson

(born Dec. 10/12, 1805, Newburyport, Mass., U.S.died May 24, 1879, New York, N.Y.)
U.S. journalist and abolitionist. He was editor of the National Philanthropist (Boston) newspaper in 1828 and the Journal of the Times (Bennington, Vt.) in 182829, both dedicated to moral reform. In 1829 he and Benjamin Lundy edited the Genius of Universal Emancipation. In 1831 he founded The Liberator, which became the most radical of the antislavery journals. In 1833 he helped found the American Anti-Slavery Society. In 1837 he renounced church and state and embraced the doctrines of Christian perfectionism, which combined abolition, women's rights, and nonresistance with the biblical injunction to come out from a corrupt society by refusing to obey its laws and support its institutions.

 His radical blend of pacifism and anarchism precipitated a crisis in the Anti-Slavery Society, a majority of whose members chose to secede when he and his followers voted a series of resolutions admitting women (1840). In the two decades between the schism of 1840 and the American Civil War, Garrison's influence waned as his radicalism increased. Through The Liberator he denounced the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Dred Scott decision and hailed John Brown's raid. During the Civil War he forswore pacifism to support Pres. Abraham Lincoln and welcomed the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1865 he retired but continued to press for women's suffrage, temperance, and free trade.

Includes one essay by Howard Zinn.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad: First-Person Narratives of Escapes to Freedom in the North
edited by Charles L. Blockson

Numerous books have been written about the Underground Railroad. That secret avenue to freedom was taken by an increasingly large number of daring runaways from the beginning of the nineteenth century through the frenzied rush in the decades between the Fugitive Slave Act and the outbreak of the Civil War. Rarely, though, has the story been told from the viewpoint of the central characters, the fugitive slaves. Why did they risk death for freedom, and how did they make their way out of bondage? The answers are indispensable to an understanding of the real Underground.

 In the pages of this book the reader will meet and come to know the major personalities in this dramatic and too-little known chapter in American history. Harriet Tubman as the Moses of her people struggles steadfastly to achieve her heaven-directed goals. Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery in Maryland to become the most eloquent spokesman for freedom in print and on platform here and abroad. Sojourner Truth, near penniless, still manages to get the funds to continue her unremitting rescue work. Thomas Garrett, a white Delaware Quaker, refuses to budge an inch from his abolition principles while living and working in a slave state.... William and Ellen Craft, a married couple, escape slavery by traveling openly through the public highways of the antebellum South in that most convincing of disguises--master and slave. The wealthy and well-born Charlotte Forten is here, recording riots in Boston, along with that most piteous and desperate black mother, Margaret Garner, ready to sacrifice her child rather than see her returned to slavery.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

From Midnight to Dawn

From Midnight to Dawn: The Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad
by Jacqueline L. Tobin

From Midnight to Dawn presents compelling portraits of the men and women who established the Underground Railroad and traveled it to find new lives in Canada. Evoking the turmoil and controversies of the time, Tobin illuminates the historic events that forever connected American and Canadian history by giving us the true stories behind well-known figures such as Harriet Tubman and John Brown. She also profiles lesser-known but equally heroic figures such as Mary Ann Shadd, who became the first black female newspaper editor in North America, and Osborne Perry Anderson, the only black survivor of the fighting at Harpers Ferry. An extraordinary examination of a part of American history, From Midnight to Dawn will captivate readers with its tales of hope, courage, and a people’s determination to live equally under the law.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Passages to Freedom

Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory
edited by David W. Blight

Few American stories have such staying power as the tales of courageous slaves escaping from bondage through a rudimentary network of hiding places and way stations. These stories of enormous risk, of black leadership and white cooperation, of many thousands of journeys to freedom, have become a part of American historical consciousness. How much of the great story of the Underground Railroad is real, how much is legend and mythology, and how much is verifiable? Passages to Freedom is the single-best illustrated treatment of slavery, abolitionism, and emancipation, and seeks to answer these very questions. Artfully displaying illustrations and artifacts together with essays by leading American historians, the book explores the wealth of lore about the Underground Railroad that grew in the national culture after emancipation. Both the text and images examine why these stories endure—and need to endure—in our American culture.