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Book Cover
Author Nathans, Sydney, author

Title To free a family : the journey of Mary Walker / Sydney Nathans
Published Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2012


Description 1 online resource (330 pages, 20 unnumbered pages of plates) : illustrations, maps
Contents Prologue: A Secret Striving -- Reluctant Runaway -- Sanctuary -- "In the Midst of Friends" -- "Never Reject the Claims of Fugitive" -- The Rescue Plot -- "A Spirit Like a Dove" -- A Season of Silence -- "A Case of Heart-Rending Distress" -- If They Die for Their Freedom, Amen -- "The Welfare of Her Race" -- "To Part No More" -- Epilogue: "Their Works Do Follow Them."
Summary "What was it like for a mother to flee slavery, leaving her children behind? To Free a Family tells the remarkable story of Mary Walker, who in August 1848 fled her owner for refuge in the North and spent the next seventeen years trying to recover her family. Her freedom, like that of thousands who escaped from bondage, came at a great price- remorse at parting without a word, fear for her family's fate. This story is anchored in two extraordinary collections of letters and diaries, that of her former North Carolina slaveholders and that of the northern family- Susan and Peter Lesley- who protected and employed her. The author's sensitive and penetrating narrative reveals Mary Walker's remarkable persistence, as well as the sustained collaboration of the black and white abolitionists who assisted her. Mary Walker and the Lesleys ventured half a dozen attempts at liberation, from ransom to ruse to rescue, until the end of the Civil War reunited Mary Walker with her son and daughter. Unlike her more famous counterparts- Harriet Tubman, Harriet Jacobs, and Sojourner Truth- who wrote their own narratives and whose public defiance made them heroines, Mary Walker's efforts were protracted, wrenching, and private. Her odyssey was more representative of women refugees from bondage who labored secretly and behind the scenes to reclaim their families from the South. In recreating Mary Walker's journey, this book gives voice to their hidden epic of emancipation and to an untold story of the Civil War era."--Jacket
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes English
Print version record
SUBJECT Walker, Mary, -1872.
Walker, Mary, -1872 -- Family
Walker, Mary, -1872 fast
Walker, Mary. idszbz
Walker, Mary, -1872 -- Biography. idszbzes
Subject Fugitive slaves -- Northeastern States -- Biography
Enslaved women -- North Carolina -- Orange County -- Biography
African American women -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge -- Biography
Family reunions -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge -- History -- 19th century
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY -- Social Scientists & Psychologists.
African American women
Family reunions
Fugitive slaves
Enslaved women
Fugitive slaves -- Northeastern States -- Biography.
SUBJECT Cambridge (Mass.) -- Biography
Orange County (N.C.) -- Biography
Subject Massachusetts -- Cambridge
North Carolina -- Orange County
Northeastern States
Genre/Form Biographies
Form Electronic book
LC no. 2011023122
ISBN 9780674063297