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Freeing Charles: The Struggle to Free a Slave on the Eve of the Civil War (New Black Studies)by Scott Christianson
Synopses & Reviews
Despite the immense body of literature about the American Civil War and its causes, the nationand#8217;s western involvement in the approaching conflict often gets short shrift. Slavery was the catalyst for fiery rhetoric on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line and fiery conflicts on the western edges of the nation. Driven by questions regarding the place of slavery in westward expansion and by the increasing influence of evangelical Protestant faiths that viewed the institution as inherently sinful, political debates about slavery took on a radicalized, uncompromising fervor in states and territories west of the Mississippi River.
Busy in the Cause explores the role of the Midwest in shaping national politics concerning slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War. In 1856 Iowa aided parties of abolitionists desperate to reach Kansas Territory to vote against the expansion of slavery, and evangelical Iowans assisted runaway slaves through Underground Railroad routes in Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. Lowell J. Soikeand#8217;s detailed and entertaining narrative illuminates Iowaand#8217;s role in the stirring western events that formed the prelude to the Civil War.
Book News Annotation:
Author Christianson tells the engaging story of captured Virginia fugitive slave Charles Nalle and those who helped him on his way to freedom. Nalle had been aided in his initial escape from slavery by the Underground Railroad, captured, and then forcibly freed by Harriet Tubman and others in New York in 1860. It's a well-written, well-researched story that says as much about the tormented race relations in slavery-era America as it does about the men and women who helped him. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Freeing Charles recounts the life and epic rescue of captured fugitive slave Charles Nalle of Culpeper, Virginia, who was forcibly liberated by Harriet Tubman and others in Troy, New York, on April 27, 1860. Scott Christianson follows Nalle from his enslavement by the Hansborough family in Virginia through his escape by the Underground Railroad and his experiences in the North on the eve of the Civil War. This engaging narrative represents the first in-depth historical study of this crucial incident, one of the fiercest anti-slavery riots after Harpers Ferry. Christianson also presents a richly detailed look at slavery culture in antebellum Virginia and probes the deepest political and psychological aspects of this epic tale. His account underscores fundamental questions about racial inequality, the rule of law, civil disobedience, and violent resistance to slavery in the antebellum North and South. As seen in New York Times and on C-Span’s Book TV.
About the Author
Scott Christianson is the author of With Liberty for Some: 500 Years of Imprisonment in America and many other works. He lives in New York state.
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