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Other titles in the V Ethel Willis White Books series:
Free Boy: A True Story of Slave and Master (V Ethel Willis White Books)by Lorraine Mcconaghy
Synopses & Reviews
Free Boy is the story of a 13-year-old slave who escaped from Washington Territory to freedom in Canada on the West's underground railroad.
When James Tilton came to Washington Territory as surveyor-general in the 1850s he brought with his household young Charles Mitchell, a slave he had likely received as a wedding gift from a Maryland cousin. The story of Charlie's escape in 1860 on a steamer bound for Victoria and the help he received from free blacks reveals how national issues on the eve of the Civil War were also being played out in the West.
Written with young adults in mind, the authors provide the historical context to understand the lives of both Mitchell and Tilton and the time in which the events took place. The biography explores issues of race, slavery, treason, and secession in Washington Territory, making it both a valuable resource for teachers and a fascinating story for readers of all ages.
Lorraine McConaghy is a public historian at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle and the author of Warship under Sail. Judy Bentley teaches at South Seattle Community College and is the author of Hiking Washington's History, along with fourteen books for young adults.
"McConaghy and Bentley collaborate on an exhaustively researched account of a boy in Washington Territory who was 'the first, last and only known fugitive slave to travel the tiny Puget Sound Underground Railroad.' Charlie Mitchell's scant biography is interwoven with the more extensive one belonging to his master, surveyor-general James Tilton. Mitchell runs away from Tilton and his home in Olympia, Wash., on the eve of the Civil War at the urging of free blacks from Victoria, B.C. The recounting of his escape aboard a steamer, capture, and eventual freedom in Canada are captivating, as are the italicized, dramatized scenes that conclude several of the 10 chapters. These fictional portrayals of characters' thoughts and conversations help flesh out their personal sides, especially that of Mitchell, whose slave status didn't afford him the same well-documented history as Tilton. The myriad details of Tilton's life and ancestry can overwhelm the narrative, but the authors' admirable primary-source detective work results in a context-rich story that shines a light on racial attitudes and Civil War politics in pre-statehood Washington. Ages 10 — 15. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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