Synopses & Reviews
Slave narratives, some of the most powerful records of our past, are extremely rare, with only fifty-five postandndash;Civil War narratives surviving. A mere handful are first-person accounts by slaves who ran away and freed themselves. Now two newly uncovered narratives, and the biographies of the men who wrote them, join that exclusive group with the publication of A Slave No More, a major new addition to the canon of American history. Handed down through family and friends, these narratives tell gripping stories of escape: Through a combination of intelligence, daring, and sheer luck, the men reached the protection of the occupying Union troops. David W. Blight magnifies the drama and significance by prefacing the narratives with each manandrsquo;s life history. Using a wealth of genealogical information, Blight has reconstructed their childhoods as sons of white slaveholders, their service as cooks and camp hands during the Civil War, and their climb to black working-class stability in the north, where they reunited their families. In the stories of Turnage and Washington, we find history at its most intimate, portals that offer a rich new answer to the question of how four million people moved from slavery to freedom. In A Slave No More, the untold stories of two ordinary men take their place at the heart of the American experience.
PRAISE FORand#160;ROWING TO FREEDOM
andquot;Rowing to Freedom is a remarkable and rare volume. We are fortunate that David Blight, a foremost authority on the slave narrative, has applied his considerable skills as historian and detective to these extraordinary stories of 'ordinary' men. As if their own stories of slavery and the flight to freedom were not fascinating enough, Blight has filled in the details of their lives after slavery in a way that re-creates both the turbulence and nearly unfathomable joy of emancipation. The narratives of Turnage and Washington will surely take their place among the most moving and instructive examples of the genre.andquot; --Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
andquot;Together, Blight's meticulous research and the previously unknown autobiographical writings of these two men bring to life with unprecedented power the human dimensions of slavery and emancipation.andquot; --Eric Foner
andquot;Rowing to Freedom presents two of the most significant finds in the entire genre of slave narratives and of the primary material from the Civil War.andquot; --David Levering Lewis, Pulitzer Prizeandndash;winningand#160;author of W. E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868andndash;1919
andquot;David Blight combines the authority of a great historian with the humanistic zeal of a novelist . . . Rowing to Freedom is a compelling account of two men of remarkable courage who, by writing down their stories, sought to make themselves visible. Neither man could have wished for a more sympathetic or knowledgeable interpreterand#160;than David Blight.andquot; --Caryl Phillips, author of A Distant Shore
Slave narratives are extremely rare; very few are first-person accounts by slaves who freed themselves.Now two newly uncovered narratives, and the biographies of the men who wrote them, join that exclusive group.Wallace Turnage was a teenage field hand on an Alabama plantation, John Washington an urban slave in Virginia.They never met. But both saw opportunity in the chaos of the CivilWar, both escaped north, and both left remarkable accounts of their flights to freedom.
This book is more than their narratives: working from painstakingly acquired records and sources for the lives of heretofore unknown former slaves, the historian DavidW.
Blight has discovered and reconstructed their livesfrom slave childhood to black working-class stability in the North.
These are the untold biographies of two ordinary men, but they are also new answers to how four million people moved from slavery to freedom. A Slave No More is a major addition to the canon of American history.
Slave narratives, some of the most powerful records of the past, are extremely rare, with only 55 post-Civil War narratives surviving. Now two newly uncovered narratives, and the biographies of the men who wrote them, join that exclusive group.
About the Author
PRAISE FOR A SLAVE NO MORE
Fascinating . . . gripping stories that speak to our understanding of the slave legacy and the meaning of the Civil War and Reconstruction.”Boston Globe
Two remarkable lives, previously lost, emerge with startling clarity, largely through the words of the principal actors themselves.” William Grimes, New York Times
[The] narratives are powerful and poignant and help to fill in the cracks of history in voices too rarely heard . . . Readers will . . . be powerfully grateful.” Christian Science Monitor
By editing and elaborating upon these striking autobiographies, David Blight has done an inestimable service to historians.”New York Review of Books
Table of Contents
The Rappahannock Riverand#160;and#160;17
The Logic and the Trump of Jubileeand#160;and#160;128
John M. Washington, and#147;Memorys of the Pastand#8221;and#160;and#160;165
Wallace Turnage, and#147;Journal of Wallace Turnageand#8221;and#160;and#160;213
Appendix: John Washington,
and#147;The Death of Our Little Johnnieand#8221;and#160;and#160;259