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Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom: The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery

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Husband and wife William and Ellen Craft's break from slavery in 1848 was perhaps the most extraordinary in American history. Numerous newspaper reports in the United States and abroad told of how the two -- fair-skinned Ellen disguised as a white slave master and William posing as her servant -- negotiated heart-pounding brushes with discovery while fleeing Macon, Georgia Husband and wife William and Ellen Craft's break from slavery in 1848 was perhaps the most extraordinary in American history. Numerous newspaper reports in the United States and abroad told of how the two -- fair-skinned Ellen disguised as a white slave master and William posing as her servant -- negotiated heart-pounding brushes with discovery while fleeing Macon, Georgia, for Philadelphia and eventually Boston. No account, though, conveyed the ingenuity, daring, good fortune, and love that characterized their flight for freedom better than the couple's own version, published in 1860, a remarkable authorial accomplishment only twelve years beyond illiteracy. Now their stirring first-person narrative and Richard Blackett's excellent interpretive pieces are brought together in one volume to tell the complete story of the Crafts.


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Husband and wife William and Ellen Craft's break from slavery in 1848 was perhaps the most extraordinary in American history. Numerous newspaper reports in the United States and abroad told of how the two -- fair-skinned Ellen disguised as a white slave master and William posing as her servant -- negotiated heart-pounding brushes with discovery while fleeing Macon, Georgia Husband and wife William and Ellen Craft's break from slavery in 1848 was perhaps the most extraordinary in American history. Numerous newspaper reports in the United States and abroad told of how the two -- fair-skinned Ellen disguised as a white slave master and William posing as her servant -- negotiated heart-pounding brushes with discovery while fleeing Macon, Georgia, for Philadelphia and eventually Boston. No account, though, conveyed the ingenuity, daring, good fortune, and love that characterized their flight for freedom better than the couple's own version, published in 1860, a remarkable authorial accomplishment only twelve years beyond illiteracy. Now their stirring first-person narrative and Richard Blackett's excellent interpretive pieces are brought together in one volume to tell the complete story of the Crafts.

30 review for Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom: The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    This is the true story of the narrow escape of William and Ellen Craft, a young married couple, from slavery in Georgia in 1848, written by them in 1860 (though told from William's point of view). Ellen (who was a "quadroon" or one-quarter black, due to masters' tendencies to sleep with their female slaves) was fair-skinned enough to pass for a white person. But since a white woman wouldn't travel attended by a male slave, she and William cut her hair and disguised her as a white man, complete w This is the true story of the narrow escape of William and Ellen Craft, a young married couple, from slavery in Georgia in 1848, written by them in 1860 (though told from William's point of view). Ellen (who was a "quadroon" or one-quarter black, due to masters' tendencies to sleep with their female slaves) was fair-skinned enough to pass for a white person. But since a white woman wouldn't travel attended by a male slave, she and William cut her hair and disguised her as a white man, complete with bandages on her face to hide her lack of whiskers. Because they were both illiterate (it was illegal to teach slaves to read in Georgia), Ellen also had a bandage on her hand to create an excuse for not writing or signing her (his) name. They headed initially for Philadelphia, but knew that they would need to travel farther to be safe from slave hunters. Even though they had enough money for the journey, there were several heart-stopping moments in the narrative as they met people they knew on the train, or were stopped by suspicious officials. It's a story of courage and love between the couple, blatant hypocrisy and hateful behavior by slaveholders and slavery supporters, and some kindly assistance by abolitionists. But mostly William and Ellen were on their own. 5 stars for their actual story, but it's a little tough to wade through at times. William goes off on many digressions while telling his story, and likes to spice it up with old-fashioned poetry. I did love how he called out by name and shamed several pastors and religious leaders for their support of slavery. And it's amazing that he had only learned to write and read twelve years before writing the history of their escape. So 4 stars overall. Free to read online here at Project Gutenberg.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Clif Hostetler

    This book published in 1860 is a first-person telling by a married couple of their harrowing escape from slavery. In 1848 they were able to travel openly by train and steamboat from Macon, Ga to Philadelphia, PA with Ellen dressed in disguise as a white male planter and William as his (i.e. her) personal servant. They were able to get away with it because Ellen was light-skinned and able to pass as a white person. They lived for a while in Boston, but after passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 18 This book published in 1860 is a first-person telling by a married couple of their harrowing escape from slavery. In 1848 they were able to travel openly by train and steamboat from Macon, Ga to Philadelphia, PA with Ellen dressed in disguise as a white male planter and William as his (i.e. her) personal servant. They were able to get away with it because Ellen was light-skinned and able to pass as a white person. They lived for a while in Boston, but after passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 they no longer felt safe in the United States so they moved to England. This book was written while they were living in England. After the Civil War they moved back to Georgia. The narrative includes a lot of diversions to tell about related stories of slavery, the way slaves were treated, and the attitudes of proslavery southerners. The first-person writing is in the voice of William Craft. However, when the account was republished in 1890 both of the Crafts were credited as authors. It is a very sort book and available free on-line. The edition I've attached this review to is not free, however.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Punk

    I found this by way of the Criminal podcast. They did an episode about Ellen and William Craft, two slaves who came up with a plan, and a disguise, and calmly walked out of their servitude in Macon, Georgia, taking a series of trains, boats, and carriages, all the way to Philadelphia—and freedom—in 1848. The podcast said they got a lot of the details from the book the two had written, and that it was available for free from Gutenberg, so I clicked right on through, and found it to be very readab I found this by way of the Criminal podcast. They did an episode about Ellen and William Craft, two slaves who came up with a plan, and a disguise, and calmly walked out of their servitude in Macon, Georgia, taking a series of trains, boats, and carriages, all the way to Philadelphia—and freedom—in 1848. The podcast said they got a lot of the details from the book the two had written, and that it was available for free from Gutenberg, so I clicked right on through, and found it to be very readable with elegant prose, commentary, and humor:Some of the best slaveholders will sometimes give their favourite slaves a few days' holiday at Christmas time; so, after no little amount of perseverance on my wife's part, she obtained a pass from her mistress, allowing her to be away for a few days. The cabinet-maker with whom I worked gave me a similar paper, but said that he needed my services very much, and wished me to return as soon as the time granted was up. I thanked him kindly; but somehow I have not been able to make it convenient to return yet; and, as the free air of good old England agrees so well with my wife and our dear little ones, as well as with myself, it is not at all likely we shall return at present to the "peculiar institution" of chains and stripes.The first-person account is tense and swift. The structure is little rocky, as the Crafts felt it necessary to pause on occasion and build their case against slavery, but the explanation of current law adds necessary context to their story, and was especially helpful for this modern reader. At one point, the authors speak of two million female slaves, and I thought millions? And turned to Google: Between 1525 and 1866, in the entire history of the slave trade to the New World, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage, disembarking in North America, the Caribbean and South America. The Root, Jan 6, 2014Millions. Only about 388,000 were shipped directly to North America, but according to the 1860 census, the population of the United States was 31,443,321; this included 3,953,761 slaves, representing 12.6% of the total population. Millions. I don't know if they ever gave us a number when we covered the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in school, if they did, it didn't stick with me, but that number is hitting me hard today. This story, multiplied by four million. And this is one of the few with a happier ending. After William and Ellen escaped, their owners wrote the president asking for help to retrieve them—the president!—and good old #13 Millard Filmore, who claimed to oppose slavery, "gave instructions for military force to be sent to Boston to assist the officers in making the arrest." Sounds like something our current president would do, overreach and all. In fact, there are a lot of unpleasant parallels to what's going on in the U.S. right now, with families being split up, people arrested and sent away from their homes, and the racism that has never gone away, only gotten further entrenched. If you're interested in reading this, and it's definitely worth a read, I'd recommend listening to the podcast first (or second!), as it provides some background information the book lacks, though nowhere does anyone explain how the Crafts got so much money for their escape from their "little earnings in slavery" that there was still some left once they reached the North.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    It offers more than just the couple's escape to freedom but also several discussions about slavery. Nice. Also focuses on women more than some other narratives. It offers more than just the couple's escape to freedom but also several discussions about slavery. Nice. Also focuses on women more than some other narratives.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Barrow Wilfong

    This book is powerfully and eloquently written by a woman who did not learn to read or write until he was an adult and had escaped the monstrous oppression of slavery. William Craft and his wife, Ellen were slaves in the South, but they determined to escape so they devised an extraordinary plan. Ellen, even though a slave, was as white as her masters, so they decided to dress her like a white man and William would pose as their slave as they traveled to the north. How they attained their liberty i This book is powerfully and eloquently written by a woman who did not learn to read or write until he was an adult and had escaped the monstrous oppression of slavery. William Craft and his wife, Ellen were slaves in the South, but they determined to escape so they devised an extraordinary plan. Ellen, even though a slave, was as white as her masters, so they decided to dress her like a white man and William would pose as their slave as they traveled to the north. How they attained their liberty is as harrowing and suspenseful a tale as any you could hope to read, all the more so because it is true. Many things struck me when reading this story. One, I finally understand where and why the "one drop" rule was invented. For those of you who don't know, the "one drop" rule states that if a person has any black blood in them, even 1/56th or less, any at all, they are legally black. Think how convenient this was for the slave trade. There was so much interbreeding between slave masters and female slaves who many masters obviously viewed as their harem, that an increasing number of slave children were mostly white. In order to justify this, as well as increasing the number of free labor on a plantation, slaves had to be considered black, even if for all practical purposes they were as white as the plantation owners. This also increased the amount of kidnappings among newly arrive immigrants from Europe who, not speaking the language, were sold as slaves as well as poor white families selling their own children into slavery for money. I don't think this part of the history of slavery has been given the attention it is due. What I love about William Ellen Craft's story is their lack of rancor and, more importantly, their discernment between real Christianity and the fake Christianity the slave owners espoused. They used the Bible to justify slavery, yet they conveniently ignore the scripture that said an owner had to free his slaves every seven years, not to mention the strict guidelines as to caring for and not abusing slaves. An abuse that was to be severely punished if exercised. Because of certain laws passed about returning slaves to their owners, even if they were in the north, the Crafts moved to England until after the Civil War. This narrative is short but spellbinding and I highly recommend it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cimone Watson

    Great story! It left me wanting more. I'd like to read more stories of escapes from slavery, and more slave narratives in general. Great story! It left me wanting more. I'd like to read more stories of escapes from slavery, and more slave narratives in general.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sanjana Idnani

    Powerful, saddening, a short book but full of insight, love, and humanity amidst a time in which the greatest crimes against humanity were being committed

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kori ☾

    Why don't we hear about this power couple in school? Oh, I know why.... America was sad that they got BAMBOOZLED by 2 slaves who couldn't read or write. They worked hard to escape not once, BUT TWICE. Oh, I know people were salty. Mr. Craft read them for the filth, he dropped names, and FACTS. His fair skin wife dressed as a man and faked illness just in case she was called out. I was here for it, I rooted for them the entire way through even though I knew they made it. "Our old masters, having Why don't we hear about this power couple in school? Oh, I know why.... America was sad that they got BAMBOOZLED by 2 slaves who couldn't read or write. They worked hard to escape not once, BUT TWICE. Oh, I know people were salty. Mr. Craft read them for the filth, he dropped names, and FACTS. His fair skin wife dressed as a man and faked illness just in case she was called out. I was here for it, I rooted for them the entire way through even though I knew they made it. "Our old masters, having heard how their agents were treated at Boston, wrote to Mr. Filmore, who was then President of the States, to know what he could do to have us sent back to slavery. Mr. Filmore said that we should be returned. He gave instructions for military force to be sent to Boston to assist the officers in making the arrest." Even the president at the time couldn't make anything happen. I felt like I was reading some gossip and sipped my tea slow. Hats off to this power couple who refused to be prisoners in a f****d up society where you are treated worse than dogs because of the color of your skin. So glad these two had a happy ending despite their unfortunate beginning. "I have often seen slaves tortured in every conceivable manner. I have seen him hunted down and torn by bloodhounds. I have seen them shamefully beaten, and branded with hot irons. I have seen them hunted, and even burned alive at the stake, frequently for offences that would be applauded if committed by white persons for similar purposes. In short, it is well known in England, if not all over the world, that the Americans, as a people, are notoriously mean and cruel towards all coloured persons, whether they are bond or free." This was amazing. 10 out of 10. It's free, just do your google search. #couplesgoals

  9. 5 out of 5

    Becky Ankeny

    I had never heard of this memoir until early this month. It is actually written by William Craft, judging from the voice in the story, and it is a stunning, fast-moving narrative of his and his wife's escape from slavery. The narrative highlights several historical facts that play out today as well: a person was considered black if he/she had any black ancestors. Ellen was fathered by her owner, who treated her as a slave and sold her. A slave had no right to self-defense or defense of family me I had never heard of this memoir until early this month. It is actually written by William Craft, judging from the voice in the story, and it is a stunning, fast-moving narrative of his and his wife's escape from slavery. The narrative highlights several historical facts that play out today as well: a person was considered black if he/she had any black ancestors. Ellen was fathered by her owner, who treated her as a slave and sold her. A slave had no right to self-defense or defense of family members, but could defend an owner's livestock or property. Many slaves died under "moderate correction." Slave owners could send their slaves to be punished at a local facility, where not only were they whipped and tortured, but the women were often raped. It was illegal to teach slaves to read, and a woman who did teach her slave to read the Bible was imprisoned for going against God's will. In the "free states," many supported slavery. The Fugitive Slave Act in effect made slavery the dominant law of the land for all of African descent and penalized all who might help slaves find their way to freedom. It was not enough to get to Philadelphia or Boston or even Maine; William and Ellen were safe only when they reached England. It is not difficult to see the tentacles of slavery reaching into our present time.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    I'm glad that the Crafts were able to escape slavery. How sad that when they made it to the North, they were not free in free states -- they had to worry that they would be sent back to the cruel hands of slavery (under the Fugitive Slave Law) even in the free states. They had difficulty obtaining housing and procuring travel tickets in Maine and Canada. I thought Canadians would've been more welcoming. They had to eat their meals in their room and were encouraged to leave the hotel so that othe I'm glad that the Crafts were able to escape slavery. How sad that when they made it to the North, they were not free in free states -- they had to worry that they would be sent back to the cruel hands of slavery (under the Fugitive Slave Law) even in the free states. They had difficulty obtaining housing and procuring travel tickets in Maine and Canada. I thought Canadians would've been more welcoming. They had to eat their meals in their room and were encouraged to leave the hotel so that other guests would not leave. The Crafts had to go to England to be truly free. My heart is heavy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    A polished yet impassioned escaping-slave story, William Craft's narrative is a compelling read. to modern readers, many of these abolitionist tracts are obscured by the festoons of religious pleading and praise that enwrap the hideous shame of slavey. Not here - Craft, while grateful to his Maker for his daring escape, roundly condemns - and names - those so-called Christian ministers who preached the gospel of slavery. Good for him, and shame on them. A polished yet impassioned escaping-slave story, William Craft's narrative is a compelling read. to modern readers, many of these abolitionist tracts are obscured by the festoons of religious pleading and praise that enwrap the hideous shame of slavey. Not here - Craft, while grateful to his Maker for his daring escape, roundly condemns - and names - those so-called Christian ministers who preached the gospel of slavery. Good for him, and shame on them.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lois

    Dated language. Interesting and dry at the same time.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Spencer

    It's a short little book but very appropriate reading for Black History month. It's an eyeopening accounting of a black couple's struggle to be free by escaping from Georgia to Boston in 1848. They worked and saved for two years to establish themselves only to come to the conclusion that because of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 they would have to flee to England. The irony is that Americans fought the Revolutionary War to free themselves from the bondage to oppressive English rule, only to find It's a short little book but very appropriate reading for Black History month. It's an eyeopening accounting of a black couple's struggle to be free by escaping from Georgia to Boston in 1848. They worked and saved for two years to establish themselves only to come to the conclusion that because of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 they would have to flee to England. The irony is that Americans fought the Revolutionary War to free themselves from the bondage to oppressive English rule, only to find that 75 years later they would have to flee back to England to escape the bondage of American slavery.It is a realistic accounting of the language pro-slavery forces used to justify the "peculiar institution". It is less well known that the language was used to incite push back from abolitionists, which acted as oil on a fire. It also emboldened other supporters to lash out at anti-slavery forces. It is a pattern to we see repeated today by racists and bigots everywhere. History is not kind to the clergy and the churches that provided cover for the pro-slavery forces. And once freed from the bondage of slavery in the South, we see that the Carters also had to face Northern racism and white supremacy. There is a happy ending though— they lived in relative peace in England for another 20 years.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Natalie R

    This has been my least favorite narrative so far. It’s solely about their escape but it’s so muddles by their citation of laws and quotes by reverends and constant stories about other slaves escaping that don’t really have much to do with them personally, if you get what I mean, which made it really hard for me to connect with this one. While I find the Crafts extremely interesting, strong, and inspiring, their narrative fell rather flat for me. Their story is amazing but I don’t feel like this This has been my least favorite narrative so far. It’s solely about their escape but it’s so muddles by their citation of laws and quotes by reverends and constant stories about other slaves escaping that don’t really have much to do with them personally, if you get what I mean, which made it really hard for me to connect with this one. While I find the Crafts extremely interesting, strong, and inspiring, their narrative fell rather flat for me. Their story is amazing but I don’t feel like this book did it justice. Also, I think my review is heavily influenced by the fact that Ellen was not the woman she was portrayed as in the narrative. William (who apparently wrote the narrative, although it has been majorly speculated that Ellen did most of the writing) makes her SUPER feminine and coy and feeble and delicate when the real Ellen was strong and ready to do what was best for them and was kind of the one who was running the show. Yeah, not a fan of the portrayal of Ellen.

  15. 5 out of 5

    John

    Really a fascinating read. Some of the things I found most interesting were: 1. The blurred racial lines, even back then, when slavery was "solid." 2. The blurred religious lines (a slave owner admitting her slave was more religious than her and had a positive influence on her spirituality, for example). 3. The irony of the slaves' need to escape to England for true freedom. I read this book as a free ebook on Google Books: http://tinyurl.com/bygkcg Really a fascinating read. Some of the things I found most interesting were: 1. The blurred racial lines, even back then, when slavery was "solid." 2. The blurred religious lines (a slave owner admitting her slave was more religious than her and had a positive influence on her spirituality, for example). 3. The irony of the slaves' need to escape to England for true freedom. I read this book as a free ebook on Google Books: http://tinyurl.com/bygkcg

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Short but some powerful stories. This will be interesting to anyone who wants to know more about the escape of William and Ellen Craft (though I did wonder how they saved enough money to cover all their travel expenses) and I can also imagine a teacher pulling a few passages to use in the classroom. Personally, I especially liked the critiques of American and Christian hypocrisy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Zartman

    This book both enlightened and grieved me, for it pointed out the horrible plight of slaves and how wickedly out country treated them in the early years of our nation as no other book I have read has done. William and Ellen Craft displayed tremendous courage, faith, creativity, and desperation in their flight to freedom, and the book is well worth reading. They write in a florid style and love to moralize and include quotes to describe or validate their statements, all of which slows the story. This book both enlightened and grieved me, for it pointed out the horrible plight of slaves and how wickedly out country treated them in the early years of our nation as no other book I have read has done. William and Ellen Craft displayed tremendous courage, faith, creativity, and desperation in their flight to freedom, and the book is well worth reading. They write in a florid style and love to moralize and include quotes to describe or validate their statements, all of which slows the story. This accurately reflects the writing style of their time, however, and aided my understanding of their situation. Their account of ministers preaching falsehoods from the pulpit to justify mistreatment of anyone who had ancestral ties to Africa horrified me, but it also helped me grasp the depth and complexity of race relations today. I thank God that slavery has been abolished in our land, and pray that he will grant us wisdom to heal the rifts that remain today from the false teaching and wicked attitudes of our past.

  18. 5 out of 5

    ELIZABETH

    Not sure quite how to rate this one. Wouldn't have picked it up without it being a book club selection. Felt timely to be reading it now, though. The forward was essentially a scholarly article that stole the thunder of most of the book, which was really unfortunate. But it also did raise some really interesting points about William and Ellen's escape and why it isn't well known today along side of Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman. I don't feel like I should really criticize the writing, bei Not sure quite how to rate this one. Wouldn't have picked it up without it being a book club selection. Felt timely to be reading it now, though. The forward was essentially a scholarly article that stole the thunder of most of the book, which was really unfortunate. But it also did raise some really interesting points about William and Ellen's escape and why it isn't well known today along side of Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman. I don't feel like I should really criticize the writing, being what it is, but it definitely read more as a quick telling of some facts as opposed to reading their story. Even without embellishments, it could have been written in a more engaging form. But again, that wasn't exactly the point. It just speaks to my rating/enjoyment of it. It took almost no time to read, and I'm happy to know their story.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarai

    This is a very interesting true tale of a couple who escaped slavery. The wife dressed as a wealthy white man and her husband pretended to be her servant. It's an amazing story that should be read. Book description: This compelling narrative offers a firsthand account of a couple's remarkable flight from slavery in the antebellum South. William and Ellen Craft devised a daring plan in which the light-skinned wife disguised herself as a man and the husband posed as her servant. This brief memoir re This is a very interesting true tale of a couple who escaped slavery. The wife dressed as a wealthy white man and her husband pretended to be her servant. It's an amazing story that should be read. Book description: This compelling narrative offers a firsthand account of a couple's remarkable flight from slavery in the antebellum South. William and Ellen Craft devised a daring plan in which the light-skinned wife disguised herself as a man and the husband posed as her servant. This brief memoir recounts their journey northward in 1848, when they made their way to Philadelphia and later settled in Boston, where they were active in abolitionist circles. Originally published in 1860, the Crafts' account of their escape was an immediate success. Their story offers fascinating insights into issues of race, gender, and class in nineteenth-century America.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Alper

    I’m not about to start quoting this book, but it is brilliant, and presents many examples of slaver rhetoric that one can still hear today in the most unexpected places. I was struck by the truth behind the stories told in this book. The thought occurred to me that when your workers are your property and require no compensation, you may devote your time to crafting extremely devilish and compelling sophistry, to bend the will of the common man towards your extremely biased and immoral way of thi I’m not about to start quoting this book, but it is brilliant, and presents many examples of slaver rhetoric that one can still hear today in the most unexpected places. I was struck by the truth behind the stories told in this book. The thought occurred to me that when your workers are your property and require no compensation, you may devote your time to crafting extremely devilish and compelling sophistry, to bend the will of the common man towards your extremely biased and immoral way of thinking. In support of this idea is the fact that Southern culture was utterly devoted to the containment of slaves. Their 1000 mile run was no cake walk, even with a perfectly convincing white owner on hand at all times.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Matt Sautman

    As a book in the slave narrative genre, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom stands out amongst other prominent narratives in this genre that I have read despite their book’s brief length. The fact that this is a memoir that is written by a couple fleeing slavery together is interesting in itself, but because the Crafts ran away through Ellen crossdressing as a white male slave master, this text plays with identity in a way that I hadn’t expected. Although this text clearly is more oriented towa As a book in the slave narrative genre, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom stands out amongst other prominent narratives in this genre that I have read despite their book’s brief length. The fact that this is a memoir that is written by a couple fleeing slavery together is interesting in itself, but because the Crafts ran away through Ellen crossdressing as a white male slave master, this text plays with identity in a way that I hadn’t expected. Although this text clearly is more oriented towards Black studies scholars and Americanists, there is at least some value here for gender studies scholars as well.

  22. 4 out of 5

    mica

    I'm not really sure what to say about this - it is a pretty short, but to the point narrative of a married couple making their escape from slavery in the southern states in the early 19th century. It is narrated from the perspective of William Craft (and was officially published under his name alone, although modern copies credit both of them), and follows how he and his wife, Ellen Craft, disguise themselves as a slave and a young white man who "owns" him to allow them to travel to freedom. It I'm not really sure what to say about this - it is a pretty short, but to the point narrative of a married couple making their escape from slavery in the southern states in the early 19th century. It is narrated from the perspective of William Craft (and was officially published under his name alone, although modern copies credit both of them), and follows how he and his wife, Ellen Craft, disguise themselves as a slave and a young white man who "owns" him to allow them to travel to freedom. It is, of course, an old book, so the language is a little archaic, but I think it's well worth the time it takes to read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Stokes

    Slavery told from the experience of the Enslaved Although this is a short read it took me some time to finish bc of the subject matter. I've read a few autobiographies of enslaved people, where the evil atrocities of slavery are vividly depicted, and very hard to read and envision. The courage this couple summed up in order to live life on there on terms is something God made. Until this country accurately acknowledges and make as right as possible for what was done to, and taken away from Blacks Slavery told from the experience of the Enslaved Although this is a short read it took me some time to finish bc of the subject matter. I've read a few autobiographies of enslaved people, where the evil atrocities of slavery are vividly depicted, and very hard to read and envision. The courage this couple summed up in order to live life on there on terms is something God made. Until this country accurately acknowledges and make as right as possible for what was done to, and taken away from Blacks for hundreds of years nothing will be right. In fact if we can't come together as a nation, I foresee a 2nd Civil War.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Edwina Putney

    Intriguing and heart-pounding recount of the extraordinary planning, harrowing dangers, and numerous obstacles that William and Ellen Craft encountered on their escape from slavery in Georgia to freedom in Philadelphia and Boston. But reaching free states became insufficient after passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, so once again, the numerous obstacles to their escape to Halifax, Nova Scotia and then England are filled with frustration and veiled prejudice. This was an excellent memoir t Intriguing and heart-pounding recount of the extraordinary planning, harrowing dangers, and numerous obstacles that William and Ellen Craft encountered on their escape from slavery in Georgia to freedom in Philadelphia and Boston. But reaching free states became insufficient after passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, so once again, the numerous obstacles to their escape to Halifax, Nova Scotia and then England are filled with frustration and veiled prejudice. This was an excellent memoir that I highly recommend.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Courageous I so much wish this was a book of fiction . And in today's climate , I can't even have an ounce of disbelief. It breaks my heart to feel that while our country's shameful engagement of slavery is long over, many of the same illogical, inhuman, disgusting prejudices still exist today. The courage it took for those who attempted, successfully or not, to escape the horror of slavery is astounding to me. I'm thankful to be able to read about it from a first hand account. Courageous I so much wish this was a book of fiction . And in today's climate , I can't even have an ounce of disbelief. It breaks my heart to feel that while our country's shameful engagement of slavery is long over, many of the same illogical, inhuman, disgusting prejudices still exist today. The courage it took for those who attempted, successfully or not, to escape the horror of slavery is astounding to me. I'm thankful to be able to read about it from a first hand account.

  26. 4 out of 5

    John Stanifer

    I read this pre-Civil War slave narrative after hearing one of the authors' descendants speak at a local MLK tribute event. The narrative, though short, is absolutely riveting (and is slated to be a movie in the next few years, apparently). Co-written by a husband and wife who escaped from slavery together, the wife's skin was light enough that they decided the best way to escape was for her to pass herself off as her husband's "master." I don't know how they ever made it, but God bless them! Insp I read this pre-Civil War slave narrative after hearing one of the authors' descendants speak at a local MLK tribute event. The narrative, though short, is absolutely riveting (and is slated to be a movie in the next few years, apparently). Co-written by a husband and wife who escaped from slavery together, the wife's skin was light enough that they decided the best way to escape was for her to pass herself off as her husband's "master." I don't know how they ever made it, but God bless them! Inspiring and incredible true story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Roberts

    This is one of the prominent memoirs. It's also interesting because the story of the Crafts occurred during the 1850's and was one of the Boston vigilance committee rescues via sending them immediately to Great Britain. It's always ironic and bitter to read true stories that intersect with the cultural problems the South had/has. History does not deal in lies, however. The truth must be known. Especially now. This is one of the prominent memoirs. It's also interesting because the story of the Crafts occurred during the 1850's and was one of the Boston vigilance committee rescues via sending them immediately to Great Britain. It's always ironic and bitter to read true stories that intersect with the cultural problems the South had/has. History does not deal in lies, however. The truth must be known. Especially now.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    This novel from the late 1800s ABSOLUTELY SHOULD be REQUIRED reading in schools. The story of how William and Ellen Craft came to be as well as their plan to (and manner of) escape was ingenius, and they were unbelieveably lucky to not only NOT be caught, but find many who helped them to freedom. I downloaded this novel for free from Project Gutenberg after this couple were mentioned by Roy Wood Jr. in his segment "CP Time" on "The Daily Show". This novel from the late 1800s ABSOLUTELY SHOULD be REQUIRED reading in schools. The story of how William and Ellen Craft came to be as well as their plan to (and manner of) escape was ingenius, and they were unbelieveably lucky to not only NOT be caught, but find many who helped them to freedom. I downloaded this novel for free from Project Gutenberg after this couple were mentioned by Roy Wood Jr. in his segment "CP Time" on "The Daily Show".

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karen French

    Page turner If they made a movie about this book people would be on the edge of their seats with suspense! Hurray for the Crafts for outsmarting all those white people and escaping in disguise and reaching freedom. What amazing, brave people they were, so unlike the white trash that enslaved and mistreated them ( and I say that as a white person). Thank you to every person who assisted and cared for them on their harrowing journey.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    One of those books that I read in graduate school, ... and then I remember that this was 25 years ago. I’m really glad that I reread this narrative! A captivating slave narrative, focusing on the Crafts' daring escape while also discussing current laws, spiritual arguments for and against slavery, and the racist attitudes of so many whites in the South, the North, and Canada. I’m wrestling with whether this narrative is teachable to HS students. It absolutely highlights black agency and family and One of those books that I read in graduate school, ... and then I remember that this was 25 years ago. I’m really glad that I reread this narrative! A captivating slave narrative, focusing on the Crafts' daring escape while also discussing current laws, spiritual arguments for and against slavery, and the racist attitudes of so many whites in the South, the North, and Canada. I’m wrestling with whether this narrative is teachable to HS students. It absolutely highlights black agency and family and will to freedom and ongoing activism ... but it also uses “the n-word” a lot, always in the mouth of white racists whom the author and audience scorn, but still, it’s there.

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