Flee North: A Forgotten Hero and the Fight for Freedom in Slavery’s Borderland

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The Underground Railroad aided the abolitionist cause by providing aid and shelter to slaves fleeing oppressive captivity. Thomas Smallwood was a former slave who lived in Maryland but was able to liberate himself by purchasing his freedom. He empathized with the plight of those still in bondage. The importation of slaves had been banned in 1808. However, this didn’t stop people like Hope Slatter from exploiting the African Americans who wound up under his supervision. Slatter brazenly ran a racket where captured slaves and free individuals were auctioned off to the highest bidder. Smallwood and his associate Charles Torrey differed from fellow abolitionists in hoping to show the slaveholders the error of their ways. The pair sought a more nuanced and proactive approach, one where slaves could gain their freedom immediately and flee to a place with few restrictions.

Flee North is an exceptional historical biography that explores the increasingly volatile antebellum United States. Smallwood and Torrey are two clearly fascinating individuals who openly seek to overthrow an intolerable status quo. Author Scott Shane (Dismantling Utopia) has written an eye-opening work that adds new information to the archive of material surrounding the Underground Railroad.

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Author Scott Shane
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 352 pages
Publisher Celadon Books
Publish Date 19-Sep-2023
ISBN 9781250843210 Buy this Book
Issue October 2023
Category History