Epic journeys of freedom : runaway slaves of the American Revolution and their global quest for liberty /
Cassandra Pybus.
Boston : Beacon Press, c2006.
xxii, 281 p. ; 24 cm.
080705514X (cloth : acid-free paper)
More Details
Boston : Beacon Press, c2006.
080705514X (cloth : acid-free paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 253-270) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2005-10-17:
During the Revolutionary War, thousands of black slaves served with, and sought refuge from, the British forces in hope of attaining freedom-among them escapees from the plantations of George Washington and Patrick Henry. Australian historian Pybus follows the path some of these former slaves took to London and then "into two bizarre colonial experiments that began in 1787: the Province of Freedom in Sierra Leone on the west coast of Africa, and the penal settlement of Botany Bay on the east coast of Australia." Readers familiar with the American perspective (the escape North, the Liberian settlement) will experience a kaleidoscopic shift through the lens of British history. Pybus's prose is weighted by her "diligent excavation in vast Revolutionary-era archival materials, both American and British." But the ships' logs, muster lists and parish records as well as the newspapers, memoirs and journals she's ploughed through in her successful attempt "to recover the lives of individuals" constitute a significant contribution to contemporary studies of the Black Atlantic. Dauntingly full of minutiae, Pybus's text is made more accessible to the ordinary reader through a biographical appendix that provides brief sketches of the "significant black refugees." (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Choice on 2007-01-01:
During the American Revolution, thousands of slaves liberated themselves by joining and aiding the British. Those who survived the war and were not recaptured by Americans settled in Nova Scotia, the West Indies, or England. Some relocated again as colonizers of Sierra Leone or as convicts sent to Australia in the First Fleet. Pybus's painstaking research, related in vibrant style, sets forth this truly global odyssey of African American freedom seekers, from their escapes from slavery in the 1770s to their final resting places in the early 1800s. The book follows some 30 black men and women, using their stories to illustrate the challenges working-class people faced in achieving independence in both the US and Britain. Ironically, the courage and determination of these ex-slaves to control their fates caused them to be viewed as dangerous rebels by their erstwhile English antislavery allies, particularly in conflict-ridden Sierra Leone. Pybus (Univ. of Tasmania) combines deep research and some judicious speculation to offer a provocative analysis of the problem of freedom in the hierarchical world of the late 18th century as experienced by black American revolutionaries. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers, undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty. T. S. Whitman Mount St. Mary's University
Appeared in Library Journal on 2006-02-01:
This gripping and enlightening book traces the steps of 32 fugitive slaves who fled their American colonial masters at the onset of the American Revolution and sought refuge from the British. Pybus (history, Univ. of Tasmania; The Woman Who Walked to Russia) explains in vivid and eloquent prose how these fugitives struggled for civil and human rights before, during, and after their escapes. Upon arriving in England, some ex-slaves remained in London and strove for a better life for themselves and their families there. Some were unfairly tried for petty crimes and sentenced to banishment to the experimental penal colony established in Australia at Botany Bay, where they faced conditions reminiscent of their slavery in America. Others were exiled to Freetown in West Africa, where they once again struggled for independence. Unfortunately, there are occasional gaps in these stories, but the periodic lack of detail is justifiable owing to the paucity of reliable primary sources available. This is still an impressive and extremely important work. Readers will obtain a much greater understanding of an aspect of the American Revolution that finally gets some much-deserved scholarship. Highly recommended for all libraries.-Douglas King, Univ. of South Carolina, Thomas Cooper Lib., Columbia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, October 2005
Publishers Weekly, October 2005
Library Journal, February 2006
Choice, January 2007
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Table of Contents
Forewordp. ix
Prologuep. xiii
A Note on Sourcesp. xix
Liberty or Deathp. 3
Crossing over to Freedom's Shorep. 21
Marching to Catastrophep. 37
Fleeing the Founding Fathersp. 57
Starving in the Streets of Londonp. 75
Bound for Australia's Fatal Shorep. 89
Relief for London's Black Poorp. 103
Recalcitrant Convicts in New South Walesp. 123
The Province of Freedom in Sierra Leonep. 139
At the End of the World in New South Walesp. 157
Promises Unfulfilled in Sierra Leonep. 169
In Bondage to This Tyrannous Crewp. 183
Epiloguep. 203
Acknowledgmentsp. 207
Biographies of Significant Black Refugeesp. 209
Notesp. 221
Sourcesp. 253
Indexp. 271
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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