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Gateway to Freedom
Cover of Gateway to Freedom
Gateway to Freedom
The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad
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The dramatic story of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the law to help them reach freedom.They are little known to history: Sydney Howard Gay, an abolitionist newspaper editor; Louis Napoleon, a furniture polisher; Charles B. Ray, a black minister. At great risk they operated the underground railroad in New York, a city whose businesses, banks, and politics were deeply enmeshed in the slave economy. In secret coordination with black dockworkers who alerted them to the arrival of fugitives and with counterparts in Norfolk, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Albany, and Syracuse, underground-railroad operatives in New York helped more than 3,000 fugitive slaves reach freedom between 1830 and 1860. Their defiance of the notorious Fugitive Slave Law inflamed the South. White and black, educated and illiterate, they were heroic figures in the ongoing struggle between slavery and freedom.Making brilliant use of fresh evidence-including the meticulous record of slave rescues secretly kept by Gay-Eric Foner elevates the underground railroad from folklore to sweeping history.

The dramatic story of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the law to help them reach freedom.They are little known to history: Sydney Howard Gay, an abolitionist newspaper editor; Louis Napoleon, a furniture polisher; Charles B. Ray, a black minister. At great risk they operated the underground railroad in New York, a city whose businesses, banks, and politics were deeply enmeshed in the slave economy. In secret coordination with black dockworkers who alerted them to the arrival of fugitives and with counterparts in Norfolk, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Albany, and Syracuse, underground-railroad operatives in New York helped more than 3,000 fugitive slaves reach freedom between 1830 and 1860. Their defiance of the notorious Fugitive Slave Law inflamed the South. White and black, educated and illiterate, they were heroic figures in the ongoing struggle between slavery and freedom.Making brilliant use of fresh evidence-including the meticulous record of slave rescues secretly kept by Gay-Eric Foner elevates the underground railroad from folklore to sweeping history.

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About the Author-
  • Eric Foner is the preeminent historian of his generation, highly respected by historians of every stripe—whether they specialize in political history or social history. His books have won the top awards in the profession, and he has been president of both major history organizations: the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians. He has worked on every detail of Give Me Liberty!, which displays all of his trademark strengths as a scholar, teacher, and writer. A specialist on the Civil War/Reconstruction period, he regularly teaches the nineteenth-century survey at Columbia University, where he is DeWitt Clinton Professor of History. Eric's most recent book was a Norton trade book, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, which won the Pulitzer, Lincoln, and Bancroft prizes.

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  • AudioFile Magazine JD Jackson offers a solid, easy-on-the-ears narration of this reexamination of the Underground Railroad. Jackson takes an almost professorial-sounding approach in his tone and cadence. But he's by no means pedantic. He varies both the pitch of his voice and the pacing to fit the material as well as adding emotion where appropriate. For direct quotes, he pauses just before he reads the quotation, giving the listener clear audible cues about the content. He wisely doesn't try to give speakers unique vocal characterizations as the quotations often are too short for such a technique to be effective. This book is more scholarly than action filled, and Jackson's reading makes it easy to follow. R.C.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
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Gateway to Freedom
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The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad
Eric Foner
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