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Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom (2023)

av Ilyon Woo

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3921865,544 (4.13)12
The remarkable true story of Ellen and William Craft, who escaped slavery through daring, determination, and disguise, with Ellen passing as a wealthy, disabled White man and William posing as "his" slave. In 1848, a year of international democratic revolt, a young, enslaved couple, Ellen and William Craft, achieved one of the boldest feats of self-emancipation in history. Posing as master and slave, while sustained by their love as husband and wife, they made their escape together across more than 1,000 miles, riding steamboats, carriages, and trains that took them from bondage in Georgia to the free states of the North. Along the way, they dodged slave traders, military officers, and even friends of their enslavers, who might have revealed their true identities. The tale of their adventure soon made them celebrities, and generated headlines around the country. Audiences could not get enough of this charismatic young couple, who travelled the country drawing thunderous applause as they spoke alongside some of the greatest abolitionists of the day. But even then, they were not out of danger. With the passage of an infamous new Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, all Americans became accountable for returning refugees like the Crafts to slavery. Then yet another adventure began, as the Crafts fled to England to embark upon a new life. With three epic journeys compressed into one monumental bid for freedom, Master Slave Husband Wife recounts both a ground-breaking quest for liberty and justice, and an unforgettable love story.… (mer)
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» Se även 12 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 17 (nästa | visa alla)
Reason read: I chose to read this because it won a Biography Pulitzer winner this year (2024). The author is Ilyon Woo, An American author who chose to write this as narrative nonfiction. At the end of the book she explains her purpose in using narrative, what is factual and what may or may not be factual. The characters were real people who did write a story about their experience; William and Ellen Craft. They not only escaped slavery in Georgia but also managed to make it to Philadelphia, Canada, England, Africa. It also covers the history of slavery, the history of the Fugitive Slave Act and explores abolitionism. The Crafts could not be safe even in the north. The author explains her research well and I wish I had read that before reading the book. I believe she started researching this couple while in college but she did not want it to read like research. It is easy to engage initially but I don't think the second half was as engaging as the first part. Was this a work of appropriation by an American/Korean academic? I liked Ellen more than I did William. Is this because she could pass? Even the people who knew them seem to be drawn to Ellen and not so much to William. A thought provoking book. ( )
  Kristelh | Jun 2, 2024 |
True story of the escape of enslaved people, William and Ellen Craft, from Macon, Georgia to Philadelphia, Boston, Cananda, and the United Kingdom.

This was so eye opening. I had never heard this story. I liked it. I liked how we got the story of the Crafts and their escape. I also liked there was unknown history given. I knew some of the "big" names that helped or hindered this couple. I liked learning about the others who helped them who history has forgotten.

Their escape was remarkable as they leave with Ellen dressing as a wealthy young man who is sickly, and William is her slave. I also liked that the route was given as well as the methods used. I also liked how everything of the pre-Civil War era is shown and how it does or may impact them. I also liked that their enslavers are not forgotten in the story. This is a full, rich story.

Their escape to Canada and the difficulties they ran into are described. Their arrival in Liverpool and meeting up again with William Bell Brown is given as well as what was happening in the United Kingdom during this period. I liked the part with the World's Fair and how those who support slavery cannot speak out about it.

I also liked that I saw a new perspective of how the North and the United Kingdom were as complicit in slavery as the South. The South may have practiced it, but the North participated in it through cotton, manufacturing, and trade. I did not realize how intertwined the North and South were through business, schooling, and friendships. Some of it I knew but not the extent of it. It makes me rethink what I was taught in school.

I am glad I read this. Everyone should including school children. It changed how I saw the North, South, and Civil War. ( )
  Sheila1957 | Apr 20, 2024 |
This is one of those special books that most likely won’t have a wide audience because the main subjects of the book, Ellen and William Craft, are obscure players in the slave story. Their story, nonetheless, is every bit as important and interesting as any story of slaves who ran to their freedom. In fact, their story is more exciting than most because of the clever nature of their scheme. Enough said. Read for yourself to hear what the scheme entailed. The only thing that bothered me about this book is the amount of language like “could have,” “might have,” since much of what Woo reports is speculative, some of it with little evidence that it actually happened. That is the nature of historical nonfiction these days. I guess it’s what is required to make sure readers keep turning the pages. That said, this is definitely an important history book, one well worth the time to read it. ( )
  FormerEnglishTeacher | Mar 22, 2024 |
Ellen and William Craft, an enslaved couple from Georgia, hatch a unique plot to escape their enslavement: Ellen conceals herself as a wealthy white young man with William posing as the young man's slave.
The bulk of the narrative is not taken up by the actual flight, but rather what happens afterwards in a historical perspective of the abolitionist movement, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the American Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation.
Reaching the North (namely Pennsylvania in this case and then Boston) was not a guarantee of freedom. The Crafts ultimately had to go all the way to England to be out of the reach of enslavers.

Reading this account by Ilyon Woo has prompted me to track down the primary source of this slave narrative by the actual subjects: Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom by William and Ellen Craft. ( )
  deslivres5 | Mar 3, 2024 |
[Master Slave Husband Wife] is an interesting look at one couple's journey from being enslaved in Georgia in the 1800s through their escape and life after slavery. William and Ellen Craft are enslaved in Macon, Georgia. They are both highly skilled, William in cabinet-making and Ellen as a seamstress and house maid. They are owned by different people, but have enough range of motion because of their skills that they meet and fall in love. They both have experienced losing family members as they are sold to different owners and decide that their only path forward is to attempt escape. They come up with an ingenious idea in 1848, before the Underground Railroad is in full swing. Ellen, who looks white, will dress as a wealthy white man, also feigning illness to help keep her distance from others. William will travel as "his" slave. They say they are traveling to Philadelphia for medical treatment. The first third of the book details their escape.

Next they try to settle in Boston, but the Fugitive Slave Act, which allows enslavers to reclaim their "property" in the North puts them in peril. They have been highly visible, telling their story of escape to abolitionist groups. They try to continue this work in the North, but have to flee to England. There they continue telling their story and begin to settle, starting a family. After the Civil War, they return to the U.S., but, as we all know, the Civil War and emancipation did not mean life was all of a sudden easy or fair for Black Americans.

This book does a great job of telling Ellen and William Craft's story and including the politics of the time and other famous figures without overshadowing their lives. I found it fascinating and readable. ( )
1 rösta japaul22 | Feb 25, 2024 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (1 möjlig)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Ilyon Wooprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Edwards, JaninaBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Nixon, LeonBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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The remarkable true story of Ellen and William Craft, who escaped slavery through daring, determination, and disguise, with Ellen passing as a wealthy, disabled White man and William posing as "his" slave. In 1848, a year of international democratic revolt, a young, enslaved couple, Ellen and William Craft, achieved one of the boldest feats of self-emancipation in history. Posing as master and slave, while sustained by their love as husband and wife, they made their escape together across more than 1,000 miles, riding steamboats, carriages, and trains that took them from bondage in Georgia to the free states of the North. Along the way, they dodged slave traders, military officers, and even friends of their enslavers, who might have revealed their true identities. The tale of their adventure soon made them celebrities, and generated headlines around the country. Audiences could not get enough of this charismatic young couple, who travelled the country drawing thunderous applause as they spoke alongside some of the greatest abolitionists of the day. But even then, they were not out of danger. With the passage of an infamous new Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, all Americans became accountable for returning refugees like the Crafts to slavery. Then yet another adventure began, as the Crafts fled to England to embark upon a new life. With three epic journeys compressed into one monumental bid for freedom, Master Slave Husband Wife recounts both a ground-breaking quest for liberty and justice, and an unforgettable love story.

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