Freeman

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Agate Publishing, May 8, 2012 - Fiction - 432 pages
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Freeman, the new novel by Leonard Pitts, Jr., takes place in the first few months following the Confederate surrender and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Upon learning of Lee's surrender, Sam--a runaway slave who once worked for the Union Army--decides to leave his safe haven in Philadelphia and set out on foot to return to the war-torn South. What compels him on this almost-suicidal course is the desire to find his wife, the mother of his only child, whom he and their son left behind 15 years earlier on the Mississippi farm to which they all "belonged."

At the same time, Sam's wife, Tilda, is being forced to walk at gunpoint with her owner and two of his other slaves from the charred remains of his Mississippi farm into Arkansas, in search of an undefined place that would still respect his entitlements as slaveowner and Confederate officer.

The book's third main character, Prudence, is a fearless, headstrong white woman of means who leaves her Boston home for Buford, Mississippi, to start a school for the former bondsmen, and thus honor her father’s dying wish.

At bottom, Freeman is a love story--sweeping, generous, brutal, compassionate, patient--about the feelings people were determined to honor, despite the enormous constraints of the times. It is this aspect of the book that should ensure it a strong, vocal, core audience of African-American women, who will help propel its likely critical acclaim to a wider audience. At the same time, this book addresses several themes that are still hotly debated today, some 145 years after the official end of the Civil War. Like Cold Mountain, Freeman illuminates the times and places it describes from a fresh perspective, with stunning results. It has the potential to become a classic addition to the literature dealing with this period. Few other novels so powerfully capture the pathos and possibility of the era particularly as it reflects the ordeal of the black slaves grappling with the promise--and the terror--of their new status as free men and women.
 

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Contents

Chapter 1
1
Chapter 2
14
Chapter 3
25
Chapter 4
37
Chapter 5
51
Chapter 6
62
Chapter 7
72
Chapter 8
84
Chapter 22
240
Chapter 23
246
Chapter 24
258
Chapter 25
267
Chapter 26
278
Chapter 27
290
Chapter 28
305
Chapter 29
312

Chapter 9
93
Chapter 10
104
Chapter 11
116
Chapter 12
126
Chapter 13
138
Chapter 14
148
Chapter 15
158
Chapter 16
175
Chapter 17
185
Chapter 18
196
Chapter 19
207
Chapter 20
210
Chapter 21
225
Chapter 30
319
Chapter 31
329
Chapter 32
337
Chapter 33
343
Chapter 34
350
Chapter 35
360
Chapter 36
375
Chapter 37
385
Chapter 38
389
Acknowledgments
403
About the Author
407
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Leonard Pitts, Jr. was born and raised in Southern California and now lives in suburban Washington, DC, with his wife and children. He is a columnist for the Miami Herald and won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, in addition to many other awards. He is also the author of the novel Before I Forget (Agate Bolden, 2009); the collection Forward From this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009, Daily Triumphs, Tragedies, and Curiosities (Agate Bolden, 2009); and Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood (Agate Bolden, 2006).

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