Epic Journeys of Freedom: Runaway Slaves of the American Revolution and Their Global Quest for Liberty

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Beacon Press, 2006 - History - 281 pages
4 Reviews
Cassandra Pybus adds greatly to the work of [previous] scholars by insisting that slaves stand at the center of their own history . . . Her 'biographies' of flight expose the dangers that escape entailed and the courage it took to risk all for freedom. Only by measuring those dangers can the exhilaration of success be comprehended and the unspeakable misery of failure be appreciated.--Ira Berlin, from the Foreword
During the American Revolution, thousands of slaves fled their masters to find freedom with the British. "Epic Journeys of Freedom" is the astounding story of these runaways and the lives they made on four continents. Having emancipated themselves, with the rhetoric about the inalienable rights of free men ringing in their ears, these men and women struggled tenaciously to make liberty a reality in their own lives.
This alternative narrative of freedom fought for and won is uniquely compelling; historian Cassandra Pybus's groundbreaking research has uncovered individual stories of runaways who left America to forge difficult new lives in far-flung corners of the British Empire. Harry, for example, one of George Washington's slaves, escaped from Mount Vernon in 1776, was evacuated to Nova Scotia in 1783, and eventually relocated to Sierra Leone in West Africa with his wife and three children. Ralph Henry, who ran away from the Virginia firebrand Patrick Henry in 1776, took a similar path to precarious freedom in Sierra Leone, while others, such as John Moseley and John Randall, were evacuated with the British forces to England. Stranded in England without skills or patronage during a period of high unemployment, they were among thousands of newly freed poor blacks who struggled just to survive. While some were relocated to Sierra Leone, others, like Moseley and Randall, found themselves transported to the distant penal colony of Botany Bay, in Australia.
"Epic Journeys of Freedom, " written in the best tradition of history from the bottom up, is a fascinating insight into the meaning of liberty; it will change forever the way we think about the American Revolution.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JBD1 - LibraryThing

Quite an excellent look at Revolutionary-era runaway slaves and their trials and tribulations after Yorktown. Pybus has done very good work here in reconstructing lives of folks whose lives are ... Read full review

Review: Epic Journeys of Freedom: Runaway Slaves of the American Revolution and Their Global Quest for Liberty

User Review  - Goodreads

I am a history buff, and even I found this book excruciating... The narrative was terrible, and the ending non-existent... if I didn't have to write a report on it I would have quit reading after the first chapter. Read full review

Contents

Liberty or Death
3
Crossing over to Freedoms Shore
21
Marching to Catastrophe
37
Fleeing the Founding Fathers
57
Starving in the Streets of London
75
Bound for Australias Fatal Shore
89
Relief for Londons Black Poor
103
Recalcitrant Convicts in New South Wales
123
Promises Unfulfilled in Sierra Leone
169
In Bondage to This Tyrannous Crew
183
Epilogue
203
Acknowledgments
207
Biographies of Significant Black Refugees
209
Notes
221
Sources
253
Index
271

The Province of Freedom in Sierra Leone
139
At the End of the World in New South Wales
157

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About the author (2006)

Cassandra Pybus holds the Australian Research Council Chair of History at the University of Tasmania. An award-winning author who has written ten books, she is a frequent Fulbright professor and international fellow at American universities.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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