An eloquent publication to accompany the opening of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
Few American stories have such staying power as the tales of courageous slaves escaping from bondage through a rudimentary network of hiding places and way stations. These stories of enormous risk, of black leadership and white cooperation, of many thousands of journeys to freedom, have become a part of American historical consciousness. How much of the great story of the Underground Railroad is real, how much is legend and mythology, and how much is verifiable? Passages to Freedom is the single-best illustrated treatment of slavery, abolitionism, and emancipation, and seeks to answer these very questions. Artfully displaying illustrations and artifacts together with essays by leading American historians, the book explores the wealth of lore about the Underground Railroad that grew in the national culture after emancipation. Both the text and images examine why these stories endure—and need to endure—in our American culture. 78 color, 174 b/w photographs.
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David W. Blight is professor of history at Yale University. His books include Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory and Frederick Douglass's Civil War.
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