From Publishers Weekly
"He carried his wife to freedom on his scarred and beaten back - that's really all you need to know about John Little." But journalist DeRamus reveals more about Little and a dozen or so others in this uplifting and sometimes heartbreaking look at love during the U.S.'s slavery years. Employing newspaper articles, unpublished memoirs and reminiscences, oral histories, slave narratives, census data and other sources, not to mention a dramatic, novelistic narrative voice, DeRamus profiles couples - slave and free, black and white - who risked everything to be together. Slaves Ellen and William Craft escaped to the North by posing as a master (Ellen, with her "creamy color," played a white man) and his man (William was "the slave who cut up her meat and warmed her flannels"). James Smith was an escaped slave who spent 17 years traveling from Virginia to Canada in search of his beloved wife, and Lucy Millard was a white preacher's daughter who fell in love with Isaac Berry, a slave. "[N]ot all of these true tales end in triumph," DeRamus warns, but they are all riveting - if sometimes told in overdone prose. DeRamus and her subjects do the valuable service of reminding readers what it means to be courageous enough to love "in sickness and in health, [and] in war and peace as well." Illus
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Debunking one of the myths used to justify separating families during slavery, de Ramus offers a collection of stories recording the love and devotion of slave couples, many of whom risked their lives to stay together. Because families could be divided on the whim or financial woes of masters, real love was a luxury, a forbidden fruit. Drawing from historical records, unpublished memoirs, newspaper accounts, and stories passed down through families, de Ramus tells of couples fleeing the South via the Underground Railroad to attain freedom and to maintain their unity. She recounts the story of a young slave girl who travels inside a wooden chest to her beloved, while a young white woman and an enslaved man travel separately and meet in Canada. Free black men and women occasionally relinquished their freedom to chance remaining with their loved ones. De Ramus recalls couples, from the Deep South to the upper reaches of Michigan, facing mobs and bounty hunters in their efforts to stay together, adding a new perspective to the history of American slavery. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved