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Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories from the Underground Railroad Hardcover – February 1, 2005
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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 Employing newspaper articles, unpublished memoirs and reminiscences, oral histories, slave narratives, census data and other sources, not to mention a dramatic, novelistic narrative voice, DeRamus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 Drawing from historical records, unpublished memoirs, newspaper accounts, and stories passed down through families, de Ramus tells of couples fleeing the South via the Underground Railroad to attain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 Bush
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Top customer reviews
RED PEPPER" is written about my Father's maternal grandparents. The picture of Lucy E Millard and Issac Berry in Canada on unnumbered page136 is of them. It is very important to me to discover as much as I can about my ancestry and although this chapter tells very little considering their lifetime, it provided me with the insentive to search further and resulted in me learning much more. It provided with the curiosity that started me on the path of searching for information concerning my Mother's ancestry as well.
There were at least two chapters that I connected with through person knowledge; the incident of the Piney Woods School begun by Professor Jones. As a resident of the District of Columbia and a avid listener of Radio One, founded by the great-granddaughter [Kathy Woods Hughes] of the school founder, I had bits and pieces of this period from Ms Hughes while she was an on-air personality during the early days of Radio One. She presented the then headmaster to the public in her support and fundraising efforts annually.
Having been a resident of DC for more than 50 years, I was familiar with the the role that Benjamin Banneker played in the design of Washington DC.
So I found this book fascinating and so so informatative.