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Download Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad, by Eric Foner Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Eric Foner Narrator: J. D. Jackson Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The dramatic story of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the law to help them reach freedom.

More than any other scholar, Eric Foner has influenced our understanding of America’s history. Now, making brilliant use of extraordinary evidence, the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian once again reconfigures the national saga of American slavery and freedom.

A deeply entrenched institution, slavery lived on legally and commercially even in the northern states that had abolished it after the American Revolution. Slaves could be found in the streets of New York well after abolition, traveling with owners doing business with the city’s major banks, merchants, and manufacturers. New York was also home to the North’s largest free black community, making it a magnet for fugitive slaves seeking refuge. Slave catchers and gangs of kidnappers roamed the city, seizing free blacks, often children, and sending them south to slavery.

To protect fugitives and fight kidnappings, the city’s free blacks worked with white abolitionists to organize the New York Vigilance Committee in 1835. In the 1840s vigilance committees proliferated throughout the North and began collaborating to dispatch fugitive slaves from the upper South, Washington, and Baltimore, through Philadelphia and New York, to Albany, Syracuse, and Canada. These networks of antislavery resistance, centered on New York City, became known as the underground railroad. Forced to operate in secrecy by hostile laws, courts, and politicians, the city’s underground-railroad agents helped more than 3,000 fugitive slaves reach freedom between 1830 and 1860. Until now, their stories have remained largely unknown, their significance little understood.

Building on fresh evidence—including a detailed record of slave escapes secretly kept by Sydney Howard Gay, one of the key organizers in New York—Foner elevates the underground railroad from folklore to sweeping history. The story is inspiring—full of memorable characters making their first appearance on the historical stage—and significant—the controversy over fugitive slaves inflamed the sectional crisis of the 1850s. It eventually took a civil war to destroy American slavery, but here at last is the story of the courageous effort to fight slavery by “practical abolition,” person by person, family by family.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Illuminating…an invaluable addition to our history.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Compelling…by turns scholarly and gripping.”

    Newsweek

  • “JD Jackson offers a solid, easy-on-the-ears narration of this reexamination of the Underground Railroad. Jackson takes an almost professorial-sounding approach in his tone and cadence. But he’s by no means pedantic. He varies both the pitch of his voice and the pacing to fit the material as well as adding emotion where appropriate. For direct quotes, he pauses just before he reads the quotation, giving the listener clear audible cues about the content. He wisely doesn’t try to give speakers unique vocal characterizations as the quotations often are too short for such a technique to be effective. This book is more scholarly than action filled, and Jackson’s reading makes it easy to follow. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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