In Search of the Promised Land A Slave Family in the Old South

ISBN-10: 0195160886
ISBN-13: 9780195160888
Edition: 2005
List price: $19.95 Buy it from $4.14
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Description: The matriarch of a remarkable African American family, Sally Thomas went from being a slave on a tobacco plantation, to a "virtually free" slave who ran her own business and purchased one of her sons out of bondage. In Search of the Promised Land  More...

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Book details

List price: $19.95
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 2/23/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 304
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.968
Language: English

The matriarch of a remarkable African American family, Sally Thomas went from being a slave on a tobacco plantation, to a "virtually free" slave who ran her own business and purchased one of her sons out of bondage. In Search of the Promised Land offers a vivid portrait of the extended Thomas-Rapier family and of the life of slaves before the Civil War. Based on family letters as well as an autobiography by one of Thomas's sons, this remarkable piece of detective work follows a singular group as they walk the boundary between slave and free, traveling across the country in search of a "promised land" where African Americans would be treated with respect. Their record of these journeys provides a vivid picture of antebellum America, stretching from New Orleans to St. Louis, from the Overland Trail to the California Gold Rush, and fromCivil War battles to steamboat adventures. John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger weave a compelling narrative that illuminates the larger themes of slavery and freedom. To a remarkable degree, this small family experienced the full gamut of slavery, witnessing everything from the breakup of slavefamilies, brutal punishment, and runaways, to miscegenation, insurrection panics, and slave patrols. They also illuminate the hidden lives of " virtually free" slaves, who maintained close relationships with whites, maneuvered within the system, and gained a large measure of autonomy. The Thomas-Rapiers were keen observers of the human condition. Through the eyes of this exceptional family and the indomitable black woman who held them together, we witness aspects of human bondage otherwise hidden from view.

The son of an attorney who practiced before the U.S. Supreme Court, John Hope Franklin was born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma on January 2, 1915. He received a B. A. from Fisk University in 1935 and a master's degree in 1936 and a Ph.D. in 1941 from Harvard University. During his career in education, he taught at a numerous institutions including Brooklyn College, Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and Duke University. He also had teaching stints in Australia, China, and Zimbabwe. He has written numerous scholarly works including The Militant South, 1800-1861 (1956); Reconstruction After the Civil War (1961); The Emancipation Proclamation (1963); and The Color Line: Legacy for the 21st Century (1993). His comprehensive history From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans (1947) is generally acknowledged to be the basic survey of African American history. He received numerous awards during his lifetime including the Medal of Freedom in 1995 and the John W. Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanities in 2006. He worked with Thurgood Marshall's team of lawyers in their effort to end segregation in the 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education and participated in the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was president of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Southern Historical Association, and the American Studies Association. He was also a founding member of the Black Academy of Arts and served on the U.S. Commission for UNESCO and the Committee on International Exchange of Scholars. He died of congestive heart failure on March 25, 2009 at the age of 94.

Illustrations
Foreword
Acknowledgments
The Descendants of Sally Thomas
Prologue
Sally Thomas: A Life in Bondage
Virtual Freedom
Sally's Children
Sally's Son James
Sally's Grandchildren: The Rapier Boys
From Slavery to Freedom
The Domestic Slave Trade
James Thomas: The Boyhood Years
Barbershop
Travels in the North and West
Nashville's Black Community
The Changing Attitudes of Whites
A Fugitive Slave in the North
The California Gold Rush
The Epidemic's Shadow
In Search of Canaan
Bound for Nicaragua
The Dilemma of John Rapier Sr.
The Minnesota Territory
Canada West and James Thomas Rapier
The Midwest, Haiti, and Jamaica
Into "Bleeding Kansas"
Steamboating on the Mississippi
John Rapier Jr. in the Caribbean
This Mighty Scourge of War
James Thomas in St. Louis
John Rapier Jr.'s Continuing Odyssey
The War's End
Epilogue
Afterword: Through the Prism of a Black Family
About the Sources
Petitions of Ephraim Foster and James Thomas to the Davidson County Court, 1851
John Rapier Sr. to Richard Rapier, April 8, 1845
John Rapier Jr. to James Thomas, July 28, 1861
Selected Bibliography on Slavery
Index

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