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Escape on the Pearl The Heroic Bid for Freedom on the Underground Railroad

ISBN-10: 0060786604

ISBN-13: 9780060786601

Edition: N/A

Authors: Mary Kay Ricks, Mary K. Ricks

List price: $17.99
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On the evening of April 15, 1848, seventy-seven slaves attempted one of history's most audacious escapes-- and put in motion a furiously fought battle over slavery in America that would consume Congress, the streets of the capital, and the White House itself. Setting sail from Washington, D.C., on a schooner named the "Pearl," the fugitives began a daring 225-mile journey to freedom in the North. Mary Kay Ricks's unforgettable chronicle brings to life the Underground Railroad's largest escape attempt, the seemingly immutable politics of slavery, and the individuals who struggled to end it. All the while, Ricks focuses her narrative on the intimate story of two young sisters who were onboard the "Pearl," and sets their struggle for liberation against the powerful historical forces that would nearly tear the country apart. After a terrifyingly calm night, the wind came up as the sun rose the next morning, and the small schooner shot off down the Potomac River. Hours later, stunned owners-- including a former first lady, a shipping magnate, a former congressman, a federal marshal, and a Baptist minister-- raised the alarm. Authorities quickly formed a posse that chased the fugitives down the river. But with a head start and a robust wind that filled their sails, the "Pearl" raced ahead-- unaware that a violent squall was moving into their path and would halt their bid for freedom. "Escape on the Pearl" reveals the incredible odyssey of those who were onboard, including the remarkable lives of fugitives Mary and Emily Edmonson, the two sisters at the heart of the story, who would trade servitude in elite Washington homes for slave pens in three states.Through the efforts of the sisters' father and the northern "conductor" who had helped organize the escape, an abolitionist outcry arose in the North, calling for the two girls to be rescued. Ultimately, Mary and Emily would go on to stand shoulder to shoulder with such abolitionist luminaries as Frederick Douglass and attend Oberlin College under the sponsorship of Harriet Beecher Stowe. A story of courage and determination, "Escape on the Pearl" revives one of the most poignant chapters of U.S. history. The Edmonsons, the other fugitives of the Pearl, and those who helped them can now take their rightful place as American heroes.
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Book details

List price: $17.99
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 1/29/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 464
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

A former attorney at the Department of Labor, Mary Kay Ricks has written about Washington history in numerous publications including the Washington Post . She is the founder of Tour DC (, which features in-depth walking tours in the nation's capital, and lives outside Washington, D.C., with her husband and two children.

Two Young Girls Join an Audacious Escape
Washington's Underground Railroad
Slavery in the Washington Area
Waves in Congress
The Fate of the Edmonsons
Trials and Tribulations
More Legal Maneuvers; the Sisters Head North
The Fugitive Slave Act and the Great Protest Meeting
The Struggle to Free Drayton and Sayres; Mary and Emily Go to Oberlin
Emily Comes Home; Samuel Edmonson Escapes Again
Dred Scott and the Rise of Lincoln
Freedom in the District of Columbia
Emily and Samuel Return to Washington; John Is Found
The Edmonson Farm
The Fugitives