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Mon, Jul 22

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Washington

Scott Shane Author Talk: FLEE NORTH

Join Scott Shane, author of FLEE NORTH: A Forgotten Hero and the Fight for Freedom in Slavery's Borderland for a conversation about his book at a Georgetown home.

Scott Shane Author Talk: FLEE NORTH
Scott Shane Author Talk: FLEE NORTH

Time & Location

Jul 22, 2024, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Washington, Georgetown, Washington, DC 20007, USA

About the event

Scott Shane's FLEE NORTH tells a very local story of both tragedy and triumph. It unearths the lost story of Thomas Smallwood, born into slavery in Maryland, who bought his freedom, educated himself and became a shoemaker in Southwest Washington a half-hour walk from the U.S. Capitol. Smallwood began to organize mass escapes from slavery by the wagonload, with the help of a young white partner, Charles Torrey -- and wrote about the escapes in extraordinary satirical dispatches for an abolitionist newspaper in Albany. It was Smallwood, Scott Shane discovered, who gave the underground railroad its name. But Smallwood's daring operation took place against the dark background of the domestic slave trade, which thrived on Washington's mall and at Baltimore's Inner Harbor, shipping thousands of people every year away from their families to the cotton and sugan plantations of the deep south. The book's third major character, Baltimore's Hope Slatter, was the era's dominant slave trader, operating from his private "slave jail" on Pratt Street.

FLEE NORTH: A Forgotten Hero and the FIght for Freedom in Slavery's Borderland was named one of the best 10 books of 2023 by Publishers Weekly ("This astonishing and propulsive narrative rights a historical wrong by returning [Thomas] Smallwood to prominence. It’s an absolute must-read”) and one of top 20 by Amazon (“Scott Shane’s narrative account is visceral, a stunning feat of historical storytelling as you’re transported into the terrifying life of an enslaved person in 1800s Baltimore"). Henry Louis Gates Jr. called it "riveting" and Taylor Branch called it "a treasure." More at scottshane.org.

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