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Freedom by Any Means: Con Games, Voodoo…

Freedom by Any Means: Con Games, Voodoo Schemes, True Love and Lawsuits on…

by Betty DeRamus

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Another disturbing, albeit entertaining look at the history of slavery in the USA. The main theme is the Underground Railroad and how escaped slaves and their many helpers tricked and foiled their pursuing owners and slave catchers. Many of the scams were very clever and some down right bold. Still there are those that failed with dire consequences. Some of the stories that centre around love and how men & women did everything in their power to rescue their loved ones from slavery and danger. The final chapter covers some of the heroes of the fight to end Jim Crow laws, many who are generally unknown so by telling us about these men and women, DeRamus does us a great service. This is especially true of Mary Ellen Pleasant whose fascinating life I had never encountered before.

This is a very entertaining read however tighter editing would have removed some of the repetition especially DeRamus's habit of frequently explaining what an UGR conductor was even though their role was explained early in the book.

She has also written another book about the Underground Railroad entitled Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories from the Underground Railroad. ( )
  lamour | Aug 14, 2011 |
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The story of slavery and the African American experience before the Emancipation Proclamation "isn't one story," according to DeRamus, but rather a multitude of stories. This book takes a broad look at the various extraordinary ways that enslaved and dehumanized people achieved freedom and the means to a self-determined life. Drawn from unpublished memoirs, census records, government reports, periodicals, books and much more, this narrative reveals how men and women were willing not just to risk their lives to escape the slave system, but able to use their intelligence and cunning to manipulate the system, outwit slave traders and brave the unknown in order to assert their humanity.--From publisher description.… (more)

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