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William Still: The Underground Railroad and the Angel at Philadelphia

by William C. Kashatus

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251935,276 (4.25)1
William Still coordinated the Eastern Line of the Underground Railroad and was a pillar of the Railroad as a whole. Based in Philadelphia, Still built a reputation as a courageous leader, writer, philanthropist, and guide for fugitive slaves. This monumental work details Still's life story beginning with his parents' escape from bondage in the early nineteenth century and continuing through his youth and adulthood as one of the nation's most important Underground Railroad agents and, later, as an early civil rights pioneer. Still worked personally with Harriet Tubman, assisted the family of John Brown, helped Brown's associates escape from Harper's Ferry after their famous raid, and was a rival to Frederick Douglass among nationally prominent African American abolitionists. Still's life story is told in the broader context of the anti-slavery movement, Philadelphia Quaker and free black history, and the generational conflict that occurred between Still and a younger group of free black activists led by Octavius Catto.… (more)
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Timely Take-Aways for Life-Long Learning

Three recent works of nonfiction focus on America’s history of slavery and evolving narratives regarding acknowledgement of enslaved people.

William Still: The Underground Railroad and the Angel at Philadelphia
William C. Kashatus; April 2021; University of Notre Dame Press/Longleaf
Themes: history, social science, biography, African American & Black Studies
Set within the context of the broader anti-slavery movement, William C. Kashatus tells the compelling story of William Still, a key leader of the Underground Railroad and early civil rights advocate. Of particular note is the detailed database of the 995 runaway slaves who William Still helped escape between 1853 and 1861 which provides priceless information about each individual.

On Juneteenth
Annette Gordon-Reed; May 2021; Liveright/W. W. Norton
Themes: history, social science, memoir, African American & Black Studies
Blending both heart-wrenching and uplifting personal anecdotes about growing up Black in Texas with key historical events and stories, Annette Gordon-Reed takes readers on a journey through history with connections for today.

How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America
Clint Smith; June 2021; Little, Brown and Company/Hachette Book Group
Themes: history, social science, memoir, African American & Black Studies
A travelogue, a memoir, a history, and a powerful reckoning… Clint Smith shares his experiences visiting sites connected with the history of enslaved people from Africa to the United States.

Let’s explore seven timely take-aways for life-long learners:
1. Free black abolitionist William Still coordinated activities of the Eastern Line of the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia. The detailed records kept by Still in the mid-nineteenth century about escaped slaves provide a priceless tool for researchers exploring the African American enslavement experience.
2. Those involved with the anti-slavery and later civil rights movements often disagreed about the best approach to address abolition, the plight of enslaved peoples, and the aftermath of slavery.
3. Juneteenth refers to June 19, 1865. On this date, the news arrived in Galveston Texas proclaiming the end of slavery and defeat of the Confederacy (General Order No. 3).
4. Although long celebrated by Black Texans, Juneteenth has recently become part of the national conversation and ongoing battle to acknowledge the racism and battle for civil rights in America.
5. The nationalist-oriented, conventional narrative of American history comes from a white, English-speaking perspective closing off varied influences and viewpoints.
6. Many historical sites are working toward a more truthful approach to the discussion of enslaved people.
7. While some historical sites are striving to fill the gaps with a more accurate picture of their connection to slavery, others are finding the process of reconciliation a challenge. ( )
  eduscapes | Oct 19, 2021 |
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William Still coordinated the Eastern Line of the Underground Railroad and was a pillar of the Railroad as a whole. Based in Philadelphia, Still built a reputation as a courageous leader, writer, philanthropist, and guide for fugitive slaves. This monumental work details Still's life story beginning with his parents' escape from bondage in the early nineteenth century and continuing through his youth and adulthood as one of the nation's most important Underground Railroad agents and, later, as an early civil rights pioneer. Still worked personally with Harriet Tubman, assisted the family of John Brown, helped Brown's associates escape from Harper's Ferry after their famous raid, and was a rival to Frederick Douglass among nationally prominent African American abolitionists. Still's life story is told in the broader context of the anti-slavery movement, Philadelphia Quaker and free black history, and the generational conflict that occurred between Still and a younger group of free black activists led by Octavius Catto.

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