“This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the historical reality of the slave experiences. Carbado and Weise have diligently selected narratives that will challenge readers’ presumptions and cut against the mythology that slaves were passive, that mostly men (and not women) ran away, that slaves typically ran North (not South), and that gender and racial passing were rare occurrences. A landmark achievement, The Long Walk to Freedom allows fugitive slaves to speak for themselves—on their own terms and in their own voices.”—Dr. Mary Frances Berry, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania
“The editors step aside and let these remarkable men and women tell their own stories.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Readers will learn more about slavery in the American South from these autobiographical accounts than they could from any textbook.”–Wall Street Journal
Introduction: “I Will Run Away”
Part One: Running to Be Free
One: From A Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper, from American Slavery. With an Appendix, Containing a List of Places Visited by the Author in Great Britain and Ireland and the British Isles; and Other Matter.
Two: From Narrative of James Curry, A Fugitive Slave.
Three: From Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. Written by Himself.
Part Two: Running Because of Family
Four: From Slavery Days in Old Kentucky. A True Story of a Father Who Sold His Wife and Four Children. By One of the Children.
Five: From The Narrative of Bethany Veney: A Slave Woman
Six: From Life and Adventures of Robert, the Hermit of Massachusetts, Who has lived 14 Years in a Cave, secluded from human society. Comprising, An account of his Birth, Parentage, Sufferings, and providential escape from unjust and cruel Bondage in early life—and his reasons for becoming a Recluse.
Part Three: Running Inspired by Religion
Seven: From A Narrative of Some Remarkable Incidents in the Life of Solomon Bayley, Formerly a Slave in the State of Delaware, North America; Written by Himself, and Published for His Benefit; to Which Are Prefixed, a Few Remarks by Robert Hurnard.
Eight: From The Confessions of Nat Turner, the Leader of the Late Insurrection in Southampton, Va.
Nine: From Sunshine and Shadow of Slave Life. Reminiscences as told by Isaac D. Williams to “Tege”
Part Four: Running by Any Means Necessary
Ten: From Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Written by Herself.
Eleven: From Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown, Written by Himself.
Twelve: From Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery.
Historical Afterword: Contextualizing the Runaway Experience: A Brief History of Slavery in America, by Brenda E. Stevenson
About the Editors