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Slavery

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  1. 14.6 hrs • 2/20/2016 • Unabridged

    It was the day before Independence Day, 1833. As his bride, Lucie, was about to be sold down the river, Thornton Blackburn planned a daring and successful daylight escape from their Louisville masters. Pursued to Michigan, the couple was captured and sentenced to return to Kentucky in chains. But Detroit’s black community rallied to their cause in the Blackburn Riots of 1833, the first racial uprising in the city’s history. Thornton and Lucie were spirited across the river to Canada, but their safety proved illusory when Michigan’s governor demanded their extradition. Canada’s defense of the Blackburns set the tone for all future diplomatic relations with the United States over the thorny issue of the fugitive slave and confirmed the British colony as the main terminus of the Underground Railroad. The Blackburns settled in Toronto, where they founded the city’s first taxi business, but they never forgot the millions who still suffered in slavery. Working with prominent abolitionists, Thornton and Lucie made their home a haven for runaways. When they died in the 1890s with no descendants to pass on their fascinating tale, it was lost to history—Lost, that is, until archaeologists brought the story of Thornton and Lucie Blackburn again to light.

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    I've Got a Home in Glory Land

    14.6 hrs • 2/20/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    4.2 hrs • 10/1/2015 • Unabridged

    This classic of American literature, a dramatic autobiography of the early life of an American slave, was first published in 1845, when its author had just achieved his freedom. It is a story that shocked the world with its first-hand account of the horrors of slavery. The book was an incredible success. His eloquence gives a clear indication of the powerful principles that led Douglass to become the first great African-American leader in the United States.

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    Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

    4.2 hrs • 10/1/15 • Unabridged
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  3. 9.1 hrs • 1/19/2015 • Unabridged

    The dramatic story of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the law to help them reach freedom. More than any other scholar, Eric Foner has influenced our understanding of America’s history. Now, making brilliant use of extraordinary evidence, the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian once again reconfigures the national saga of American slavery and freedom. A deeply entrenched institution, slavery lived on legally and commercially even in the northern states that had abolished it after the American Revolution. Slaves could be found in the streets of New York well after abolition, traveling with owners doing business with the city’s major banks, merchants, and manufacturers. New York was also home to the North’s largest free black community, making it a magnet for fugitive slaves seeking refuge. Slave catchers and gangs of kidnappers roamed the city, seizing free blacks, often children, and sending them south to slavery. To protect fugitives and fight kidnappings, the city’s free blacks worked with white abolitionists to organize the New York Vigilance Committee in 1835. In the 1840s vigilance committees proliferated throughout the North and began collaborating to dispatch fugitive slaves from the upper South, Washington, and Baltimore, through Philadelphia and New York, to Albany, Syracuse, and Canada. These networks of antislavery resistance, centered on New York City, became known as the underground railroad. Forced to operate in secrecy by hostile laws, courts, and politicians, the city’s underground-railroad agents helped more than 3,000 fugitive slaves reach freedom between 1830 and 1860. Until now, their stories have remained largely unknown, their significance little understood. Building on fresh evidence—including a detailed record of slave escapes secretly kept by Sydney Howard Gay, one of the key organizers in New York—Foner elevates the underground railroad from folklore to sweeping history. The story is inspiring—full of memorable characters making their first appearance on the historical stage—and significant—the controversy over fugitive slaves inflamed the sectional crisis of the 1850s. It eventually took a civil war to destroy American slavery, but here at last is the story of the courageous effort to fight slavery by “practical abolition,” person by person, family by family.

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    Gateway to Freedom

    9.1 hrs • 1/19/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 19.8 hrs • 9/9/2014 • Unabridged

    In The Half Has Never Been Told, historian Edward E. Baptist reveals the alarming extent to which slavery shaped our country politically, morally, and most of all, economically. Until the Civil War, our chief form of innovation was slavery. Through forced migration and torture, slave owners extracted continual increases in efficiency from their slaves, giving the country a virtual monopoly on the production of cotton, a key raw material of the Industrial Revolution. As Baptist argues, this frenzy of speculation and economic expansion transformed the United States into a modern capitalist nation. Based on thousands of slave narratives and plantation records, The Half Has Never Been Told offers not only a radical revision of the history of slavery but a disturbing new understanding of the origins of American power that compels listeners to reckon with the violence and subjugation at the root of American supremacy.

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    The Half Has Never Been Told by Edward E. Baptist

    The Half Has Never Been Told

    19.8 hrs • 9/9/14 • Unabridged
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  5. 13.8 hrs • 9/8/2014 • Unabridged

    Tomlinson Hill is the stunning story of two families—one white, one black—who trace their roots to a slave plantation that bears their name. Internationally recognized for his work as a fearless war correspondent, award-winning journalist Chris Tomlinson grew up hearing stories about his family’s abandoned cotton plantation in Falls County, Texas. Most of the tales lionized his white ancestors for pioneering along the Brazos River. His grandfather often said the family’s slaves loved them so much that they also took Tomlinson as their last name. LaDainian Tomlinson, football great and former running back for the San Diego Chargers, spent part of his childhood playing on the same land that his black ancestors had worked as slaves. As a child, LaDainian believed the Hill was named after his family. Not until he was old enough to read an historical plaque did he realize that the Hill was named for his ancestor’s slaveholders. A masterpiece of authentic American history, Tomlinson Hill traces the true and very revealing story of these two families. From the beginning in 1854—when the first Tomlinson, a white woman, arrived—to 2007, when the last Tomlinson, LaDainian’s father, left, the book unflinchingly explores the history of race and bigotry in Texas. Along the way it also manages to disclose a great many untruths that are latent in the unsettling and complex story of America. Tomlinson Hill is also the basis for a film and an interactive web project. The award-winning film, which airs on PBS, concentrates on present-day Marlin, Texas and how the community struggles with poverty and the legacy of race today, and is accompanied by an interactive website called Voices of Marlin, which stores the oral histories collected along the way. Chris Tomlinson has used the reporting skills he honed as a highly respected reporter covering ethnic violence in Africa and the Middle East to fashion a perfect microcosm of America’s own ethnic strife. The economic inequality, political shenanigans, cruelty and racism—both subtle and overt—that informs the history of Tomlinson Hill also live on in many ways to this very day in our country as a whole. The author has used his impressive credentials and honest humanity to create a classic work of American history that will take its place alongside the timeless work of our finest historians.

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    Tomlinson Hill

    13.8 hrs • 9/8/14 • Unabridged
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  6. 13.0 hrs • 4/1/2014 • Unabridged

    A crucial, forgotten chapter of American history—brilliantly retold for a new generation Everywhere hailed as a masterpiece of historical adventure, this enthralling narrative recounts the experiences of twelve American sailors who were shipwrecked off the coast of Africa in 1815, captured by desert nomads, sold into slavery, and subjected to a hellish two-month journey through the bone-dry heart of the Sahara. The ordeal of these men—who found themselves tested by barbarism, murder, starvation, death, dehydration, and hostile tribes that roamed the desert on camelback— is made indelibly vivid in this gripping account of courage, brotherhood, and survival.

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    Skeletons on the Zahara by Dean King

    Skeletons on the Zahara

    13.0 hrs • 4/1/14 • Unabridged
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  7. 14.2 hrs • 1/16/2014 • Unabridged

    Mac Griswold’s The Manor is the biography of a uniquely American place that has endured through wars great and small, through fortunes won and lost, through histories bright and sinister—and of the family that has lived there since its founding as a New England slave plantation three and a half centuries ago. In 1984, the landscape historian Mac Griswold was rowing along a Long Island creek when she came upon a stately yellow house and a garden guarded by looming boxwoods. She instantly knew that boxwoods that large—twelve feet tall, fifteen feet wide—had to be hundreds of years old. So, as it happened, was the house: Sylvester Manor had been held in the same family for eleven generations. Formerly encompassing all of Shelter Island, a pearl of 8,000 acres caught between the North and South Forks of Long Island, the manor had dwindled to 243 acres. Still, its hidden vault proved to be full of revelations and treasures, including the 1666 charter for the land, and correspondence from Thomas Jefferson. Most notable was the short and steep flight of steps the family had called the “slave staircase,” which would provide clues to the extensive but little-known story of Northern slavery. Alongside a team of archaeologists, Griswold began a dig that would uncover a landscape bursting with stories. Based on years of archival and field research, as well as voyages to Africa, the West Indies, and Europe, The Manor is at once an investigation into forgotten lives and a sweeping drama that captures our history in all its richness and suffering. It is a monumental achievement.

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    The Manor

    14.2 hrs • 1/16/14 • Unabridged
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  8. 11.4 hrs • 1/14/2014 • Unabridged

    The story of a remarkable slave rebellion that illuminates America’s struggle with slavery and freedom during the Age of Revolution and beyond One morning in 1805, off a remote island in the South Pacific, Captain Amasa Delano, a New England seal hunter, climbed aboard a distressed Spanish ship carrying scores of West Africans he thought were slaves. They weren’t. Having earlier seized control of the vessel and slaughtered most of the crew, they were staging an elaborate ruse, acting as if they were humble servants. When Delano, an idealistic, anti-slavery republican, finally realized the deception, he responded with explosive violence. Drawing on research on four continents, The Empire of Necessity explores the multiple forces that culminated in this extraordinary event—an event that already inspired Herman Melville’s masterpiece Benito Cereno. Now historian Greg Grandin, with the gripping storytelling that was praised in Fordlandia, uses the dramatic happenings of that day to map a new transnational history of slavery in the Americas, capturing the clash of peoples, economies, and faiths that was the New World in the early 1800s.

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    The Empire of Necessity

    11.4 hrs • 1/14/14 • Unabridged
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  9. 0.4 hrs • 11/25/2013 • Unabridged

    The Willie Lynch Letter and the Making of a Slave is a study of slave making. It describes the rationale and the results of Anglo Saxon’s ideas and methods of insuring the master/slave relationship. The infamous Willie Lynch letter gives both African and Caucasian students and teachers some insight, concerning the brutal and inhumane psychology behind the African slave trade. The materialistic viewpoint of Southern plantation owners that slavery was a business, and the victims of chattel slavery were merely pawns in an economic game of debauchery, crossbreeding, interracial rape, and mental conditioning of a negroid race they considered subhuman.  Equally important is the international nature of the European economic, political and cultural climate that influenced the slave trade. Within the time scale of African history, it was a relatively short period, a mere one and a half centuries from the most intensive phase of the Atlantic slave trade to the advent of European administration and dominance. Long before that, the Slave Coast had been chartered by the Portuguese and the people off the area west of Benin, between the Volta River and Lagos. European traders traced a cultural history which linked them with the earliest Yoruba settlements to the north and eastern borders of Africa.

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  10. 8.7 hrs • 11/7/2013 • Unabridged

    Twelve Years a Slave is the true story of Solomon Northup, a free-born black man in New York State who was sold into slavery after being tricked in 1841. Unable to convince anyone he is not a slave, Solomon spent twelve years in bondage before finally being set free. Northup’s memoir, recounting details of the slave markets and the harsh life on plantations, was used in the struggle to abolish slavery in the United States.

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    Twelve Years a Slave

    8.7 hrs • 11/7/13 • Unabridged
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  11. 14.9 hrs • 3/25/2013 • Unabridged

    In the late 1630s, lured by the promise of the New World, Andrea Stuart’s earliest known maternal ancestor, George Ashby, set sail from England to settle in Barbados. He fell into the life of a sugar plantation owner by mere chance, but by the time he harvested his first crop, a revolution was fully under way: the farming of sugar cane, and the swiftly increasing demands for sugar worldwide, would not only lift George Ashby from abject poverty and shape the lives of his descendants, but it would also bind together ambitious white entrepreneurs and enslaved black workers in a strangling embrace. Stuart uses her own family story—from the seventeenth century to the present—as the pivot for this epic tale of migration, settlement, survival, slavery, and the making of the Americas. As it grew, the sugar trade enriched Europe as never before, financing the Industrial Revolution and fuelling the Enlightenment. It also became the basis of many economies in South America, played an important part in the evolution of the United States as a world power, and transformed the Caribbean into an archipelago of riches. But this sweet and hugely profitable trade—“white gold,” as it was known—had profoundly less palatable consequences in its precipitation of the enslavement of Africans to work the fields on the islands and, ultimately, throughout the American continents. Interspersing the tectonic shifts of colonial history with her family’s experience, Stuart explores the interconnected themes of settlement, sugar, and slavery with extraordinary subtlety and sensitivity. In examining how these forces shaped her own family—its genealogy, intimate relationships, circumstances of birth, varying hues of skin—she illuminates how her family, among millions of others like it, in turn transformed the society in which they lived and how that interchange continues to this day. Shifting between personal and global history, Stuart gives us a deepened understanding of the connections between continents, between black and white, between men and women, between the free and the enslaved. It is a story brought to life with riveting and unparalleled immediacy, a story of fundamental importance to the making of our world.

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    Sugar in the Blood

    14.9 hrs • 3/25/13 • Unabridged
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  12. 7 reviews 0 5 4.9 4 out of 5 stars 4.9/5 (7)
    7.8 hrs • 3/15/2013 • Unabridged

    In this riveting landmark autobiography that reads like a novel, Academy Award and Emmy winner Louis Gossett, Jr., masterfully transports us to 1840s New York, Louisiana, and Washington, DC, to experience the kidnapping and twelve-year bondage of Solomon Northup, a free man of color. Twelve Years a Slave, published in 1853, was an immediate bombshell in the national debate over slavery leading up to the Civil War. It validated Harriett Beecher Stowe’s fictional account of Southern slavery in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which had become the best-selling American book in history a few years earlier, and significantly changed public opinion in favor of abolition. A major motion picture based on the book and starring Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, and Michael Fassbender released in 2013. Hard working Solomon Northup, an educated free man of color in 1841, enjoys family life with his wife and three children in Saratoga, New York. He delights his community with his fiddle playing and antic spirit and has positive expectations of everyone he meets. When he is deceived by “circus promoters” who ask him to accompany them to a musical gig in Washington, DC, his joyful life takes an unimaginable turn. He awakes in shackles to find he has been drugged, kidnapped, and bound for the slave block in the nation’s capital. After Solomon is shipped a thousand miles to New Orleans, he is assigned his slave name and quickly learns that the mere utterance of his true origin or rights as a freeman are certain to bring severe punishment, maybe even death. While he endures the brutal life of a slave in Louisiana’s isolated Bayou Boeuf plantation country, he must learn how to play the system and plot his escape home. For twelve years, his fine mind captures the reality of slavery in stunning detail, and listeners learn about the characters that populated plantation society and the intrigues of the bayou—from the collapse of a slave rebellion resulting in mass hangings due to traitorous slave Lew Cheney to the tragic abuse of his friend Patsey, brought about by Mrs. Epps’ jealousy of her husband’s sexual exploitation of the pretty young slave. When Solomon finally finds a sympathizing friend who risks his life to secret a letter to the North, a courageous rescue attempt ensues that could either compound Solomon’s suffering or get him back to the arms of his family. “[Screenwriter John] Ridley said he decided simply to stick with the facts in adapting Northup’s book for the film…[and] he was helped by voluminous footnotes and documentation that were included with Dr. Eakin’s edition of the book.”—New York Times (September 22, 2013) on the making of the film 12 Years a Slave

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    Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

    Twelve Years a Slave

    7.8 hrs • 3/15/13 • Unabridged
    7 reviews 0 5 4.9 4 out of 5 stars 4.9/5 (7)
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  13. 9.6 hrs • 1/1/2013 • Unabridged

    On June 28, 1839, the Spanish slave schooner Amistad set sail from Havana on a routine delivery of human cargo. On a moonless night, after four days at sea, the captive Africans rose up, killed the captain, and seized control of the ship. They attempted to sail to a safe port but were captured by the US Navy and thrown into jail in Connecticut. Their legal battle for freedom eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, where their cause was argued by former president John Quincy Adams. In a landmark ruling, they were freed and eventually returned to Africa. The rebellion became one of the best-known events in the history of American slavery, celebrated as a triumph of the legal system in films and books, all reflecting the elite perspective of the judges, politicians, and abolitionists involved in the case. In this powerful and highly original account, Marcus Rediker reclaims the rebellion for its true proponents: the African rebels who risked death to stake a claim for freedom. Using newly discovered evidence, Rediker reframes the story to show how a small group of courageous men fought—and won—an epic battle against Spanish and American slaveholders and their governments. He reaches back to Africa to find the rebels’ roots, narrates their cataclysmic transatlantic journey, and unfolds a prison story full of drama and emotion. The successful Amistad rebellion changed the very nature of the struggle against slavery. As a handful of self-emancipated Africans steered their own course to freedom, they opened a way for millions to follow.

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    The Amistad Rebellion

    9.6 hrs • 1/1/13 • Unabridged
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  14. 9.4 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    Award-winning journalist David Batstone reveals the story of a new generation of 21st century abolitionists and their heroic campaign to put an end to human bondage. In his accessible and inspiring book, Batstone carefully weaves the narratives of activists and those in bondage in a way that not only raises awareness of the modern-day slave trade, but also serves as a call to action. With 2007 bringing the 200th anniversary of the climax of the 19th century abolitionist movement, the world pays tribute to great visionary figures such as William Wilberforce of the United Kingdom and American Frederick Douglass for their remarkable strides toward framing slavery as a moral issue that people of good conscience could not tolerate. This anniversary serves not only as a commemorative date for battles won against slavery, but also as a reminder that slavery and bondage still persist in the 21st century. An estimated 27 million people around the globe suffer in situations of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation from which they cannot free themselves. Trafficking in people has become increasingly transnational in scope and highly lucrative. After illegal drug sales and arms trafficking, human trafficking is today the third most profitable criminal activity in the world, generating $31 billion annually. As many as half of all those trafficked worldwide for sex and domestic slavery are children under 18 years of age.

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    Not For Sale

    9.4 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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  15. 3.8 hrs • 5/1/2012 • Unabridged

    Young Daniel Arabus and his mother are slaves in the house of Captain Ivers of Stratford, Connecticut. By law they should be free, since Daniel’s father fought in the Revolutionary army and earned enough in soldiers’ notes to buy his family’s freedom. But now Daniel’s father is dead, and Mrs. Ivers has taken the notes from his mother. When Daniel bravely steals the notes back, a furious Captain Ivers forces him aboard a ship bound for the West Indies—and certain slavery. Even if Daniel can manage to jump ship in New York, will he be able to travel the long and dangerous road to freedom? The second book in the Arabus family saga finds young Daniel trying to retrieve the notes that ensure his and his mother’s freedom, until he is forced aboard a boat and headed for certain slavery in the West Indies.

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  16. 7.3 hrs • 3/26/2012 • Unabridged

    Twelve Years a Slave is the autobiographical account of Solomon Northup, an African American who was born free in New York in the early 1800s. In 1841, Solomon Northup was captured and forced into slavery for a period of twelve years. Northup’s autobiography is detailed in its account of life on a cotton and sugar plantation and the daily routine of slave life during the first part of the nineteenth century. The book describes the daily life of slaves in Bayou Beof, their diet, the relationship between master and slave, the means that slave catchers used to recapture them, and the ugly realities that slaves suffered. Comparable to the accounts of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Ann Jacobs, and William Wells Brown, Twelve Years a Slave is a captivating narrative of the life of freedom and slavery experienced by one African American man prior to the American Civil War.

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    Twelve Years a Slave

    7.3 hrs • 3/26/12 • Unabridged
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