NC State University  |      campus directory  |  libraries  |  mypack portal  |  campus map  |  search ncsu.edu

Nov 18 2013

To Free a Family: The Journey of Mary Walker

Book: To Free a Family: The Journey of Mary Walker

Author: Sydney Nathans

Reviewer: Catherine Bishir, Curator of Architecture Special Collections, Special Collections Research Center

(Full disclosure from reviewer: Author Syd Nathans who now lives in Colorado is an old friend who used to live in NC and taught at Duke.)

This is a compelling narrative of Mary Walker, who escaped from her owner, Duncan Cameron, while visiting in the North in 1848, and her relationships with northern whites who helped her maintain her freedom and seek to find her children. In some respects it is a straightforward and vivid story focusing on her and her friends; at the same time it illustrates the really complex times and situations of her lifetime. The author also tracksĀ  his searches for her story including some remarkable bits of serendipity. The book recently won the Frederick Douglass Prize. Highly recommended as a book that’s both substantive and highly readable.