New Book: Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William and Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory by Barbara McCaskill

McCaskill_LoveLiberation_LR.inddFrom the University of Georgia PressLove, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William and Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory, is Barbara McCaskill’s study of pivotal moments in the dynamic lives of William and Ellen Craft, two African Americans who successfully fled from American bondage.  Passing as a white southern planter and gentleman, Ellen Craft left Georgia in 1848, with her husband William completing the performance as his “master’s” obedient servant.  McCaskill examines transatlantic periodicals and print productions to discuss how the Crafts publicly represented themselves, the advantages and limitations of alliances they forged with British and American reformers, and what their story tells us about how we remember slavery.  Her reading of their narrative, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, highlights themes of community, partnership, and visibility that characterized their transatlantic activism, and where their endeavors sometimes fell short.  Her study concludes with evaluation of the couple’s extraordinary decision to return to Georgia and educate the freedpeople.