Fugitive Slaves and the Unfinished American Revolution: Eight Cases

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Gordon S. Barker in his book, In Fugitive Slaves and the Unfinished American Revolution: Eight Cases, 1848-1856 he contributes to the stories on American Revolution particularly in an effort to re-image and re-periodize the ‘grand American narrative’ of the U.S revolution by George Bancroft. The book is focused on the other side of the revolution i.e. the Black’s struggle for the war against slavery. For the common American man, the revolution and thus the war ended quite before when compared with the Revolution waged by the African slaves. The African Americans, united in their quest for creating ‘a perfect union’ which at its very earliest ended when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified. Barker (2013), in his book, recollects the autobiographical notes and personal anecdote of various events from the black and white slaves who played an integral part in the American war against slavery. A socio political approach is used by Barker to engage his readers in how the African Americans continued their battle in middle 1800s. There are eight cases of the fleeing bondsmen included in the books who were pursued by their owners and in some cases, by the federal allies who claimed ownership of these slaved under the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. In the chapters that follow, along with the well reclaimed fugitive slaves, Barker also introduced their abolitionist allies including Theodore Parker, Lewis Hayden, Frederick Douglas, Wendell Phillips and Samuel Joseph May who are proclaimed as the Revolutionary war heroes. These fugitives and their allied firmly believed in the Declaration of Independence and they embraced and pursued the revolutionary motto of Patrick Henry, “Give me Liberty or Give me Death (p.8)!” which represented their “heroic resistance or republic virtue (p.8)” which transformed themselves into American revolutionaries and whose dramas managed to capture

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