Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom

S. & S. Jan. 2023. 416p. ISBN 9781501191053. $29.99. HIST
Author Woo (The Great Divorce) details the daring plan that William (1824–1900) and Ellen Craft (1826–91) executed to escape the institution of slavery. The two started in Macon, GA, where they had two different enslavers. Ellen, a light-complexioned woman, dressed in the finery of a Southern, disabled man, and William, her husband, acted as her loyal servant, as they set out on a four-day, 1,000-mile journey to Philadelphia. Once there, the Crafts began a grueling tour with abolitionist speakers, where their story thrilled audiences. Eventually they settled in Boston, but the appearance of Georgia hunters, looking to return them to their enslavers, forced their move to Canada and then Britain. After the Civil War, the Crafts returned to the United States. In this superbly researched and masterfully written book, Woo gives William and Ellen Craft’s story the detailed attention it so richly deserves. She expertly places their tale, especially their experiences as abolitionist speakers facing hostile and sometimes violent crowds, in the social conditions of antebellum America.
VERDICT Readers interested in studies about the enslaved, abolitionism, and antebellum history should read this insightful new work.
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