I am excited to announce that our next selection will be Eric Foner’s latest book: Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.
Eric Foner is the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University. He is one of this country’s most prominent historians and the author of over 20 books. He is one of only two persons to serve as president of the three major professional organizations: the Organization of American Historians, American Historical Association, and Society of American Historians, and one of a handful to have won the Bancroft and Pulitzer Prizes in the same year.
In the first chapter, “Introduction: Rethinking the Underground Railroad”, the author describes Gateway to Freedom as follows:
This book is a study of fugitive slaves and the underground railroad in New York City. The nation’s major metropolis, New York before the Civil War consisted of Manhattan and the Bronx, with most of the population concentrated below Thirty-Fourth Street. The city was a crucial way station in the metropolitan corridor through which fugitive slaves made their way from the Upper South through Philadelphia and on to upstate New York, New England, and Canada. Since the underground railroad, by definition, can only be understood as an intercity, interregional enterprise, I also devote attention to other key sites in this northeastern network. I discuss as well the national debate and federal legislation relating to fugitive slaves, and how the fugitive issue played a crucial role in precipitating the Civil War.”
I am looking forward to reading the book together!
The Politics for the People Conference Call
with Dr. Foner will be on April 19th at 7 pm.