On March 11th, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez interviewed Eric Foner on Democracy Now. They had a fascinating conversation about Gateway to Freedom.
Amy opened the interview asking Eric Foner what was the “gateway to freedom”?
ERIC FONER: “Well, that’s sort of a term I use for New York City, because these networks, particularly on the eastern corridor here, of local groups assisting fugitive slaves, New York City was a key point there, because once slaves reached New York City, they were quickly sent up to New England or to upstate New York or Canada. So, really, this was the point from which they would be very close to freedom. I also use that title, although nobody realized it, in a slightly ironic sense, because that’s how we think of New York. You know, as a New Yorker, we think of ourselves—the Statue of Liberty is over here—as a place that people come seeking liberty, seeking better opportunity than they have somewhere else. But, in fact, here, you have the opposite. You have people having to flee New York, having to flee the United States, in order to achieve freedom. So, in a way, it’s a kind of—it’s a different kind of gateway than we normally think about. You have to leave to get freedom, not enter the United States.”
Below is a nine minute excerpt from their dialogue. (If you do not see the video, click here.)
If you would like to see the entire interview, you can watch it here. Hope you are enjoying the book, let me know what you are thinking as you read.