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In the Shadow of Liberty

ONE OF THE “BEST CHILDREN’S AND YOUNG ADULT BOOKS OF 2016”!!!

“An important and timely corrective.”

“This is a must-have selection for any library collection to present alternative takes on history.”

“…delivers an eye-opening vision of ‘stubborn facts’ in American history that are often ‘swept under the carpet’….”

“A valuable, broad perspective on slavery, paired with close-up views of individuals who benefited from it and those who endured it.”


YALSA medal_2

Notable Children’s Books-2017 ALSC/ALA

•A FINALIST for 2017 Award for Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction by YALSA — the Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association.

•Named one of the BEST CHILDREN’S AND YOUNG ADULT BOOKS OF 2016 (Washington Post)

 

Did you know that many of America’s Founding Fathers—who fought for liberty and justice for all—were slave owners?

Through the powerful stories of five enslaved people who were “owned” by four of our greatest presidents, this book helps set the record straight about the role slavery played in the founding of America. These dramatic narratives explore our country’s great tragedy—that a nation “conceived in liberty” was also born in shackles.

  • BILLY LEE, who became George Washington’s valet and fought in the American Revolution alongside him.
  • ONA JUDGE, who escaped from Washington’s Philadelphia household—only to be tracked down by the president’s men.
  • ISAAC GRANGER, who survived the devastation of Yorktown before returning to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
  • PAUL JENNINGS, who was present at the burning of James Madison’s White House during the War of 1812.
  • ALFRED JACKSON, who was born into slavery at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, survived the Civil War, and lived at the plantation into the 20th century.

 

These stories help us know the real people who were essential to the birth of this nation but traditionally have been left out of the history books. Their stories are true—and they should be heard.

Some of the hidden history from IN THE SHADOW OF LIBERTY

  • Five of the first seven presidents, and ten of the first fifteen, were slaveholders or raised in a slaveholding household.
  • George Washington once bought teeth from enslaved people to be used in his dentures.
  • For seven years as President Washington knowingly broke a Pennsylvania that freed enslaved people who lived in the state for more than six months.
  • Dozens of enslaved people from Jefferson’s Monticello, along with seventeen from Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation, were among thousands of African American refugees with the British in Yorktown, Virginia when American and French forces won the last battle in the Revolution.
  • The first man to write a memoir of working in the White House was formerly the enslaved valet of James Madison who witnessed the burning of the White House during the War of 1812.
  • Andrew Jackson went into debt to pay for the legal defense of four enslaved men from his Hermitage plantation who were tried for murder.

Published by Henry Holt & Co. | On sale September 20, 2016 ISBN: 978-1-62779-311-7 | Hardcover | Ages 10 and up | 304 pages | $17.99

Available in Audio from Penguin Random House

 

This well-researched book offers a chronological history of slavery in America and features five enslaved people and the four U.S. presidents who owned them…. A valuable, broad perspective on slavery.

Booklist, starred review

The young woman was enslaved, but also privileged. She was part of the household of the nation’s first president. This powerful book tells her story, and others, which are surprising and have been unknown to most of us. They will give you insights into our American heritage that you may not have considered before. I hope In the Shadow of Liberty will be widely read. It is important and timely.

Joy Hakim, author of A History of US (Oxford University Press)

By exploring the humanity of people held in bondage by early American presidents, Kenneth C. Davis once again turns American mythology into history. Read the book and be grateful.

Marcus Rediker, author of The Slave Ship: A Human History and The Amistad Rebellion