I've Got a Home in Glory Land

A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad

Karolyn Smardz Frost

Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks

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It was the day before Independence Day, 1833. As his bride, Lucie, was about to be sold down the river, Thornton Blackburn planned a daring—and successful—daylight escape from their Louisville masters. Pursued to Michigan, the couple was captured and sentenced to return to Kentucky in chains. But Detroit’s black community rallied to their cause in the Blackburn Riots of 1833, the first racial uprising in the city’s history. Thornton and Lucie were spirited across the river to Canada, but their safety proved illusory when Michigan’s governor demanded their extradition. Canada’s defense of the Blackburns set the tone for all future diplomatic relations with the United States over the thorny issue of the fugitive slave, and confirmed the British colony as the main terminus of the Underground Railroad.
 
The Blackburns settled in Toronto, where they founded the city’s first taxi business, but they never forgot the millions who still suffered in slavery. Working with prominent abolitionists, Thornton and Lucie made their home a haven for runaways. When they died in the 1890s with no descendants to pass on their fascinating tale, it was lost to history. Lost, that is, until archaeologists brought the story of Thornton and Lucie Blackburn again to light.

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I've Got a Home In Glory Land
KENTUCKY1WADE IN THE WATER, CHILDREN25 DOLLARS REWARDThe subscribers will give for the apprehension and return of a colored man named THORNTON, who absconded from our employ on the 3rd or 4th day of July, inst. Said Thornton is about 5 feet, 9 or 10 inches high; stout made and of a yellow complexion; light eyes, and of good address; had on when he left a blue cloth coat, and pantaloons; boots, and a black hat.WURTS & REINHARD--Louisville Public Advertiser, July 7, 1831IT WAS JULY 3, 1831, the day before Independence Day, and Thornton Blackburn stood casually

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Reviews

Praise for I've Got a Home in Glory Land

"Karolyn Smardz Frost's superb research has produced a wonderful account of the underground railroad, elevating Thornton and Lucy Blackburn to their rightful place in the dramatic story of pre-Civil War slave resistance, abolition, and African American life on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border. This finely detailed account depicts a truly international antislavery movement." —James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton, coauthors of Slavery and the Making of America and Hard Road to Freedom
 
"A deep-digging work of rich historical recovery, I've Got a Home in Glory Land is really two books: a biography of two famous runaways and a sifting of the rock-filled times in which they lived." —Edward Ball, author of Slaves in the Family and Peninsula of Lies

"To retrace the journey of a runaway slave from the Ohio River Valley all the way to Canada is an immense challenge and a rare accomplishment. In her well-researched and well-written book, Karolyn Smardz Frost has done just that -- and more. Bravo for Frost who has saved a remarkable story from the fate of other important histories that have been lost. Only by piecing together such stories and revealing the bold choices runaway slaves were forced to make, the dangers they faced, and the courage required to forge ahead, can we ever fully grasp how difficult it was for a slave in antebellum America to achieve freedom and just how desperate people can be to get free." —Ann Hagedorn, author of Beyond the River: The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad

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About the Author

Karolyn Smardz Frost

Karolyn Smardz Frost is internationally recognized for her work in public archaeology and history. A native of Toronto, she now lives in Collingwood, Ontario.

Karolyn Smardz Frost

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Available Formats and Book Details

I've Got a Home in Glory Land
A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad
Karolyn Smardz Frost

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks
June 2008
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780374531256
ISBN10: 0374531250
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 480 pages, Includes 8 Pages of Black-and-White Illustrations, 4 Maps, Notes, a Bibliography, and an Index
$18.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
June 2008
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466806122
ISBN10: 1466806125
480 pages, Includes 8 Pages of Black-and-White Illustrations, 4 Maps, Notes, a Bibliography, and an Index
$9.99
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