Finding Freedom: The Untold Story of Joshua Glover, Runaway Slave (Hardcover)
"Shall a man be dragged back to Slavery from our Free Soil, without an open trial of his right to Liberty?" —Handbill circulated in Milwaukee on March 11, 1854
In Finding Freedom, Ruby West Jackson and Walter T. McDonald provide readers with the first narrative account of the life of Joshua Glover, the runaway slave who was famously broken out of jail by thousands of Wisconsin abolitionists in 1854. Employing original research, the authors chronicle Glover's days as a slave in St. Louis, his violent capture and thrilling escape in Milwaukee, his journey on the Underground Railroad, and his 33 years of freedom in rural Canada.
While Jackson and McDonald demonstrate how the catalytic "Glover incident" captured national attention—pitting the proud state of Wisconsin against the Supreme Court and adding fuel to the pre-Civil War fire—their primary focus is on the ordinary citizens, both black and white, with whom Joshua Glover interacted. A bittersweet story of bravery and compassion, Finding Freedom provides the first full picture of the man for whom so many fought, and around whom so much history was made.
About the Author
Ruby West Jackson has worked as a teacher and lecturer, community activist, and costumed interpreter of pioneer black women in Wisconsin. A recipient of the National Parks Service – Network to Freedom Award, she has served as the African American History Coordinator for the Wisconsin Historical Society and has written and consulted frequently on black history and slave stories. Walter T. McDonald spent fifty years as a forensic psychologist. Over the course of his thirty-year collaboration with Ms. Jackson, Dr. McDonald has mapped underground railroad routes into and out of Wisconsin and served as a script consultant for Rope of Sand, a play about Joshua Glover and the Fugitive Slave Act commissioned by the Wisconsin Supreme Court for its sesquicentennial.
"Finding Freedom puts flesh on the bones of one of the most dramatic episodes in Wisconsin history. Using a wealth of sources never before brought to light, the authors establish both the broad cultural context of Joshua Glover's rescue and the intimate deatils of his daily life in sweet freedom." (John Gurda, author of Cream City Chronicles: Stories in Milwaukee's Past)"Finding Freedom is both universal and specific, for it simultaneously tells of the yearnings and risks taken by every freedom seeker — and of the unique aspects of Joshua Glover's exciting life story. Readers of every age and depth of historical knowledge will experience 'Ah, ha!' moments as they learn of Glover's adventures and how surprisingly interconnected these are with better-known people, places, and events in American history. This book is a most significant addition to the existing body of work on the Underground Railroad." (Glennette Tilley Turner, author of The Underground Railroad in Illinois and Running for Our Lives)
"This much needed story has been wonderfully researched and is a well-written documentation of the workings and successes of the Underground Railroad. The work of these authors provides an invaluable piece of research to the history of Wisconsin and America." (Clayborn Benson, Executive Director, Wisconsin Black Historical Society)"Joshua Glover has finally received his historical due! In previous accounts of his dramatic rescue, Glover seems less a flesh-and-blood human being than a case study of the operation of the Fugitive Slave Law and the Underground Railroad. Ruby West Jackson and Walter T. Mc Donald have succeeded in providing us with the most comprehensive and life-like reconstruction possible of 'Old Josh' the man and his times. This is a fascinating work of history." (John D. Buenker, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Wisconsin-Parkside)