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In the Shadow of Liberty

Cover of In the Shadow of Liberty

In the Shadow of Liberty

The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives
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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. From Billy Lee, valet to George Washington, to Alfred Jackson, faithful servant of Andrew Jackson, these dramatic narratives explore our country's great tragedy—that a nation "conceived in liberty" was also born in shackles.

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.

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. From Billy Lee, valet to George Washington, to Alfred Jackson, faithful servant of Andrew Jackson, these dramatic narratives explore our country's great tragedy—that a nation "conceived in liberty" was also born in shackles.

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.

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  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    8.2
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Text Difficulty:
    7

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About the Author-
  • Kenneth C. Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of America's Hidden History and Don't Know Much About® History, which gave rise to the Don't Know Much About® series of books for adults and children. A frequent guest on national television and radio and a Ted-Ed Educator, Davis enjoys Skype visits with middle- and high-school classrooms to discuss history. He lives in New York City and can be found at dontknowmuch.com.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 12, 2016
    This powerful examination of five enslaved individuals and their presidential owners—Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Jackson—delves into these closely interwoven relationships while offering a broader look at America's history with slavery. Although Davis (the Don't Know Much About series) discusses familiar figures such as Sally Hemings and Frederick Douglass, his focus on a few little-known figures—including Billy Lee, Washington's longtime valet, and Paul Jennings, who served James Madison during the War of 1812—delivers an eye-opening vision of "stubborn facts" in American history that are often "swept under the carpet," as Davis notes in his introduction. At the heart of this chronicle is what Davis calls "America's great contradiction," the glaring dichotomy between the presidents' espoused beliefs in equality and their financial, domestic, and even emotional dependency on the individuals they owned. In a thoroughly researched and reasoned account, Davis exposes the intricacies of this impossibly tangled web ("Moral issues aside, the practical problem remained. Even wealthy, powerful men like Madison, Washington, and Jefferson who were considering emancipation couldn't do so without losing their fortunes"), supplemented by timelines, photographs, and other archival materials. Ages 10–14. Agent: David Black, David Black Literary.

  • Joy Hakim, author of A History of US (Oxford University Press) "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."
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    Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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In the Shadow of Liberty
In the Shadow of Liberty
The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives
Kenneth C. Davis
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