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Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  240 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Factual recount of escape from slavery
Paperback, 52 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Echo Library (first published 1860)
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Clif Hostetler
Oct 07, 2015 Clif Hostetler rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This book published in 1860 is a first-person telling by a married couple of their harrowing escape from slavery. In 1848 they were able to travel openly by train and steamboat from Macon, Ga to Philadelphia, PA with Ellen dressed in disguise as a white male planter and William as his (i.e. her) personal servant. They were able to get away with it because Ellen was light-skinned and able to pass as a white person.

They lived for a while in Boston, but after passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 18
"United States, your banner wears,
Two emblems, - one of fame,
Alas, the other that it bears
Reminds us of your shame!
The white man's liberty in types
Stands blazoned by your stars;
But what's the meaning of your stripes?
They mean your Negro-scars."

My God.

This book has changed my view on nearly everything. In 58 pages, William and Ellen Craft managed to tell their story, the story of their family and the story of slavery.

Recommended for everyone. Right now. I have to process all of this.

Review to co
Sep 03, 2015 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad that the Crafts were able to escape slavery. How sad that when they made it to the North, they were not free in free states -- they had to worry that they would be sent back to the cruel hands of slavery (under the Fugitive Slave Law) even in the free states. They had difficulty obtaining housing and procuring travel tickets in Maine and Canada. I thought Canadians would've been more welcoming. They had to eat their meals in their room and were encouraged to leave the hotel so that othe ...more
Jan 29, 2015 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs. People who like adventure stories. People who like short books.
This is a lovely little book. It's only about 60 pages and the narrative is a compelling one, so it's a very fast read. The book was written with the intention of condemning the less horrific cruelties of slavery (in addition to telling the story of two slaves' escape from slavery), which makes for a really shocking read. Somehow the less extreme stories hit a little closer to home. One such instance of this is when Craft tells the story of he and his siblings being sold. His sister is sold firs ...more
Feb 17, 2009 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really a fascinating read. Some of the things I found most interesting were:

1. The blurred racial lines, even back then, when slavery was "solid."
2. The blurred religious lines (a slave owner admitting her slave was more religious than her and had a positive influence on her spirituality, for example).
3. The irony of the slaves' need to escape to England for true freedom.

I read this book as a free ebook on Google Books:
Mar 31, 2014 Anfenwick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
It's really easy to see why this particular slave narrative was hugely popular in its day. The Craft couple's escape from the American South makes for a dramatic story. From a historical perspective, just realizing the sheer distance between Georgia and Philadelphia in the 19th century is quite interesting. It's not by any means the best written of slave narratives, but it's short and easy to read. Apart from that it is particularly interesting for these topics:

1. Life in the upper echelons of s
Kevan Craft
This book's account of a slave couple, man and wife, who together escape their slavery from the pre American Civil War period and who eventually flee to England where they ultimately find their freedom. But this story is also about unexpectedly discovering the methods the couple used to run across America, from South to North, by crossing borders, rivers, roads, railroads and eventually by ship to another country is a fascinating story in itself. The method of their escape however, is at the hea ...more
Dave Creek
Jan 15, 2015 Dave Creek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
RUNNING A THOUSAND MILES FOR FREEDOM tells the true story of William and Ellen Craft, slaves in Macon, Georgia who made a daring escape in December of 1848. Ellen Craft, being light-skinned, disguised herself as her husband William's male owner.

The two of them made their way to Philadelphia by train and steamboat, with several close calls along the way.

This is a brief volume; I finished it in a single sitting. But it's a fascinating read of a part of American history I'd never heard of.

You'll al
Mar 06, 2014 Eileen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a true story of two escaped slaves that could have stayed in England and have a pretty good life, but instead keep fighting for the freedom and justice of blacks.
This was a simple account of a slave couples' escape to freedom from Georgia. It is horrifying to read how "colored" people were treated prior to emancipation in the United States. According to William Craft's account, even poor whites were sold into slavery if they had no benefactor. I now have a better understanding of the mindset of a person escaping slavery and the difficulties they dealt with along the way, as well as at their destination.

I am glad we no longer have overt slavery in this c
Christopher Sutch
Sep 20, 2011 Christopher Sutch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good description of a slave couple's planning and execution of an escape from Georgia into Canada and, ultimately, to England. This would make a good book to instruct high school students about slavery and the tension between the North and the South, especially after the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act. Craft has some very sharp and interesting observations about Northern religious support for slavery and the FSA, and also about racism in the North and in Canada. Very interestin ...more
Feisty Harriet
This first-person account of a small family who escaped from the south into the Northern states, and then on to Canada and finally England is simple yet very powerful. The Crafts do not mince words on describing their hopes and dreams for freedom and it comes across so clearly and heartbreakingly beautiful, a quick read.
Jan 19, 2008 Haengbok92 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book (two books really, the first half a first person autobiography, and the second half puts the first in historical context, filling in the blanks). I had no idea about the Craft's story before this book, and was on the edge of my seat, and at the same time saddened by their experiences. Overall, excellent.
Oct 14, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story of two slaves who escaped to freedom in a unique way. He also includes other quotes of supporting slavery by some well-known people, examples of the laws and some harrowing incidents that happened to people. A horrifying look at slavery and the hope of freedom and rights. Very compelling.
Dec 15, 2008 Sherri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
This book was fine for what it is - an escaped slave narrative. I didn't finish it simply because I kept finding things more interesting to read - I know, its sad that reality takes second place to fiction, but I felt more like Running would be something I'd read for class rather than for fun.
Feb 08, 2015 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The reason I gave 2 stars is because the Kindle version I had, had error issues of duplicating pages, upon pages of the book. I'm not even sure the ending was the true ending because of the duplicating.

Now what I read of the book was really good and intriguing of their journey.
Mar 03, 2008 Jean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story about a couple in slavery who escaped in order to be free and to start a family. The young woman was a mulatto and passed for a white man during their escape. Her husband acted as her slave through the journey up north.
Bridget Cooks
Sep 08, 2007 Bridget Cooks is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing story of two Black slaves who escape slavery. The woman is light skinned and passes for White man in their escape plot. Her husband poses as her/his slave. It's a true story. I've been wanting to read it for years.
Dec 28, 2014 Ranjitha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An inspirational story about being Black in antebellum America, and a fantastic introductory window into a time not very long ago.
Dec 31, 2013 Mell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-activism, bio
Great first-person narrative of a bold escape from slavery.
Sep 01, 2013 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read for African American Literature
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